Eclipse WTP – Student Progress and Mentoring

Yesterday our WTP class met again after the Study Week. Jordan asked the students to present what they had done with the bugs and describe their difficulties as well. Jordan always gave practical advice at the end of a presentation. I could feel that there’s new momentum going on in the class.

Nevertheless, we need to ask some probing questions. Our class has entered the 9th week of the Winter semester. Where are we now? How much progress will the students make in the remaining 6 weeks of this semester? Bear in mind that they are full-time students(not full-time professional developers) who have to complete assignments and tests from other(four?) courses as well. Jordan has other courses to teach as well.

As I pondered over these questions, the blog postings of David
Humphrey
and Armen Zambrano came at the right time. After reading David’s work with the Mozilla community and Armens’ interviews with the educators at HFOSS, it dawned on me that the students could make significant progress if they were mentored by some professional developers in the WTP community. I hope that I’m not being idealistic. Meanwhile, I have confidence in my fellow students that they will forge ahead and make some progress.

Here is a brief summary of what happened within 100 minutes yesterday.

1. Jatinder: He encountered a problem on the target platform when he ran his code in the Debug Mode. He got immediate feedback from the class that he should use a more recent build(e.g. 3.1M5 or 3.1M6?). He was quick to click on the link in the WTP Tutorial. Unfortunately the web page showed that everything was “in progress.”
Jordan’s advice to Jatinder: Post your problem to the newsgroup.

2.Farhad: He did a detailed demonstration at the source code level. He already blogged about his fix. Right on the spot, Jordan gave Farhad some testing scenarios to test out his fix. It turned out that more work and information would be needed.
Jordan’s advice to Farhad: Post what you’ve fixed to the newsgroup. Ask about the CORRECT behaviour of the code as some assumptions are involved here.

3. Yang: He showed a detailed analysis of the bug behavior. He found out that two different document models are used by Test1.xsd adn Test2.xsd.
Jordan’s advice to Yang: Post your findings to the newsgroup and get more information from the WTP community.

4. Tahereh: She gave us a demo and she’s not sure what to do next with the GUI after the “Delete Server” dialog box was popped up. Again some assumptions are involved here.
Jordan’s advice to Tahereh: Post to the newsgroup and ask the WTP community about the CORRECT behavior.

5. Allen: After getting response from the webtools newsgroup, he showed us that the scope of fixing the bug is very huge as it had to do with the architecture aspect that is under change. It’s unlikely that he can fix the bug within the remaining 6 weeks of this semester. He’s having a dilemma: Continue with this bug? Giving up this bug and working on another bug? Tough decision.
Jordan’s advice to Allen: His present work may continue into May and June. There’s another list of bugs that he could consider. Yes, you need to make a decision soon.

6. Tommy: He told the class that he needed more information about the interaction between the WSDL file and the GUI. He also told the class that he tended to be shy.
Jordan’s advice to Tommy: Make a shout to the WTP community. Post your question to the newsgroup.

7. Davoud: The behaviour of the bug (168784) has changed(ie. mutated!) with the current build. He rasied a good question: How come the original Bug Report has not been removed or updated on Bugzilla?
Jordan’s advice to Davoud: Look for another bug to work on.

After all, I was VERY impressed by what the students had presented. They were developing presentation skills, communication skills and technical skills. Most important of all, they took up courage to show their problems in front of everyone. Moreover, I appreciated Jordan’s caring remarks and practical advice. He’s a great mentor! He used two lively metaphors. We’re like people who buy and sell things at an open market. We are like blind persons walking around WTP. We need to get help from the Eclipse WTP COMMUNITY. Since we have a team of wonderful and hard working people, progress is sure to come…

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One Response to “Eclipse WTP – Student Progress and Mentoring”

  1. challenger110 Says:

    Thanks for the detailed post Peter. Re bug 168784, I wouldn’t say that the behavior is changed or mutated! I do still get NullPointerException as in the originial bug report, but the error number is different and there are few things I don’t understand:

    - why is there an error number when the number is not pointing out any hint as to the cause or more detailed description of the error

    – why hasn’t anyone at IBM responded to my bugzilla post while they criticize “us” for lack of contribution

    - why even the person who has actually reported the bug not care so much to see if the bug can be reproduced!!

    and last but not the least, how can I find what’s causing the error

    I’ll contintue with the adventures and mysteries of this joureny : )

    Davoud

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