Watch for confidential information in code samples

We’re currently hiring for a few .NET programming positions and always ask applicants to provide a code sample. Some applicants can’t provide one since everything they have is confidential information, and we don’t penalize people for this. Some others have to check with their employer or previous employer first, and we always consider this a good sign. And others just go ahead and send us samples, which is usually ok but it can also be bad.

On occasion we get samples that have obviously confidential or proprietary information in them. This is always a red flag. Even if the code is very good, the fact that a person was willing to send his current or previous employer’s confidential information to a prospective employer as an example of work is bad.

In one particularly agregious case we received an application that had the company’s database domain name, username, and password all within the config file. That’s a major security problem. Not the type of security problem we’d like to hire into our company.

So if you’re applying for a job and providing a code sample, think not just about the quality of the sample but what information it contains and what it conveys about you, your honesty, and your consideration of others confidence and privacy.

Product Development with a team and Flash

For today I would like to discuss the important of a “Product” vs software consulting, and how that can lead to different requirements/focus. If you have worked as a consultant developing applications for a specific client, generally the most important item is usually to meet the requirements, and make sure the application works well. Although this on its own is important, when you are developing a “product” there are other factors that suddenly become important. I have found developing products to be truly an enjoyable challenge.
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CustomTag: HiddenDiv toggles content visibility

Recently I had to display a lot of text in a page but didn’t want it all initially displayed–I wanted to toggle some of it based on user interaction. I wrapped the functionality in a custom tag for easy reuse.

This is toggled text content.

tag and provides a

tag with a link to display the content. The link
can act as either a display once or a toggle. When the hidden
div is diplayed once the link text is hidden. When the hidden
div is a toggle, the link text is toggled between two alternate

-> showText Text to display initially and when the content
is hidden. Default "(show)".

-> hideText Text to display when the content is displayed
and toggle is set to yes. Default "(hide)".

-> toggle True if the link toggles the content display
and false if it displays once and stays on.

All other attributes are passed along to the content div. The
text div has a class of "hiddenDivText" which can be used
for styling.

Only tested in IE6 and Firefox based browsers. Should work
in other standards compliant browsers. If it doesn't work
in your target browser, modify the getElement function.

var hiddenDivShowText = new Array();
var hiddenDivHideText = new Array();

function toggleHiddenDiv(index) {

var textDiv = getElement('hiddenDivLabelDiv_' + index);
var contentDiv = getElement('hiddenDivContent_' + index);
var textSpan = getElement('hiddenDivLabelSpan_' + index);

var display = ( != 'block');

textSpan.firstChild.nodeValue = (display ?
hiddenDivHideText :
)[index]; = 'none'; = display ? 'block' : 'none';

return false;

function getElement(id) {
return document.getElementById(id);