Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Sections I read in an SP paper

A Special Problem (SP) paper is a form of documentation for capstone projects of students. It is in the format of a journal article. As a panel member, it is only during the SP presentation itself that I get a copy of the SP paper of the presenter. So given the limited amount of time to read the paper, I only read certain parts of it before the presentation starts.

First I read the title to identify the general area(e.g. web/mobile app, ML, algorithms) of the project. Second,  I read the abstract to get an overview view of the work. Third I focus on the objectives to know the specifics of what should be achieved by the project. Lastly, the conclusion and recommendations to check whether the objectives were met.

It is unfortunate that some advisers don't bother to read/edit the SP papers of their students before the presentation. Nonetheless, the four sections I mentioned above, I think, should be written with care.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Programming Tips for Student Projects

  • Use git for version control. Follow this simple workflow model.
  • Create separate folders for frontend and backend components especially if using the MERN stack. You can also create a data folder inside the backend. An example application template.
  • Use config files to set values for database configuration such as dbhost, dbuser, dbpass, dbname
  • Create .sql files that contains initialization data and stored procedures.
  • Use relative URLs in your app.
  • Write an INSTALL text file that describes how to install your application. Indicate the dependencies (OS version, package names, version number). If possible, create an install.sh or setup.sh to automate the installation process.
  • Use a coding convention for naming variables, functions, methods, etc.
  • Do not store passwords in plaintext.
  • Learn Docker and Docker Compose and TravisCI.  Check my app template.
  • Write automated tests.
  • (more to follow)