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Updating the Assignment Log

Johannes de Jong
tumbleweed
Bartender

Joined: Jan 27, 2001
Posts: 5089
Yes I'm back.
I personally think that the assignment log got me my Bartender status here at the Cattle Drive, so its been very kind to me
The original objective for creating it was to help students motivate each other and help pull each other accross the line see my original explanation. That still holds true.
The only problem is that updating the log has impacted my available "computer time", yes like all other
"hen-pecked" husbands out there I'm on a "budget"
, and I have less and less time available to complete the assignments, really study Java & OO etc, & develop own "pet" projects to name a few.
So I have to cut the time spent on updating the log.
    The possible solutions
  1. Can the assignment log
  2. Automate it
  3. Get someone else to help/take it over
  4. Get rid of extra "service" ie personal messages

    1. Pro's & cons per point above
    2. No way. Heck I feel it has added to the overall Cattle Drive "Experience"
    3. - Experience with a "real" project
      - More professional Cattle Drive
      - Better control / track of status assignments
      - Lack of time
      - Virtual projects are hard to manage see this
      - Possible loss of personal contact ie. motiviational type messages
    4. - Less work for me
      - Loss of "own" power
    5. Personally I like this personal touch. It's what makes it "special" (to me at least)

    6. Your comments please. thanks.
      [This message has been edited by Johannes de Jong (edited August 03, 2001).]
Daniel Dunleavy
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 13, 2001
Posts: 276
Johannes,
Hey, whatever is best for you pal !!!
I wouldn't mind helping you out. Or even better, I can do /help_with creating an automated log. Just let me know.
I agree that we should keep it.
dan
Michael Matola
whippersnapper
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 25, 2001
Posts: 1746
    
    2
I'd be happy to help in automating the assignment log, but I wouldn't want to take a lead role.
(Classic response, I know...)
I remember that previous discussions envisioned an XML solution. I'm comfortable with databases (classic WYLIWYK solution, eh?) and I think I could contribute meaningfully if the project heads in that direction. (Not that I wouldn't want to be involved if things went in an XML direction.)
I'm a bit busy at work till the end of August. I'll have more free time in September and October. November is out of the picture for me.
As far as work styles -- I understand the importance of requirements gathering and such, but I start to get frustrated if there are cumbersome methodologies involved.
jason adam
Chicken Farmer ()
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 08, 2001
Posts: 1932
I'd be glad to help out in whatever way possible, though I'm just now starting to learn something about XML, and haven't even touched on jsp's, so probably wouldn't be a whole heck of a contributor if it went the automated route. Would be cool to work on something collaborative, though.
I agree, keep the personal comments in there, I find them not only humorous, but also gives you a little boost when you might be frustrated
Jason
Richard Boren
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 01, 2001
Posts: 233
I believe that the log is a great idea that should be given extra attention to figure out away of off loading the maintenance from any one individual. It seems that automation would be the ideal solution, but this would/will require a large amount of time and effort to accomplish. So maybe we should begin a list of possible solution then determine which one is the most reasonable to implement.
My suggest is to rotate the responsibilities of updating the log among the students. This would mean loosing the personal notes of encouragement from Johannes, but at least we would still have the log Johannes could over see that the log is being updated correctly by the student responsible for the log and update a duty roster with the students name a dates they would be responsible for the log. We may want to limit these responsibilities to students who have worked to a certain level; i.e., finished Java-8.
Scenario:
Lets say that a student has to complete assignment Java-8 before they can help in the log duties. As a student I have just finished Java-8 and my name is added to the duty roster by the moderator and the rotation is monthly. My month is, let say, September. When September arrives I receive an email from the moderator that it is my turn. I then copy the log�s code and data from the current post with the log and past it into a new post allowing me to update the log. Then the moderator locks the old post. From that point on for the month of September I update the log on a daily basis, basically like Johannes does now without the personal comments .
This will require a moderator to over see the log; send out emails telling the students it�s their turn and maintaining a duty roster.
What ever is decided I sure hope we don't loose the log. Thanks a 'hole bunch Johannes for the log.
Save the log!!!
Richard Boren
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 01, 2001
Posts: 233
Just copied the log and updated it.
Updating the log plus adding personel notes -- Johannes you have been a busy little bee.
jason adam
Chicken Farmer ()
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 08, 2001
Posts: 1932
<>We can add our own little comments, too! Especially since, as you are suggesting, that we have graduates of a certain level helping with the log, we'd already have some experience and can give a little "Yeah, that one took me forever!" or "Isn't Marilyn a meanie? "

