Learning to not fear the unknown

This past week I've been fascinated to watch my students work in each other's repos. They have very different ways of approaching code they didn't write.  For the most part it goes well, but some are more successful, and it's useful to consider why that might be so.For example,…

Why newer isn't always better

Twice in the past week I've seen projects I'm working on go off the rails when an automatic, seemingly minor, dependency update didn't do what it advertised.First, it's helpful to understand something about how packages are versioned in the node.js/JavaScript ecosystem.  By and large, such projects use…

Learning to Review Code

This week's open source lab has the students reviewing each other's code on GitHub.  I've purposely given every student the same programming problem so that they would a) all have the same knowledge about the problem space; b) get to see how another person might solve it in a totally…

Starting Open Source Fall 2021

This week I've begun teaching my introductory open source course again. Throughout the week I've been meeting the new students on Slack, and getting to know a bit more about them via their blogs.  I thought I'd write about some of what I learned.Many students have told me that…

Telescope 2.0

In a few hours I'll be meeting with the team to ship another major release (2.0) of the Telescope project.  It's been a lot of work, full of late night debugging sessions over Slack and Teams, major successes as we've landed big features, and plenty of disappointments as we've…

Shipping Telescope 1.9.5

Yesterday the team shipped Telescope 1.9.5, and brought us one step closer to our 2.0 goals.  I spent a lot of time mentoring, debugging, reviewing, and also writing code in this release, and wanted to write about a few aspects of what we did and how it…

Content

I collaborate on content with a lot of different people.  As a software developer, almost all of my work is done in git and GitHub.  As a professor working at a large institution, most of it is done in Microsoft Office, email, or increasingly, in Teams.  Lately I've been thinking…

Observations on Telescope 1.8

We're going to ship Telescope 1.8 later today, and I wanted to write about some of the things I worked on and learned in the process.There have been a number of themes in this release:A new approach and pace to dependency updatesUpdating our UI for the 2.…

Planning for Telescope 1.7 and beyond

Over the past two releases, the current group of Telescope maintainers is slowly starting to find their way.  The process takes time, and there are bumps along the way.  But we're becoming more of a team with each passing week.I find that those who have trouble getting deeply involved…

What you see vs. What's there

I spend a lot of time helping students review and debug their code. During the pandemic, it's all I do some days.  Doing as much of it as I do, I wanted to say something about the value of plain text over screenshots when asking for help with code.I've…