Evaluations of Integrated Programming Environment for First-Year Students in Computer Engineering

A new paper has been accepted in the Journal of Universal Computer Science, where the authors are: Matias Salinas, Paul Leger, Hiroaki Fukuda, Nicolás Cardozo, Vannessa Duarte, and Ismael Figureoa (To appear). Here is the abstract:

Many factors influence the problems that currently exist in the learning-teaching process of programming. The use of an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) makes the experience a complicated process because these IDEs focus on professional programmers and not on novice learners. This also affects the classrooms of the university “Pontificia Universidad
Católica de Valpara ́ıso (PUCV)” (Chile). The use of professional IDEs negatively affects the learning process of first-year students who face the development of the algorithms for the first time. One of the IDE widely used for teaching programming courses is Code::Blocks, which is a tool for professional developers. Through a heuristic and usability evaluation, we found that Code::Blocks has a complex user interface and a functional overload. Using these two findings, as well as recommendations given during these tests, we highlight the important aspects that an IDE for novice learners should have. Taking into account previous observations and state-of-the-art/practice of IDEs, a functional IDE prototype, named Incre-IDLE , is developed. In addition to Code::Blocks evaluations, this paper reports the results of a heuristic and usability evaluation applied to first-year students at PUCV about functionalities provided by Incre-IDLE. These results suggest that Incre-IDLE has a simple interface, is easy to install and use, and does not have functional overload (i.e., spend a considerable amount of time learning the tool). Concretely, the results show that 66.7% of the students could complete tasks easily and 100% of them found the GUI intuitive. In terms of GUI, 83.3% considered the application interface “very simple”; and the text, concepts, and icons “very understandable” by 66.7%. The
students also found the tool “motivating” (66.7%) or “very motivating” (33.3%). These results closely match the findings obtained by the heuristic evaluation of Incre-IDLE from the experts: 83.3% of them rated it as “useful” or “very useful”, and only a 16.7% rated it as “useless”.

Evolution of a Haskell Repository and its Use of Monads: An Exploratory Study of Stackage

Our paper about the study of the evolution of Stackage, a curated repository for the Haskell language, has been accepted in the Proceedings of the 37th Annual ACM Symposium on Applied Computing.


Evolution of a Haskell Repository and its Use of Monads: An Exploratory Study of Stackage

Package repositories for a programming language are increasingly common. A repository can keep a register of the evolution of its packages. In the programming language Haskell, with its defining characteristic monads, we can find the Stackage repository, which is a curated repository for stable Haskell packages in the Hackage repository. Despite the widespread use of Stackage in its industrial target, we are not aware of much empirical research about how this repository has evolved, including the use of monads. This paper presents an empirical study that covers the evolution of fourteen Long-Term Support (LTS) releases (period 2014 – 2020) of available packages (12.46 gigabytes), including the use of monads from the mtl package that provides the standard monad core (e.g., state, reader, continuations). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first large-scale analysis of the evolution of the Stackage repository with regard to packages used and monads. Our findings show, for example, a growing trend of packages is depending on other packages whose versions are not available in a particular release of Stackage; opening a potential stability issue. Like previous studies, these results may evidence how developers use Haskell and give guidelines to Stackage maintainers.

Double Impact of Pragmatics on JCC 2020

Two papers are accepted at XXXIX International Conference of the Chilean Computer Science Society, SCCC’ 2020. Papers are:

  • Empirical Comparison of Supervised Algorithms for Ransomware Identification on Network Traffic. Carlos Manzano, Claudio Meneses, Paul Leger.
  • A Collaborative Learning Strategy in an MIS Development Course Using Case Method in Engineering in Information and Management ControlMargareth Cleveland, Paul Leger.

Special Edition on Information and Software Technology

Professor Paul Leger becomes a Guest Editor on the journal Information and Software Technology, which is a specialized software engineering journal in Elsevier (WoS-q2/SJR-q1).
This special issue is “Visualization applied to Software Engineering” and you can find more information on https://www.journals.elsevier.com/information-and-software-technology