[plt-scheme] documentation feature requests

From: Lee Spector (lspector at hampshire.edu)
Date: Sun Nov 15 17:20:05 EST 2009

I assume that DrScheme is indeed intended to encourage a certain style  
of development, and that, while it's not a perfect match to what I or  
my students often do it can nonetheless support my style of  
development quite well. I'm not using HtDP in my current teaching,  
although I have a copy and may use it at some point. My students are  
often primarily artists or musicians or philosophers or biologists or  
whatevers, and both they and I often engage in improvisational, bottom  
up, exploratory programming. I'm often coding up one-off computational  
experiments that aren't fully specified in advance and won't be  
incorporated into any products. I do want them to be correct and  
maintainable, etc., at least as a general rule, but the most important  
thing for me is usually to be able to go from idea to code as quickly  
as possible, to try something out, and to see what happens.

Anyway, I know there's a lot to discuss/debate about development  
processes and styles, both when teaching beginning programmers and  
when programming more generally, and I wasn't really intending to go  
there. I think that the suggestions I made -- more documentation/ 
arglists in the IDE and more simple examples in the full documentation  
-- would help all sorts of people developing with all sorts of  
methodologies. They might help people who code like I do more, I  
guess, but I think they'd be generally useful.


On Nov 15, 2009, at 4:54 PM, Grant Rettke wrote:

> On Sun, Nov 15, 2009 at 2:14 PM, Lee Spector  
> <lspector at hampshire.edu> wrote:
>> I've been using and teaching DrScheme for a couple of months now,  
>> and while
>> I'm still a newbie I would nonetheless like to offer a couple of  
>> suggestions
>> based on my experience coming from Common Lisp environments and  
>> teaching
>> students with an unusually wide range of backgrounds and motivations.
> Your observations make me wonder if the approach in DrScheme is
> intended to encourage a certain style of development. Stay with me
> here: "Enterprise Development" often involves tens or hundreds of
> programmers coding away against tens of APIs each with hundreds and
> hundreds of API calls available. Usually no one reads up on the APIs
> or plans what code they are going to write. Often it is a matter of
> typing object.<hitting code complete here> to find a method that looks
> right and reading the blurb about it. Now, that is not how I was
> taught in School, even with Java, but that is how most folks write
> code. For the HtDP style of coding the docs seems to work well.
> Then again I may just be projecting.

Lee Spector, Professor of Computer Science
School of Cognitive Science, Hampshire College
893 West Street, Amherst, MA 01002-3359
lspector at hampshire.edu, http://hampshire.edu/lspector/
Phone: 413-559-5352, Fax: 413-559-5438

Check out Genetic Programming and Evolvable Machines:
http://www.springer.com/10710 - http://gpemjournal.blogspot.com/

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