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RE: [ide4edu-dev] Initial Java Project Comments


I had some thoughts about some of the issues talked about here.

I tend to agree with you Wayne about nice, big, easy to understand buttons. 

But at the same time, to do that for Eclipse and really simplify things we
might have to kind of change some of the Eclipse-way-of-doing-things I
think. For instance the Run button. 

If I'm a first year student and I'm writing my first program, I just want to
press a Run button and have it run. I don't know what the difference is
between an applet and an application and I don't want to deal with Run As...
and Run Configurations. So something like Run Configurations should probably
be hidden even though they seem like a big part of the
Eclipse-way-of-doing-things. Also EduEclipse should detect whether the class
being worked on extends Applet or not and then just runs as an applet or an
application automagically.

Another example is renaming. Eclipse puts renaming under Refactor but
students don't learn about refactoring and all it's delightfulness until 2nd
year (at U of T at least). So if we move renaming functionality to a
"normal" place like Edit or group it with other file management operations,
students will be able to use it. But when they move to Eclipse how confused
will they be to find all the Rename functionality moved?

All of this kind of begs the question about the purpose of EduEclipse. Is it
to make a student IDE that is uncluttered with advanced features that ALSO
simplifies some of Eclipse's operation to the point that some operations
don't work the quite same way that they do in Eclipse? Or is it to make a
student IDE that is uncluttered with advanced features but leaves all of the
Eclipse-way-of-doing-things intact? 

It might be helpful to think of some use cases for EduEclipse so that we
know what kind of interactions we want to facilitate.

For instance, the first year student opening EduEclipse for the first time
and they are going to create their first application, a Hello World
application. We want this to be intuitive and easy to do. What steps do we
want them to do to accomplish this?

1. Press File/New Class  
OR  right click in the Project Explorer and press New Class  
OR  press a New Class button in the tool bar.
- They need some concept that Classes are the main unit of Java programs.
Leave this to their teacher.
- New Class/Package/Project maybe should be expanded under the File menu. 

2. They are prompted for a file name/Class name. They enter FirstClass.

3. A new class file that already contains a main method is created in a
default project in a default package.

4. They type System.out.println("Hello World");

5. They press a Run button.

6. It runs and outputs "Hello World" to the Console view.

If this is how we want it done then it's pretty clear what needs to be done.
Out of curiosity, is it either very difficult or impossible to remove menu
options and buttons from the main Eclipse application with a perspective?
These links seem to give hints that you can get the items in the toolbar and
set them to not visible:

I feel like the Help screens kind of need to wait until the main
simplifications to the toolbars and menus are done. Or at least until the
end of the semester. 

I think the Welcome screen has the right idea to display a link to tutorials
upfront. Tutorials seems useful to me. 

I've always thought the Workbench reference is strange on the welcome screen
for Eclipse. I've never seen the Workbench reference used anywhere else when
I am using Eclipse and when I first saw it I didn't know what it was
referring to. It's kind of a weird case of the usability heuristic of "Match
between system and the real world" gone awry. It seems like a word that
makes sense in the particular context but it's ends up being unnatural.  I
think it should just be changed to "Get Started Programming..." or "Get
Started..." or something clearer like that. Then it would meet the
"Recognition rather than recall" heuristic better.

Or once there are multiple language perspectives it would be a good place to
allow the student to select the language they want to use. "Get Started
Programming Java..." and "Get Started Programming Scheme...".

Cheers, Miles

> -----Original Message-----
> From: ide4edu-dev-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ide4edu-dev-
> bounces@xxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Wayne Beaton
> Sent: Tuesday, January 12, 2010 3:50 PM
> To: Eclipse IDE for Education
> Subject: Re: [ide4edu-dev] Initial Java Project Comments
> We're trying to address the menu clutter by removing as much
> functionality as we can. Unfortunately, that still leaves a lot of
> confusing menus. I understand that "capabilities" might help us with
> the
> clutter; apparently, this concept groups menus/toolbar items/etc. and
> allows them to be turned off. I haven't spent enough time with
> capabilities myself to know how to leverage them.
> We wrestled with this early on. If we make views in the perspective
> with
> big shiny buttons on them, the user will naturally gravitate toward
> them
> and away from the menus. Maybe this solves the problem for us.
> Agree/disagree?
> I'd like to see a prototype of "big shiny buttons" in the Java Lite
> Package Explorer. Or elsewhere in the IDE. Even better would be some
> out-of-the-box thinking.
> I agree that the welcome screen is useless. How can we make it useful?
> I believe that the images in the help are JPG. The lesson here is to
> use
> PNG or GIF for screenshots. JPG is good for photographs. A patch with
> new and improved images would be greatly appreciated.
> Thanks,
> Wayne
> cmatheso@xxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
> > Hello everyone,
> >
> > I have a couple more comments on the java lite eclipse perspective.
> > Perhaps it will give us something to work on for the code sprint :).
> >
> > 1. I found some UI inconsistency - If i go File -> New -> Project...
> > Java Project. It launches the regular eclipse new project menu, and
> > not the JLite one. Actually, if I was an inexperienced user, the vast
> > menu bar would probably be more confusing then its worth... not sure
> > if that is even modifiable?
> >
> > 2. The splash screen is quite useless :(.
> >
> > - The overview link has 1 sentence - it could use some looking at I
> > think. There must surely be more to explain about this project then
> > that?..
> > - The tutorial button loads an empty page. Not a single tutorial..
> > - Also, the "Go to workbench" link doesn't work.
> >
> > 3. I opened the JLite help.. it seems alright. The first picture
> > however has really *really* bad image quality. Its a little
> > off-putting. Would it be worth organizing the help a little more too?
> > Instead of putting everything in 1 file, perhaps separate / index? So
> > i could click Help -> JLite -> New Project, for example, and it would
> > load the picture + instructions?
> >
> >
> > Thoughts / comments?
> >
> > Thanks,
> > Cory Matheson.
> > _______________________________________________
> > ide4edu-dev mailing list
> > ide4edu-dev@xxxxxxxxxxx
> >
> --
> Wayne Beaton, The Eclipse Foundation
> I'm going to EclipseCon!
> _______________________________________________
> ide4edu-dev mailing list
> ide4edu-dev@xxxxxxxxxxx

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