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Everything ... is ... so terrible!
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BenMcLean
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Thumbs down Everything ... is ... so terrible! - 11-04-2009, 03:27 PM

To anyone who doesn't know what they're doing and isn't required to use Alice for a required academic course: Get a real programming language.

To whoever is left: Has anyone ever made a comprehensive list of the bad programming habits and irrelevant workarounds being taught, the bugs, the quirks, the unimplemented features and the multiple ways in which the GUI sucks in Alice 2.0 and 2.2? Cause I'm pretty sick of it! Using this monster would have scared me away from programming if I'd had it back when I first started.

In other news, the drop failed. Again. Re-usability of code in Alice 2.0 and 2.2 is practically nill.

Last edited by BenMcLean; 11-04-2009 at 03:45 PM.
   
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antmj2317
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Default .. - 11-04-2009, 05:40 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BenMcLean View Post
To anyone who doesn't know what they're doing and isn't required to use Alice for a required academic course: Get a real programming language.

To whoever is left: Has anyone ever made a comprehensive list of the bad programming habits and irrelevant workarounds being taught, the bugs, the quirks, the unimplemented features and the multiple ways in which the GUI sucks in Alice 2.0 and 2.2? Cause I'm pretty sick of it! Using this monster would have scared me away from programming if I'd had it back when I first started.

In other news, the drop failed. Again. Re-usability of code in Alice 2.0 and 2.2 is practically nill.
I read this post and laughed, so let's really explain your rant of incoherent unexplained babble.

#1. Alice is built on Java, which is a 'real' programming language. BTW what's a fake programming language?

#2 Alice is a learning tool. Now while I agree with you in the lack of features, you're rant should really be about Alice 3.0, and not 2.2 which for all learning purposes is a very polished tool and one of the best for it's intentions that I've seen in 10 years of programming.

#3 Workarounds in programming are one of the best ways to learn code. Having things handed to you in a drag and drop environment may be easy, but it's a rudimentary teaching tool, that's it. Learning how to work around the problem not only teaches you to be adaptive, but also teaches you problem solving, which judging by your post doesn't seem to be one of your strongest qualities.

Lastly, if you feel Alice is subpar to your needs, please feel free to make your attempt at either a) joining the development team OR b) making your own, better version in these so called 'real' programming languages that you mention.

-TonyC
   
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BenMcLean
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Cool 11-11-2009, 09:43 AM

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Originally Posted by antmj2317 View Post
I read this post and laughed, so let's really explain your rant of incoherent unexplained babble.

#1. Alice is built on Java, which is a 'real' programming language. BTW what's a fake programming language?
Well there are several ways one could define the term "fake programming language", even though you invented the term while I merely said Alice was "not a real programming language." Not real != fake. I would say a real programming language is one that could conceivably be used to write real programs.

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#2 Alice is a learning tool.
So is QBASIC, the difference being that QBASIC is a much better learning tool than Alice 2.0 and 2.2.

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Originally Posted by antmj2317 View Post
Now while I agree with you in the lack of features, you're rant should really be about Alice 3.0, and not 2.2 which for all learning purposes is a very polished tool and one of the best for it's intentions that I've seen in 10 years of programming.
I really hope so. That's why I didn't post this in the 3.0 forum. I'm stuck in a class that uses 2.0 and 2.2, which started with 25 people and now has only 7 left because they've gotten behind on assignments, which I blame on the terrible drag-and-drop interface they're being forced to work with. Learning where commands are hidden in a GUI doesn't help you remember syntax rules when you start with a productive language. It only slows you down in getting your homework done and fails to improve your typing skills, which are as vital as any other skill being taught in introductory programming in my opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by antmj2317 View Post
#3 Workarounds in programming are one of the best ways to learn code.
That would apply if the type of workarounds I was talking about were relevant. If the point was to force students to think creatively by making them implement workarounds, that wouldn't be a problem. Which is why I restricted that statement to irrelevant workarounds only.

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Originally Posted by antmj2317 View Post
Having things handed to you in a drag and drop environment may be easy,
No it's not. It's been much, much harder to work within the confines of this drag and drop interface for the students in my class, especially with the terrible "drop failing" clipboard.

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Originally Posted by antmj2317 View Post
but it's a rudimentary teaching tool, that's it. Learning how to work around the problem not only teaches you to be adaptive, but also teaches you problem solving, which judging by your post doesn't seem to be one of your strongest qualities.
I've had to help the instructor out several times because of bugs in Alice 2.0 and 2.2. I've just gotten frustrated seeing other people become frustrated with their introduction to programming in ways I know they wouldn't have been if we were still teaching QBASIC as a first language. QuickBasic 4.5's problems are that it's out of date (procedural, not object oriented or multi-threaded) and closed source, but taken in the context of, "We're just trying to help brand new programmers get their feet wet," I think it still compares favorably to forcing people to work with (referring only to Alice 2.0 and 2.2) this terrible GUI'd monstrosity. Oh, hang on a second, I'm being asked if I want to save my Alice world, AGAIN, which I'm not allowed to turn off, which is stupid. It's great to have the reminder feature in there - as long as the user is allowed to turn it off. If I knew Java, I would have made my own build of Alice by now just to implement that one feature of allowing you to turn the reminder off. OK, anyway, there are alot of good basic ideas in Alice, but 2.0 and 2.2 should never have been used in a college level academic environment at all without being themselves implemented correctly. There is far too much, "Do as I say, not as I do" going on here for 2.0 and 2.2 to be a good base for getting students ready for real programming. I don't believe in starting with toys, but in starting with simple challenges. There's a difference.

