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Need help coming up with PHP coding task for job candidates

I am in the process of hiring a mid-level php developer. We have an excellent candidate who has has a solid education and some php experience using a framework (CodeIgniter), but he has no experience coding php outside of a framework. Since our application is straight php with no framework, I wanted to give him a 45 minute to 1 hour coding task to gauge his php skills outside of a framework. I want them to code something real so that I can then review their code, their comments (or lack of), and their overall approach to see if they would make a good addition to our team.

I am looking for help from experienced PHP programmers who could give me good ideas for such a task. What would be a fair yet informative task to ask someone to achieve in this amount of time? Should I ask for a real working app, or allow them to use pseudo-code in some places?

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Andrej PirmanCommented:
By my oppinion, PHP itself is not enough. Either some AJAX or at least PHP + MySQL experience would be needed.

Lemme think for few seconds...

Ok, I'd ask to present me a working sample of secure authentication, with login, user check into database, "Remember Me" checkbox, and authentication flow through further pages on same server.
If he would use some GET method, or would NOT use SSL, or would use some $parameter in authentication flow between documents (like if($auth==1) then let user pass...)...then I would NOT decide to keep him.

But on the other hand, he might be a talent, who has still much to learn, and might become quite good. So if you are into long-term, then it might be better for you to take a bit less-experienced programmer, direct him, let him learn, let him exchange knowledge with others, let him feel like home...in other words, you should adopt him and he will do anything for you in next years :)

It's hard to tell who is better for you - already experieced guru, who might have some itchy habbits, or some green PHP unveiled genious, who you can shape to fit your needs - it's up to you to decide.
charles4Author Commented:
Hi Labsy,

Thanks for your reply. I totally agree that php without some db or front end work would not be enough.

Do you think that your secure authentication example could be combined with a simple task like creating a page that let's users edit and display some text to make a more complete application? Also, do you think someone could do all of this in less than 1 hour?

charles4Author Commented:
Not much activity here. I found this solution somewhere else.

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