I forgot this would entail giving us permission to do this, and that would be a whole terrible nightmare, so scratch that.
The only problem I see is with A) the time frame, and B) the availability of people helping. Let's admit it, some people going through here won't want to help. Others might not be available for a month time period. I think we maybe should have a sign-up deal, where you maybe sign-up for a two week stint. That way it's voluntary, like everyone else that runs this place, and if you know you're going to be busy or out of town for a few days, you can just sign-up for a different time.
Just a few thoughts
Jason
[This message has been edited by jason adam (edited August 03, 2001).]
Daniel Olson
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 05, 2001
Posts: 81
I think automating the log or semi-automating it does not have to be very difficult. I bailed out last time because it seemed to me that the project was getting unnecessarily big and complicated. Also I had the idea it was a project for the students in the Cattle Drive, but before anything could be done all the experts were being called in and I didn't feel like I had much to contribute as a Java newbie.
There are quite a few more students now who have graduated from elementary school. I think since the log is for the benefit of the Cattle Drive students, it should be primarily written by the us even if looks like it was written by newbies.
Richard Boren
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 01, 2001
Posts: 233
Originally posted by Daniel Olson:
I bailed out last time because it seemed to me that the project was getting unnecessarily big and complicated.

That is where I got the impression that it was a major under taking to automate the process.

[This message has been edited by Richard Boren (edited August 03, 2001).]
Michael Matola
whippersnapper
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 25, 2001
Posts: 1746
    
    2
I spent my lunch hour today sketching out some code. I think by Sunday I can have a prototype to play with.
Remember that The Pragmatic Programmer tells us that the point of prototyping is to use coding to learn about the problem, then to throw out the prototype code and start over with new code, using the knowledge gained from the exercise.
That said, I'd like to post some code in the next few days to get the ball rolling.
Marilyn -- question for you. In the code I've sketched out so far I've used ideas from at least 4 of the OOP and Servlets assignments. Is it OK to post my prototype to the Cattle Drive?
What I'm working on is a servlet (in theory ultimately backed by a database, but my prototype uses a Collection as a proxy for the database).
Michael Matola
whippersnapper
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 25, 2001
Posts: 1746
    
    2
Originally posted by Daniel Olson:
I think since the log is for the benefit of the Cattle Drive students, it should be primarily written by the us even if looks like it was written by newbies.

Darn tootin'!
Johannes de Jong
tumbleweed
Bartender

Joined: Jan 27, 2001
Posts: 5089
Gee the response is taking me by suprise .
Will give it time till monday for everybody to see this thread and respond. And then we will start a team. Yes a real team you apply & you might or might not get the job.
We will start small. Love your pragmatic approach Micheal and dont worry "I start to get frustrated if there are cumbersome methodologies involved". So do I.
I agree with Daniel it got too complicated last time. Wont happen now.
Micheal in the meantime keep on thinking, thinkering etc. But dont post any code for the time being.
I want Paul & Marilyn's input as well.
And thanks all.

[This message has been edited by Marilyn deQueiroz (edited August 03, 2001).]
Michael Pearson
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 11, 2001
Posts: 351
I am amazed how much discussion occurs in this forum 24/7.
I agree with the need to prototype. Perhaps the initial work will allow all of us to better visualize the problem.
If we do a little Requirements research and design we will be able to understand what the wants or the students are versus the wants and needs of the nitpickers.
I would love to participate in the design of this software solution.
Pauline McNamara
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 19, 2001
Posts: 4012
    
    6
Welcome back Johannes! Look at all that talent and enthusiasm being offered, can I play too?
I have benefitted so much from the cattle drive and from jdj's assignment log, I am definitely in favor of saving it in whatever form possible. I would also like to help in some way, as much as my abilities allow.
I agree in particular with some points already made:

  • A student project: yes! Simple requirements, simple solutions. If an automated log is the goal, I think getting a good working solution should be a priority, improving and/or expanding it can come later.
  • Taking turns to help Johannes update the log could be an option, even if only as an interim solution while an automated log is in the works.
  • "I think since the log is for the benefit of the Cattle Drive students, it should be primarily written by the us even if looks like it was written by newbies." ditto!

  • And my 2 cents:
    It seems to me that the first attempt sputtered out for reasons that have little to do with writing good code and more to do with organizing / managing. Once there's a group of committed people though (no not *that* kind of committed ) those problems, uh I mean challenges, can be dealt with.

