[Haskell-cafe] open source project for student

Dan Cristian Octavian danoctavian91 at gmail.com
Fri Apr 13 11:41:37 CEST 2012

Hi Jeremy,

Thank you for your encouraging reply. I understand your points and agree
for the most part, especially with the mentorship discussion that you made.

I wasn't too sure about attempting to work on a more sizeable project
(although I preferred that) but if you are saying that it's a reasonable
thing to do, I might as well try that. I have already started checking out
the larger Haskell projects.

On Thu, Apr 12, 2012 at 12:04 PM, Jeremy O'Donoghue <
jeremy.odonoghue at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Dan,
> I am the maintainer of wxHaskell, but please don't let that worry you, as
> I'm actually not going to go on and recommend wxHaskell as an Open Source
> project for a relative beginner - it is architecturally complex, and you
> need to know as much C++ as you do Haskell. You might choose to *use*
> wxHaskell in any project you undertake, but that is a different matter.
> I'm also a software engineering manager in my day job, so I have a lot of
> experience of what a good intern (those who come to me have generally
> completed their second year of undergraduate studies in the UK) can achieve
> - usually in fairly hardcore embedded C++, but that's beside the point.
> On 11 April 2012 22:52, Dan Cristian Octavian <danoctavian91 at gmail.com>wrote:
>> I am a second year computer science student who is very interested in
>>  working on a haskell open source project. I have no particular focus on a
>> certain type of application. I am open to ideas and to exploring new
>> fields. What kind of project should I look for considering that I am a
>> beginner? (Any particular project proposals would be greatly appreciated).
> Long experience of many types of software project tells me that before
> everything else you should choose something which interests you. You need a
> reason to want to understand, analyze and generally get stuck into a
> codebase, and having an interest is what gives you that motivation.
> At the same time, please don't let being a 'beginner' be too much of a
> barrier. I tell new interns that by the end of their internship they will
> be debugging multithreaded kernel-mode C++ code on an embedded target
> confidently and they look at me as though I am mad. However, they have all
> (so far) managed to succeed in doing just that kind of thing. Don't
> underestimate your ability to understand new concepts when you have a
> reason to focus hard on them.
> What will help you a great deal is good mentorship. Working on a project
> where the development team can take time to explain to you how (and why)
> they think things should be done in a particular way will accelerate your
> learning to a remarkable degree. Far more than 100 lectures, in fact. You
> should also try to choose a project which is well documented - this will
> help you to understand how everything hands together.
> Is the entry bar too high for most projects out there for somebody lacking
>> experience such as me so that I should try getting some experience on my
>> own first?
> It is amazing what you can do when you actually make a start! I'm assuming
> that you are somewhat familiar with Haskell at this point (e.g. worked your
> way through most of Learn You a Haskell or Real World Haskell, and felt
> like you grasped at least 50% - if you haven't, do that first).
> The key is to start with something fairly small and then use it to build
> up to something bigger. Most sizeable projects (wxHaskell, Gtk2Hs, Darcs,
> Yi, Yesod and many others) will have things on the 'to do' list which are
> not too large and maintainers who should be able to help.
> Would it be a better idea to try to hack on my own project rather than
>> helping on an existing one?
> I think you would learn more by contributing to an existing project.
> Whether that is of overwhelming importance is a question only you can
> answer.
> Regards
> Jeremy
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