Sophomore Endgame

2009.04.18 in school

This is my second-to-last weekend at RPI for this semester; things are wrapping up quite nicely. Nearly half of my grade has yet to be determined in two classes (LITEC and SD&D), but overall this is shaping up to be my best semester so far, by a long shot... I'm much, much happier now, in Computer Science (and Engineering) classes, rather than Physics with a side of CS...


Robb, Nate, Matt, and I presented on Ease and Seed today at the Rensselaer Center for Open Software, finishing our final requirement for this semester. Many thanks to Moorthy and Sean O'Sullivan for the opportunity!

Nate and Robb are planning on working with RCOS this summer, I believe; Nate is going to write a pretty, not-chintzy, G*-based typing tutor/testing application. I'm not sure what Robb's planning to work on — probably Ease or Seed.


A significant portion of Software Design & Documentation involved the design, documentation, and construction of an application of our choice. We created groups on the second day of class — I latched on to Andrew (who I didn't know at the time), who proposed that those of us comfortable with Objective-C and interested in developing for either the Mac or the iPhone should stick together... I really didn't want to be stuck working on some buzzword-infused web application, hosted on Windows, stuck in a SourceSafe repo, written in a combination of Java and ASP and Ruby... I really don't take kindly to such projects :-)

We eventually decided that we'd put together some sort of iPhone application — Andrew had an application that made it onto the App Store within a week or two of class starting (Notecards), so he had plenty of experience; I'd spent a good bit of time with Objective-C in the past; Sarah had spent a lot of time with straight C, as she's been a LITEC TA for at least the last two semesters; and Cheng had a good bit of experience with C++ and the other languages espoused by RPI. Both Sarah and Cheng were quite open to learning whatever they needed to, so we had our group of four!

I believe it was Andrew who originally brought up the idea we eventually took to designing and implementing: a location-based task application. Basically, your generic to-do list, with the ability to tag a task with locations; when the phone detects that it's near that location, it gently reminds you that you have something to do. We named it Tasc, after noticing the obvious pun based off of our first initials.

Unfortunately, we didn't have quite enough time to finish the location part of the application — another week probably would have done it, but between me having no experience with UIKit and half of the team having never used Objective-C, there simply wasn't enough time... so, you can tag locations, but auto-detection is not implemented. It's really not that interesting without the ability to background applications, anyway.

We all had fun — I certainly consider the three of them new friends, now — and managed to succeed to a great extent. There's still a significant amount of documentation to complete in the next week, but the Construction phase is over... luckily, since the class is mostly about design and documentation, the fact that we didn't quite finish won't affect us too much...

This experience also led me to buying into the iPhone Developer Program. I'm going to write another app or two and see if I can't make my 100$ back (or more, who knows?!) over the summer... but that's a story for another day!

P.S. We released Seed 0.5 on Wednesday. There's a Bugzilla product for us in GNOME Bugzilla now, and Robb pushed our documentation to his GNOME webspace.

P.P.S. I moved Carol and Matt's blogs to a Dreamhost server last week; if anyone has any trouble, let me know. Planning on moving Robb there or to b.g.o at some point in the future. There's no reason other people's stuff should depend on Jayne's uptime.

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