New Summer!

  • Jun 01, 2012

This week in the Looking Glass group we welcomed several new students who will be working with us for the summer. We gave everyone of the new students a beginning two week project. These projects are designed to help develop the necessary background information to enable the students to work on a summer long project. For this two week project I'm working with Michael and Patrick.

Michael's two week project is to add some way to track where each piece of code in Looking Glass came from. This project seemed really straight forward at first... until you realize that Looking Glass has many places code can come from. Plus, Looking Glass doesn't really have a centralized idea of ownership which is absolutely essential for actually tracking this information. So far Michael has done an excellent job of sorting through these difficult questions.

Patrick on the other hand is working on the Looking Glass scripting framework. We intend to allow CS domain experts to write python scripts to analyze Looking Glass programs. We'd like these scripts to be run in the IDE, but also on the Community. So Patrick has been working to change the current Java code in Looking Glass to support the ability to run these scripts from our rails application. This task is particularly daunting for new programmers, I think, because the toolkit which Looking Glass is built is un-documented and hard to pick-up... but I think Patrick has already made great progress on this project in week one!

For my research this week, I've been working to continue to improve automatically generated tutorials in Looking Glass. I still haven't solved the problem of how to generate tutorial steps using Looking Glass' complex notion of 'this'. I don't quite understand it yet, so I can't write about it yet, but check next week for how I solved this problem. I'm also starting to think about how I can create different “levels” of tutorial which provide differing degrees of scaffolding. I'd like to get started programming one of these new tutorial presentation methods in the next two weeks... or at least that's my plan for now!


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