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Originally Posted by antmj2317 View Post
Lastly, if you feel Alice is subpar to your needs, please feel free to make your attempt at either a) joining the development team OR b) making your own, better version in these so called 'real' programming languages that you mention.
I do not mean to diss the Alice 3.0 development team in any way. I just hope they fix this stuff!

I'd love to be able to make machinima films with the Sims 2 characters in a simple minimalistic scripting language, as long as you can implement sound synchronization and a decent encoder that we can get YouTube-ready music videos out of. That would be great and wonderful.

Last edited by BenMcLean; 11-11-2009 at 09:58 AM.
   
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Jeremytroid
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Default 11-12-2009, 02:06 PM

Why is this even here? For new members it's bad for the first thing people see on the forum is how terrible Alice is(which is YOUR opinion)doesn't exactly give people a good message
   
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BenMcLean
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Default 11-13-2009, 09:35 AM

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Why is this even here? For new members it's bad for the first thing people see on the forum is how terrible Alice is(which is YOUR opinion)doesn't exactly give people a good message
It's an opinion which I've been backing up with facts though. The first thing new people ought to see in regard to ALICE is, "If you want to learn programming, start by learning an introductory level language with a stable implementation - preferably one that has stood the test of time, such as QBASIC, then move to something more practical such as C++. If you're a Java programmer, please get on board and help us finish this cool project! If you're an educator, please check back in a few months or years when we've gotten this project stable and working!"

I ended up in an ALICE course by accident (I already knew QBASIC and how to write trivial programs in introductory level C++ before I started) but I stayed in because an easy A would help my GPA. I'm getting an A in the course, but I'm probably the only one. Every single other person in the class is way behind and most of them have dropped the class.

The instructor is a wonderful lady whose teaching style was ideally suited to an introductory course of this type. But the other students can't tell the difference between when they've done something wrong and when Alice 2.0 and 2.2's many bugs and badly or un-implemented features are the root of their problem, and so they conclude they just can't do anything right. And I think that's really sad.

Someone who's new to programming needs to be given a stable IDE and toolchain (optionally one specifically developed for introductory level programming) that they can be confident will perform as it should, so that when they screw up, they know they screwed up their code and can be reasonably expected to figure out why. Several times I've had to tell other students, after carefully looking over their program, that they've done everything absolutely right, and their program doesn't work due to a bug in ALICE. There are several good fundamental ideas behind ALICE, but neither the 2.0 or the 2.2 release should have ever been marked "stable" or used as an introduction to programming in an academic environment.

Last edited by BenMcLean; 11-13-2009 at 09:50 AM.
   
hmm
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antmj2317
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Default hmm - 11-13-2009, 12:44 PM

I may be wrong, but the 18 students who left your class for whatever reason probably left for a reason that has nothing to do with Alice.

1) Either they don't have the patience to learn something new(but will sit there and play with facebook or their new cell phone)

2) They don't care(which isn't the programs fault)

3) dropped the class(also, not the programs fault)


Alice is not a difficult language, and yes it is lacking features, but it's not nearly as bas as you make it seem.

Now, what is it that is causing so much trouble that I can help you solve/accomplish?
   
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x2495iiii
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Default 11-15-2009, 07:57 PM

Look Ben, as scintillating as these threads are, this isn't group therapy and we're not here to listen to you complain. If you have a legitimate bug report, submit it (preferably sans sarcasm), if you have a help request, post it, otherwise, keep your unconstructive criticism to yourself.

By the way, you can change the time between save reminders to "Forever" by clicking Edit>Preferences>Seldom Used and then selecting "Forever" from the dropdown menu next to "number of minutes to wait before displaying save reminder." I checked to make sure that it stays that way when you restart Alice and there are no problems with it.


(')>
   
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BenMcLean
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Cool 11-16-2009, 01:41 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by antmj2317 View Post
I may be wrong, but the 18 students who left your class for whatever reason probably left for a reason that has nothing to do with Alice.

1) Either they don't have the patience to learn something new(but will sit there and play with facebook or their new cell phone)

2) They don't care(which isn't the programs fault)

3) dropped the class(also, not the programs fault)
I of course can't say that they ALL left for stupid reasons like those, but I can say with some certainty that bugs in Alice were a major factor in hampering their opportunity to learn in the course. I'm the only one whose been messing around with Facebook and so forth in class and I'm the only one getting an A.

Quote:
Originally Posted by antmj2317 View Post
Alice is not a difficult language,
It wouldn't be if the implementation we're expected to use performed correctly and had a sane, plain text syntax.

Quote:
Originally Posted by antmj2317 View Post
and yes it is lacking features, but it's not nearly as bas as you make it seem.

Now, what is it that is causing so much trouble that I can help you solve/accomplish?
How to copy and paste code containing calls to methods people have written, for starters.



Actually ... programs are only required to work in Alice 2.0 or 2.2 ... is 3.0 backwards compatible if I only use 2.0 / 2.2 gallery objects? If it has a better editor, I could do the final assignments in 3.0 and maybe that would solve some of this

Last edited by BenMcLean; 11-16-2009 at 01:45 PM.
   
Suddenly everything soy is terrible. How?
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Lorenesf3
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Default Suddenly everything soy is terrible. How? - 11-20-2009, 12:13 AM

All of a sudden, soy products cause cancer. They're not safe unless they're super-processed, and even then, they can mess up your hormones. What?? I thought people in other countries had been eating soy products for thousands of years?!?!
   
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x2495iiii
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Default 11-20-2009, 12:47 AM

That really doesn't have a place here...

Did you misread the title of this thread or was that just a random post?


(')>
   
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