What is the plan of Web-CAT development?

At the beginning, I would like to say that you did a great job in creating Web-CAT. That kind of systems are so much helpful for teachers and students.

Since a few years, I also teach students of programming languages (and programming itself) at Poznan University of Technology in Poland. Last year, I decided to develop and deploy an automated grading system and with students I started the project from the beginning (now we are using quite simple system), however developing another similar system is not the best idea. Therefore, I would like to get involved in Web-CAT project.

I browsed the available source code and tried to analyze it and noticed that most of the code were not modified by a few years. Additionally, it use some of the unsupported frameworks, where in the meantime a some of good technologies were developed. Therefore, I have a question, if you have a plan of refreshing and developing of the project? I ask for something like a roadmap.

I think that the solid plan could attract more developers to help in evolving and maintaining  the project. Additionaly, it would show that the project is not dead ;)

As I wrote I would like to get involved in Web-CAT and use it at my university. However, I would like to know what is the future of the project .

Summarizing, could you post a plan or roadmap of the Web-CAT evolution ? I very appreciate your work and I would be delighted with the opportunity to participate in it.



Stephen Edwards

Sorry you didn't get a reply

Sorry you didn't get a reply earlier--and, of course, you've asked a big question!

Actually, Web-CAT does regularly undergo changes and bug fixes, but the code base is large enough that it may be difficult to see where the changes are in the source code repository.  Also, a few of our tools have migrated over to github and have changes recorded there instead of on sourceforge.  So, in short, yes Web-CAT is being actively maintained and worked on.

As far as a roadmap, there are a number of separate issues we are working on, not all of which have been checked into source code control.  The most visible is a complete jQuery/bootstrap UI redesign, motivated by a number of the problems caused by the current aging interface, and also by issues with student understanding and how to be more effective at conveying to students how they can improve their code.  In addition, we're working hard to get our clustering support on-line so that we can more effectively scale (at least at our home site) to a larger user base (currently, we've got > 10K users on our main server!).  Also, we have some more sophisticated sandboxing support developed by one of our grad students that we're looking into adding to plug-ins, and also some work on trying to speed up plug-in-based processing of assignments (which has always been too slow).  We also have some maintenance issues where we're trying to upgrade/update a number of the analysis and support tools we use for processing assignments, particularly in Java.

So that should give you some idea of the things we are working on.  As always at a university, what topics actually see movement is as much a function as what students (graduate or undergraduate) are available semester to semester, and what specific topics they are interested in pursuing.