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Re: [cdt-dev] CDT feedback from students this semester

Hello guys,

I also have a kind of feedback on the latest Eclipse usability as well. My colleague recently faced a need to remotely debug some Cpp app, and asked me for a tool. Surely I've suggested using CDT for I knew it has mature remote build/debug capabilities.

Later he came back to me and told me that he was not able to make sense of CDR remote debugging and instead used NetBeans, which "just works". He told me that all that he had to do for NB was to specify a network path where the project is located on a remote machine (and some credentials for logging in), and he got all the things he could think of, IDE just worked as if the project was local, while running and debugging it on remote linux machine.

The thing that puzzles me is that the guy is not completely new to Eclipse, he's been working with CDT for few years (but that was also like 4 years ago, same as me) and he's completely new to NetBeans, but in the end he had to switch to NB.

I can ask him to give a more detailed feedback regarding the problems he faced with CDT while setting up remote debugging, or how it compares to NB, if you feel like getting this kind of feedback.

16.12.2016 0:31, Leo Ufimtsev wrote:

As per request in CDT discussion:

I've had some feedback from students who used Eclipse CDT this semester.

Here is a compiled summary based on around 10 replies that I got back
from survey. (Class of 150 students).

*Context: *
- A 2nd year university (University of Toronto, Canada) course on System
programming in C.
- Eclipse CDT was used as their main IDE this semester (for the first time).
- I held a guest lecture on how to setup and use Eclipse CDT at the
beginning of the semester and helped some students get going with it.
  Lecture slides:

- Eclipse was used for 3 C based assignments.
- I had University IT staff pre-install the Eclipse CDT spin on
university computers. (Ubuntu 14.04)
- Some students had familiarity with Eclipse JDT.

Please note: Student's often complain that applications are too
complicated because they have very limited time to learn a tool.
This doesn't necessarily reflect the difficulty of learning Eclipse in
the industry.

- 7/10 used Eclipse.
   - One used CLion. The reason was that he learned to use Intellij a
year ago and didn't feel like migrating to Eclipse because he didn't
knew it very well.
   - Two used only a text editor (Atom).
   - Those who used Eclipse CDT would occasionally use text editors (eg
Atom) for simple little hacks like editing makefiles.
   - It was rare for students to do all their work in Eclipse (although
possible). Many resorted to terminal for SVN, compiling or other
external tools as it was too complex for them to figure out how to do it
in Eclipse. (Although info provided in the slides).

- Dark theme was not functioning that well (for older Eclipse Neon
release). (This is not CDT specific, but CDT users liked to use Dark theme).
- Debug perspective feels cluttered. Too many windows and each one is
too small. (Even on 1900x screens). (Not CDT specific, but debugging was
used with CDT).
- Valgrind was hard to install for them. Some didn't see what
functionality the visual valgrind had that the command line version
didn't. (But Valgrind extensively).

*Most commonly used features:*
- Visual debugging  (Main reason people setup Eclipse).
- Code navigation
- Keyword highlighting
- Refactoring (variable name/function names), Autocomplete.
- Version Control / Local history.
*Also mentioned:*
- Students wanted to have a Terminal build into Eclipse.
  - They were not aware of TM Terminal's existence (which provides this
- Students wished for a 'simplified' version of Eclipse. Something
similar to PyCharm's "Edu" version which would have a limited set of
features just enough for learning a new programming language.

Leo Ufimtsev
Software Engineer, Eclipse team.
Toronto, Canada

Red Hat, Inc.
Leonidas@xxxxxxxxxx <mailto:Leonidas@xxxxxxxxxx> | <>

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