    Pauline
Richard Boren
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 01, 2001
Posts: 233
If automation is the solution then does UBB allow for this kind of hacking and if so is it relatively easy. From my past experiences only complex solution get entangled in the old lack of guidance(management) web. Relatively easy solution are general accomplished by a few heroic individuals that have the necessary skills to accomplish the task; i.e., it just gets done. The current log created by Johannes is a prime example. Johannes saw a need and created the log using the skills he had. His solution was relatively simple. When an attempt was made to automate the log the first time there seemed to a lot of enthusiasm, but the project died. My big question now is why didn�t someone with the skills/knowledge needed then take charge and get the project accomplished. What is different now from then?
I too would like to get involved in a project like automating the log, it would give me a sense of giving not just taking from the Ranch. Gee�s I can�t count all the stuff I have learned here on the Cattle Drive, even if I use my toes. I just hope we don�t get side tracked into a project that will require more effort and involvement than we all can devote and in the mean time the log is drying up and blowing away.
My main concern is not automating the log because that would be the cool thing to do, I would like to see a solution that guarantees the log will be saved.
Can someone spell out exactly what it will take to automate the log?
Marilyn de Queiroz
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 22, 2000
Posts: 9046
    
  10
Originally posted by Richard Boren:
If automation is the solution then does UBB allow for this kind of hacking and if so is it relatively easy.

The log would have to be on a separate page here at the ranch. UBB is written in Perl.

Can someone spell out exactly what it will take to automate the log?
Knowledge of servlets and XML

JavaBeginnersFaq
"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift; that's why they call it the present." Eleanor Roosevelt
Richard Boren
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 01, 2001
Posts: 233
Servlets I doubt I could get up to speed fast enough to be of much help with this project except maybe do some grunt work (testing, entering data, ...) and some XML stuff, which I will be more than happy to do. Just let me know what and when.
jason adam
Chicken Farmer ()
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 08, 2001
Posts: 1932
Perfect opportunity to utilize what it is we're learning (especially the servlet stuff) in the Cattle Drive. I'm getting fairly comfortable with servlets, trying to learn XML along the way. Ditto what Richard said, just let me know what, when, etc.
Jason
Pauline McNamara
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 19, 2001
Posts: 4012
    
    6
Servlets and XML are a ways off for me - if there's grunt work, sign me up.
Pauline
Greg Harris
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 12, 2001
Posts: 1012
if there is anything i can help with just let me know. i am on OOP-2 right now, so i am not sure how much i can contribute, but i will certainly try! i have worked through the first 2 servlets, but i am not entirely comfortable with them yet.
also, i feel as if it is my duty to help out... the log is a lot of work for 1 person ( JdJ ) to deal with, so i think a group effort is a good idea.
i really want the log to stay because it is a great motivational tool. passing the assignments is rewarding, but i like to see my name moving farther toward the bottom of the list.


what?
Michael Matola
whippersnapper
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 25, 2001
Posts: 1746
    
    2
Status report on automated assignment log prototype.
I've got some basic stuff that's working. Give me two or three more days and I'll have the rest of the features I envisioned fleshed out.
It's not fancy or beautiful, but it's something we can tear apart and get a good conversation going.
It uses a group of servlets that read from and write to flat files. (Flat files can be replaced by database (is there a database available on this server?) or XML (I presume), if necessary.)
Marilyn, Paul, Johannes --
Where and when can I start posting code for discussion?
Michael Matola
whippersnapper
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 25, 2001
Posts: 1746
    
    2
I've started another thread in the JavaRanch forum, seeking permission to start posting my prototype code.
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20580
    ∞

When you all think you have a running application let me know. I'll do a code review on it.


permaculture Wood Burning Stoves 2.0 - 4-DVD set
Amber Woods
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 28, 2001
Posts: 111
Just got back in town and caught up with the plan to save the assignment log. I am really curious to see Michael's prototype. I would like to help with whatever I can. I am more comfortable at this point doing servlets but haven't really learned anything useful about XML yet.
I definately agree that if we do this we should get a simple working version first and foremost and then work to improve/change from there


"Happiness is a way to Travel, <b>Not</b> a Destination" -- Unknown
Pauline McNamara
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 19, 2001
Posts: 4012
    
    6
Michael, in your post over at the JavaRanch forum you said,
"I'd like to post my code to start the discussion going, but the code does use a number of key ideas from the OOP and Servlets assignments..."
What do you think, as someone who has worked through those assignments already, would seeing your prototype code take away from the learning experience for those of us who haven't done them yet? Would it give too much away?
Pauline
Johannes de Jong
tumbleweed
Bartender

Joined: Jan 27, 2001
Posts: 5089
Good point Pauline. Marilyn HEEEEELP !!!
Michael Matola
whippersnapper
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 25, 2001
Posts: 1746
    
    2
Originally posted by Pauline McNamara:
What do you think, as someone who has worked through those assignments already, would seeing your prototype code take away from the learning experience for those of us who haven't done them yet? Would it give too much away?

