Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Feature Complete

The senior project is "feature complete" for the alpha version as of tonight. It's been a long haul. I don't think that anyone in my group could have guessed how many hours we would put into the project to get it to this point. We are pretty excited though. I think that it stands well as a 'capstone' project for my computer science education.

We've been testing along the way, but now we really need to sit down and work on end to end testing. The project gets graded on Tuesday, so time is of the essence. With a little less than a week to test, I think we're doing pretty well.

16 more days, and I'll be wearing the cap and gown.

Friday, April 06, 2007

What Happened to March?

So, over a month ago I wrote about how I believed that my school work was anticlimactic, little did I know how very busy things would get in the following weeks. After spending a long day at work, and a long evening in the computer lab, writing in the blog just seemed like one more thing that I just didn't have time to do. I know that had I made it a priority I could have, but it seemed like more effort than I was willing to spend in the wee small hours of the morning before my head hit the pillow.

In the last month, I've learned some really interesting things. There have been some interesting speakers in my computer science seminar course. I'm having a blast working on my senior project, and I've read a couple of interesting books.

My senior project is a group project where the group is composed of three team members, and we essentially get to build a system of our choosing. Our group elected to take on a faculty sponsored project titled “Program Analysis for Education”. Essentially, it is an online quiz system that differs from a traditional online quiz system in that instructors will be able to ask students to write actual code as a quiz problem. This means that our system needs to have a fully functioning parser and interpreter so that we can attempt to automatically grade a student's input. The system is coming along quite well, but there is still a lot that needs to be done before we hand over our solution to the school at the end of the semester. The project has given me the opportunity to gain experience with Hibernate and the Spring Framework. I was originally skeptical of both tools, but as I have used them and learned about their capabilities, I've come to really agree with the paradigms presented by these two tools. This has been a really great project because it has had a real set of customers, so rather than programming in a vacuum, we've been able to present the system to our sponsors. It's been a ton of work, and there is still a lot to do, but it is very satisfying to see things coming together.

As far as the reading goes, here's the short list:

Somebody's Gotta Say It – Neal Boortz
The Long Road Home – Martha Raddatz

Pro Spring – Rob Harrop and Jan Machacek
Spring In Action – Craig Walls and Ryan Breidenbach
Pro Hibernate 3 – Dave Minter and Jeff Linwood
Java Persistence with Hibernate – Christian Bauer and Gavin King

There are some really great things to be said for Spring and Hibernate, I know that I am coming to this party a little late, but I believe that these tools have a lot to offer Java web development.

Spring is here, I've got 28 more days as an undergrad. I purchased my cap and gown at the bookstore this week. It was a surreal experience. In some respects I am very excited to be graduating, and in others, I am sad that this era is coming to a close. That isn't to say I won't continually be learning, but it will be different.