So far, Eclipse4Edu has been a very useful experience for me. It’s the first project I’ve worked on where the codebase wasn’t written entirely by myself or by my team of 2-3 students. This has definitely been difficult, but like I said, useful. That combined with the complex framework and abstraction of Eclipse has made tasks that seem relatively trivial suddenly much more time-consuming. I’ve spent a fair amount of time simply looking through the code to familiarize myself with how things were implemented by others that have worked on the project. Figuring out where to start looking to approach a certain task and understanding how different parts of the program interact have been pretty time-consuming, although helpful. I feel like my ability to narrow down a problem to a specific aspect or part of the code has improved, alongside my ability to work with a massive amount of code I had no part in writing. Again, this has been my first real experience with this.
Based on where I started when I joined this project, I would say/hope that I’m pretty well on track. We haven’t been given a specific goal in terms of what we should complete to be considered “on track”, but I feel like I’ve accomplished a fair amount (whether in coding or in considering, debating or experimenting with different concepts). It may have been slow to begin with, as a result of my little experience and the size of the project I was diving into, but things have been becoming easier and I believe will continue to do so for the second half of the semester. I’ve learned a lot about the structure of large programs and how to cope with working inside a project maintained by many people. I’ve learned (through experience rather than professors’ advice for once!) that communication is key. I think what I’ve had the most trouble with however, has been finding references and documentation on the things I have been trying to implement. For the most part, there was very little, if anything related at all. On the other hand, this has led to a lot of experimenting and exploring on my part, which, although perhaps inefficient, has been beneficial in the long run. I have good expectations for the second half of the term.