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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 [1].

I’ve re-worked and re-ordered some of the past lectures, switched out a few assignments, and added a new one, Hangman Refactored [2]. It uses the Janus principle and fits in really well after the Programming for Change [3] lecture and the Temperature Calculator [4] 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 [5].

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 [6] compiler addons for DrJava again. Fortunately, Dan had told me about javac argfiles [7], 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 [8] (“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.

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