Planning and discussing prior to coding
We are halfway through the second coding period, and still working on the desired features. I wanted to set aside some time to talk about how I approached this period, so here I am writing some reflexions about the last week in the project
Turning ideas into mockups
I’m now working on a rich and integrated error visualization format for Block-Text, the intermediate language LearnBlock uses to ease the path from Visual Block to Python. When I was writing my proposal, I had a vague idea of what I wanted to do, but it wasn’t really something I could tell you precisely. In fact, it kept changing during days, while I tried to give it shape properly. Then, my mentors proposed having a meeting to discuss the roadmap towards the final implementation for this deadline’s features.
As I wanted to show them something to start talking about, I decided it could be a good idea to just make a demo. I had no prior experience with Qt, the UI toolkit used in the project, but I knew enough HTML/CSS to make some quick-and-dirty widgets resembling what I had in mind. I think it worked great: the conversation was really focused because we had something to build upon, so we didn’t lost time trying to figure out how everyone else was picturing it in their minds. I would absolutely recommend doing that because it has really worked for me. It doesn’t have to be finished or even fully working, but a draft which you can build in no more than 30 minutes.
The meeting had three goals:
- Spotting a bug, which at the end was due to a missing line from the example
- Telling me how to use PySide2 effectively to be able to do my work properly
- Deciding what would be implemented in this period and how it would look
We spend quite some time discussing the features which would make into this period, and sometimes we had largely different views on how they should look! All in all it was very enlightening, and the final plan evolved taking the best out of each of our proposals. With a clearly defined set of features, I could start coding again!