I'm thinking it might "show too much." That's why I've sought approval before posting anything.
That said, I haven't been nitpicked on those assignments, so there's no guarantee I'm doing things right.
[This message has been edited by Michael Matola (edited August 06, 2001).]
Marilyn de Queiroz
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 22, 2000
Posts: 9046
    
  10
Michael,
Why don't you send me what you have so far and I'll see whether or not it is ok to post it.
Michael Matola
whippersnapper
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 25, 2001
Posts: 1746
    
    2
Sure, Marilyn. I'll send it this evening. (I'm at work; the code's at home.)
One strong argument for keeping the code discussion in the JavaRanch forums is (some degree of) version control. There could be a thread in which each post contains the authoritative version of a single .java file.
Johannes could be the gatekeeper for the code. People would discuss the code in another thread. Whenever folks agree that some code should change, Johannes could edit the post in the source code thread.
I'm thinking this would be more manageable than an email distribution group.
Johannes de Jong
tumbleweed
Bartender

Joined: Jan 27, 2001
Posts: 5089
Ok Micheal your code is the starting point.
Once Marilyn OK's your code. She can e-mail it to me. I'll add line #'s (we need them I think to simplify the discussions) and start two threads.
Automate Assignment Log - Version Control
Automate Assignment Log - Code Discussion
Michael Pearson
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 11, 2001
Posts: 351
Johannes:
How does one get become part of the "team" you mentioned in the
Cattle Drive Assignment Log Automation discussion thread to review the initial code?
Thanks,
Michael
Michael Matola
whippersnapper
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 25, 2001
Posts: 1746
    
    2
Status report.
Sample code has been sent to Marilyn.
Johannes -- If Marilyn gives the OK to post here, I'd like another day to get things in shape before it goes up.
jason adam
Chicken Farmer ()
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 08, 2001
Posts: 1932
Are you going to send your code to those interested also, or is that being decided by the group on where it will go? Would love to see what your up to
Johannes de Jong
tumbleweed
Bartender

Joined: Jan 27, 2001
Posts: 5089
Ok people that have volunteered to contribute.
  • Daniel Dunleavy
  • Michael Matola
  • Jason Adam
  • Richard Boran
  • Daniel Olson
  • Michael Pearson
  • Pauline McNamara
  • Greg Harris
  • Amber Woods

  • An e-mail will go out to each of you A.S.A.P.
    If you offer to help after this posting sorry. For this version of the project no more vacancies. You can post comments (if Marilyn gives the OK that we "publish" the code on this forum) but you wont be asked to do specific tasks.
    ps I dont have e-mail addreses for
    • Daniel Dunleavy
    • Richard Boran

    • If you still wish to particpate in this project pse let me have them on jdj@plotzeling.myweb.nl

      [This message has been edited by Johannes de Jong (edited August 07, 2001).]
Johannes de Jong
tumbleweed
Bartender

Joined: Jan 27, 2001
Posts: 5089
Originally posted by Michael Matola:
Johannes -- If Marilyn gives the OK to post here, I'd like another day to get things in shape before it goes up.

Ok let me have the "release" version as soon as you have it ready
Richard Boren
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 01, 2001
Posts: 233
Johannes, I just sent you my email address.
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20580
    ∞

I think there is not too much risk of developing this and people seeing solutions.
Perhaps this could be done in the other cattle drive forum.
Johannes de Jong
tumbleweed
Bartender

Joined: Jan 27, 2001
Posts: 5089
OK we will post in the Solutions Forum. All people part of the project have access to it.
Once your code is ready we can start rolling Micheal
By the way I've received confirmation e-mails from
  • Pauline
  • Greg
  • Amber
  • Micheal Pearson

  • Welcome aboard. Looks like the two Micheal's are taking the "main" jobs.
    • Michael Matola - lead programmer. Hey its his protype isnt it.
    • Michael Pearson Head designer. He passed the OOAD certification two weeks ago

    • By the way congrats Mr. Pearson sir
      Thanks for giving us permission Paul. We keep on learning here on this great site of yours .
      How many brownies for that

      [This message has been edited by Johannes de Jong (edited August 07, 2001).]
jason adam
Chicken Farmer ()
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 08, 2001
Posts: 1932
I never got a confirmation email, but would like to confirm here I guess.
Jason
Michael Matola
whippersnapper
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 25, 2001
Posts: 1746
    
    2
Hmmm. Lead programmer?
And here I thought the point of my doing the prototype was to escape any sort of lead role.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
 
subject: Updating the Assignment Log