Day #1 of Djentle Django is complete. We did seriously well. Our class has a very diverse range of skills. There are some who are installing their favorite IDE and running through the Django tutorial. There are a couple who have not used a command line before.
Even those with no linux experience were looking at DEBUG dumps, and finding the problem in their code. Fixing the problem, then restarting the Django server. Thats pretty good. The amount of knowledge required to bring up a Django web site is pretty astronomical.
Yes! It really is when you think about it.
With the push to teach everyone to code, you have to look at exactly what it takes to code. You have to have a text editor. Ubuntu doesn't have gedit on the standard toolbar. So just open a terminal and run gedit. But how do you know gedit exists? What are you even editing? Oh you should run django-admin.py? Whats a terminal?
Today's biggest issues:
- Editing the text, by far. Moving from text editor to command line was time consuming and complex for those who had never done it before. This is where I would focus most of the setup time. An editor that autocompletes Python code, and can highlight syntax errors as you code. However! I have been told that these IDEs (Eclipse, looking at you) are pretty easy to "accidentally" break. Somebody changes a setting somewhere, and now you are out 10 minutes trying to figrue out what went wrong. Also, how does the student simulate that environment when they get back home? How do you load a virtualenv into the Eclipse configs, when you are just barely understanding what a virtualenv even is? You know what always works though? Vim :) <esc>i just keep typing<esc>:wq. And it works when you get home as well. You don't need to master anything. If something is weird, <esc>i. And you're back.... just a thought.
- Typos. This could be addressed by the IDE though. Highlight unknown variables. This would save a LOT of time, trying code paths until you hit that one typo, and then have to navigate your way back to that file. If you don't do this everyday, this is time consuming and frustrating.
So we need a better editor. I think that would increase enjoyment. I'll have to wait for the post-workshop surveys to come back as well though.