Thanks very much Kevin! Sorry for the length of this message, but I
wanted to give all the relevant info in one message for anyone who
is interested in our C++ learning software. I'm Robert Holder and
my wife Janice Dugger and I are the ones working on this software,
called FeetWetCoding. It is free, open source software. Our first
priority is to try to make it FUN to learn programming! Our second
priority is to not do anything obviously stupid, like teaching bad
programming habits. We do things in the early exercises like use
magic numbers in the code, but we feel the beginners need things
simple and straightforward early on. We intend to teach good
programming habits as quickly as practically possible in the
FeetWetCoding (FWC) is still in development and is incomplete so...
it will be awhile before we have the basics of C++ covered. Less
than half of the basic exercises are done at this time. Note that
we are (trying to) work on this project daily, so the code is
changing. If you play with FWC and enjoy it, you might want to
download it again in a few weeks to get new exercises, but realize
that the progress you made in exercises you have already worked on
will obviously not be present when you unzip the new download.
I wanted to add that we do need inexperienced testers because they
are our target audience, but we would also welcome any feedback from
experienced coders as well. I'm going to individually contact the
people who responded after I send this message, but for anyone who
might be interested, here are links to information about our
Our Google+ project page, probably the most straightforward (and
briefest!) intro summary.
Our software repository. Click the ZIP button on the left side of
that page to download our source .zip file. For the latest source,
switch from "master" to "threadtest" branch before clicking the ZIP
button, which has our new threaded exercise framework. Just click
on "master" next to the ZIP button to switch branches. The master
branch is a few weeks old now i think. We do development in
branches other than the master branch so we don't accidentally hose
up the default distro .zip downloadable. I just pushed up to
threadtest on github a few minutes ago, so that is our latest
stuff. The exercises numbered above 400 in Section05 Loops_Logic
are works in progress... they're kinda hosed up right now. But the
other exercises are in reasonable shape I think. Once we've
debugged threadtest we will merge it into the dev branch where it
belongs. We hope to get this done this week, and merge the dev
changes to the master branch for our next "official" release which
we hope to complete before April.
has our online documentation, the same as the docs that are included
in the master branch distro.
google code page for our development issues.
a google groups forum (currently empty)
We've tried to design it so that someone can download our .zip from
github, unzip it, click the README.html and have the basic info they
need to get started. So we are mainly looking for feedback on three
1) Is the documentation clear? We know it is very incomplete, but
anything that is confusing or incorrect, we want to hear about.
2) The exercises are supposed to build on each other, sequentially.
We're trying to give our users small cognitive tools that build up
over the course of the exercises. The Types_Variables and
Expressions_Syntax exercise sections are not what we would like, but
it's difficult to do more than what we have there when the user
doesn't yet know loops and conditionals. So the pace and flow of
the exercises, in terms of learning and building up mental tools to
move forward, we would like any feedback on that. Do the exercises
progress too fast? Too slow? Also any errors or missing info in
exercises are things we want to hear about. All comments and
suggestions are welcome!
3) We intend to make a short video or other tutorial explaining how
to use the features of the Qt Creator IDE that our beginner users
will need, or at least a documentation page with screenshots, but we
don't have that yet. Please *let us know* about anything you find
confusing about Qt Creator so we can put that in our docs or a
...also, we develop on windows, but of course, we'd love to have
people test this running on linux, or even Mac OS X. So far the
only problem we had running it on linux was something I can't quite
remember at the moment, but I do remember it was really due to some
goofiness in how windows handles filenames, or CRLF or something.
Any problems that show up running our software on linux that don't
show up on Windows, we absolutely want to hear about.
We recommend checking the "Always save all files when building" box
to speed up workflow in the Qt Creator IDE. This option pops up the
first time you try to run without saving your changes. Also some
handy Qt Creator IDE shortcuts:
CTRL-S -- Save current file changes
CTRL-SHIFT-S -- Save ALL open files with changes
CTRL-I -- Auto Indent current line, or selected lines
We recognize that it is a lot to throw an IDE at a total beginner.
We *hope* that we can simplify this down to just the few key
concepts and knowledge that the beginner needs to get started using
the Qt Creator IDE. Qt has a lot of great videos at http://qt-project.org/videos
but these are not suited for the beginner which is why we are going
to try to create a few videos that are simple and easier for the
beginner to digest. Qt is a powerful toolkit, but the beginner not
only doesn't need that power, we feel it is overwhelming to the
beginner--heck it's often overwhelming to me too! :-) Luckily,
Janice understands Qt reasonably well.
You can reply to me through this email which is the one I am
registered with on meetup.com, but you can also reach me at
I will try to be available as +Robert Holder on my Google+ "hangout"
(Google videoconferencing with screen-sharing) this week, so anyone
can pop in with questions or just to say Hi! :-) Just add me to
your circles on Google+ and you will be able to see when I am in the
video "hangout" or hit me up on google chat.
Thanks! Anyone who is interested, please feel free to contact me
with any questions, problems or feedback. Janice and I both really
appreciate the helping hand that has been extended to us from Kevin
Fries and others at Denver Boulder Linux Meetup Group! :-) Thank
you for your time and attention!
On 3/9/2012 2:42 PM, Kevin wrote:
Last night one of our members demonstrated a really cool
new tool that will allow a complete novice to learn how to
program. Here is a brief description of the tool:
- It is graphics based, so many of the lessons use
graphics to teach its concepts (loops, branching, etc)
- It uses the QT graphics engine to provide the graphics,
this allows the tool to work on any machine that can
support QT, which include Windows, Mac, and LInux
- All the lessons that I saw used live code to produce
something on the screen, then gave you another screen and
asked you to alter the code to change the output... This
allows the student to move slowly without having to start
with "Hello World"
- Runs locally on the machine
Last night, they mentioned that they would love to find 2-3
beta testers. But... VERY important... the testers need to
have no experience in programming, but is highly motivated
If you know of anybody that fits that criteria, please let
me know so that I can forward their information to the beta
program. Having looked briefly at the program, I for one
was impressed. The lessons are being put together by a
real, working, programmer. So, there is an emphasis on
teaching proper techniques, not shortcuts.
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