[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index] [List Home]
Re: [ide-dev] [cdt-dev] CDT feedback from students this semester

Thanks Leo, this is very helpful. It's these types of users, people just learning a new language or environment, who are the people who need an IDE the most and who I think we should spend the most time appeasing. It's always good to hear and learn from their experiences.

It's interesting how often users will drop out of the IDE and do something in an editor or on the command line. If you're IDE isn't also a good lightweight editor or easier to use than command-line, you've missed it.

And, of course, all the toolmakers have misunderstood and dropped IDE features in their new "editors", thinking that's what users want. And how often do we see them add those features back in as users demand them (like debugging and source control) and just end up back where they were.

I think it would be much more interesting and potentially rewarding to rethink the IDE experience in light of all the things we've learned from our users over the years and the new collection of technologies we have at our disposal. I'm about to start my Christmas vacation and hopefully will get some time to experiment with some of these ideas. I think we can do something wonderful here.


From: cdt-dev-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxx [cdt-dev-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxx] on behalf of Leo Ufimtsev [lufimtse@xxxxxxxxxx]
Sent: Thursday, December 15, 2016 4:31 PM
Cc: Eclipse Platform UI component developers list.
Subject: [cdt-dev] CDT feedback from students this semester


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).

- 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 functionality).
- 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.