A New School Year

It’s 9 AM now, and a new school year has begun. I don’t think I have been this nervous in a while.

But there’s a reason for that: In just an hour, I will be delivering the first lecture of the first course that I am teaching by myself, COMP 202 – Principles of Object-Oriented Programming II.

I’ve re-worked and re-ordered some of the past lectures, switched out a few assignments, and added a new one, Hangman Refactored. It uses the Janus principle and fits in really well after the Programming for Change lecture and the Temperature Calculator assignment. At least that’s what I think. We’ll see how it goes.

On Saturday, I went to a wonderful workshop that the School of Engineering set up for TAs. I was on their list because this year I get paid by the School of Engineering. The discussion of different learning styles prompted me to ask the students to fill out a Learning Styles Questionnaire.

During the last three or four days, I also improved the external process facility of DrJava a bit. Clearer error messages are now printed to the external process panes, there are ${and}, ${or}, ${not} and ${neq} (not equal) properties, and simple search-and-replace can be done using the ${replace.string;text="...";old="...";new="..."} property.

I then approached the NextGen and xajavac compiler addons for DrJava again. Fortunately, Dan had told me about javac argfiles, which elegantly solve the long-command-line problem. However, I discovered that some problems, like keeping together file names with spaces in them, reappear when printing to text files, even though I had solved them for the command line. I got around that by adding quoting options for file properties.

Now we have two working DrJava Addons (“djapps”) that integrate NextGen and xajavac into DrJava.

Okay now, I’m going to get ready for COMP 202. I hope my Rice ID card will finally let me into the room. Wish me luck.


About Mathias

Software development engineer. Principal developer of DrJava. Recent Ph.D. graduate from the Department of Computer Science at Rice University.
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