Software Carpentry Starts Tomorrow

The next run of the Software Carpentry course starts tomorrow (July 13), and as always, I wish a lot of things were in better shape. We’re using Skype to videoconference the lectures from Toronto to Edmonton and vice versa because everything else was either too broken or too expensive. The video quality is pretty poor, and nothing’s being recorded, but it’s the best we could do in the time we had.

Similarly, the notes are still in scroll format because there wasn’t time to debug the Javascript+CSS package I was trying to use to lay them out as slides, or to figure out how to get Firefox and IE to display things the same way. At the same time, I’ve just found out that Firefox puts two or three blank lines’ worth of vertical space around bullet items that contain math characters, while IE 7 doesn’t show them at all. Using raw character codes like ∈ instead of (supposedly standard) abbreviations like &setin; doesn’t fix the latter problem, and since I have no idea what might fix the former, I’m just going to shrug, file a ticket, and move on.

Most depressingly, almost none of the content has been updated. Doing this was #1 on my to-do list back in April, but it turned out that being #1 takes second place to things like booking rooms and making sure there’s a working projector.

Things are going much better with Basie (the Django-based rewrite of DrProject that we’re hoping will grow up to be a replacement for Trac). Feature freeze happened two days ago, and while a couple of key components still need some real development work, almost everything else is more or less working. There are still seven weeks left in the summer, so barring outright disaster, we’re on track to have a working system to use this fall.

The other summer projects have been making good progress as well—if you’d like to know more, check out their blogs:

They all plan to do demos on the morning of Wednesday, July 28, and you’d all be welcome—stay tuned for details.