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How To Complete Your First Milestone
So you've been going to class and watching the professor do all of these cool things with Squeak (quite easily, I might add), and now the time has come for you to do a little Squeak-ing of your own. You've taken a few programming courses and know from experience that the first programming assignment isn't usually that difficult. Whereas I hope that you find this to be true for your first experiences with Squeak, it will not likely be the case. In order to make the transition into Squeak a little easier for you, I've compiled a few general and specific guidelines for Squeak and CS2340 that would've made my life a little easier (or my nights a little shorter) when completing Milestone 1.
The following are a few general guidelines for Squeak and CS2340 that should help you out (especially if you're viewing this early on):
- Go to class. While always important, ESPECIALLY important during period in which instructor is introducing Squeak to the class.
- Follow along in class. You've made it there, but are you listening?
- If you have a laptop, bring it! Mimic the actions of the instructor! Sure, what the instructor is doing seems simple enough in class, but it's much more difficult when you're in your room trying to figure which of the three mouse clicks to use.
- Ask questions. If you don't know how the instructor got to a certain menu, ask! If you don't, you will be forever lost (or lost for 50 minutes).
- Play around with squeak to understand how things work before trying to code.
- Read cases such as this one. :)
- Use tools such as class finder and method finder to avoid rewriting code for functionality that is already in Squeak.
- Use the Squeak swiki at http://minnow.cc.gatech.edu/squeak/.
- Search for help on Google (though you will likely find yourself redirected to the above site).
- Have you noticed that there are about fourteen ways you can click using a mouse?? Okay, maybe there are only three. You can figure out which is which by looking at the chart at the bottom of page 42 in the class text.
- Sweat the small stuff. Don't forget to fill out your class and method comments. They contribute to your grade too!
A Few Basic Tools/Tasks In Squeak
- Saving. While this may not be the case for you and your group, my group members and I seem to have a special talent for breaking Squeak. For preservation of your sanity, I suggest that you save your work often by "red button clicking" on the background and selecting "Save."
- Opening a new Morphic project. Rather than getting rid of everything in the world view, just open up a new Morphic project to keep all of the browsers, workspaces, etc. for your current milestone together in one place. Do this by "red button clicking" on the world background and then clicking on "open", and finally on "morphic project". This will bring up a small square onto the world view. You may click inside this square to open up a blank view on which you may place all of your work for the current project.
- System Browser. The system brower is what you will use to find classes and methods already part of Squeak, as well as create your own. Open one up by clicking on the background as before, clicking "open", and finally clicking "browser". The four boxes at the top of the system browser are as follows: class categories, classes, method categories, and methods. The bottom half of the system browser is where you will add/modify code. As great as all that is, you probably would like some way of finding a class that may in some way assist you in getting that first milestone out of the way. By "yellow button clicking" in the class category box, you can bring up a menu with a very helpful little tool. In this menu, click on "find class." This will bring up a box that allows you to search for a class by name (or fragment of a name).
- Method Finder. Maybe you don't need to find a class. What you really need to find is a method. You're sure it's around somewhere, but you just haven't worked in Squeak enough to know where it is. Use the method finder! Get to it by "red button clicking" (that's a regular ole click) the background and selecting open, then select "method finder." You may enter the name (or fragment of the name) of a method you are looking for. The method finder will return a list of matching methods, which you may browse via the system browser by double clicking on the method name.
- Workspace. The workspace is a good place for testing out code snippets and instantiating the objects you have designed. Open up one by "red button clicking" on the background, selecting "open," and then selecting "workspace."
On a somewhat unrelated side note, pay attention to how your grades for the class are weighted. If your midterm and final exams contribute toward 55% of your final grade, it would probably be a good idea to put a little effort into studying for them. This can be extended to apply toward all of your classes... ever.
Hopefully, the things I've mentioned in this case have taught you a few things about Squeak and CS2340 that will help you get off to a good start. Good luck!
This case was authored by Jeff Watson (gtg273h) for CS2340 in Fall 2005.
Links to this Page
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