[opensource] RESOLVE

Shaun Rowland rowland at cse.ohio-state.edu
Sun Feb 8 02:38:41 EST 2009

On Feb 7, 2009, at 10:11 PM, Brian Swaney wrote:

> Can nobody change the subject line so it doesn't ask about Printing?

Nope. Now you've ruined an experiment in statically subject-ed thread
evolution. I wanted to see if this could have evolved in a couple
more directions with the same subject :-)

> I have the opposite problem, in that I entered without knowing any  
> languages. I wanted something to start with on my personal computer,  
> but didn't know any languages that weren't confined to school  
> servers running decade-old operating systems. It's not like I could  
> put RESOLVE onto my own computer or anything.

If I could ever find the time to get them moved to Linux, I would.
It'll happen. Give me a break :-)

> For the record, I do support most of the RESOLVE principles. My only  
> 2 problems are that they are effectively wasting 3 quarters of  
> undergraduates' time by denying them access to actual usable  
> programming languages. For the same reason many programmers who  
> start with .NET languages have difficulty with other languages such  
> as C++, it is difficult to move from RESOLVE to another language if  
> that's the only one you know. A more useful means of teaching the  
> course would be to teach it in a language that would be useful to  
> know.

Have you finished the course sequence and had difficulty moving to
a new language? I view the point as teaching the concepts that should
allow you to move to other languages. One should not get hung up
on the syntax of Resolve. You could get hung up on the syntax of
Java and then have problems moving somewhere else too - especially
if they aren't covering how to really use the language itself and
are instead using it as a means to an end in teaching the concepts.
If the argument is to teach the languages, there are courses that
do that already.

Using the .NET programmer who can't move to another language easily
example seems to enforce the idea that teaching concepts at first is
more important than teaching a language itself.

Heh. Somehow I've become the "Resolve defender," and I don't even
like C++ in the first place. I've had all these thoughts at one
time or another, but I came to a different conclusion over time.
That seems to be a common path from what I've seen.

> Also, the specifications are not very readable. While I appreciate  
> the need to document the input/output of your libraries, and to use  
> the same "contracts" for future implementations and thusly prevent  
> the need to rewrite the entire kernel for one extension, the psuedo- 
> mathematical syntax used is often less readable than the code  
> itself. If they want us to use their style, they should make a point  
> of how it simplifies programming by making their documentation  
> readable. I claim this can be done without losing preciseness if  
> done carefully, and is much easier. The current specifications  
> actually (for me) make RESOLVE harder, but maybe that's just me.  
> I've left feedback multiple times, both verbally, and in course  
> evaluation forms, but I get the feeling that the RSRG is closed- 
> minded on how they teach the series.

Is their goal to get you using their mathematical syntax or to use
it as a tool to enforce the concepts? As I said, my experience was
years ago and I can't really answer that, but I know where my answer
would tend to be.
Shaun Rowland
rowland at cse.ohio-state.edu

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