UCOSP Blog Post

Intro: My name is John Sintal and I am a 4th year student at the University of Toronto (U of T) studying Computer Science.

What I am working on: I am working closely with Steven Macleod on building a set of Review Board (RB) tools, individual scripts that work as commands for Review Board. An example of this type of command would be a diff command. A developer would like to view a ‘diff’ in his terminal window, and so he would type ‘rb diff’ to view it. Overall, Mike Conley described the project as deconstructing a “monolithic” code base, referred to as post-review, and adding new functions. Ideally, the new commands that are being built will soon replace the majority of post-review.

My thoughts: I am very fortunate to be in this program because it is definitely bringing some great hands-on experience with software development, something that is very important to me. For instance, picking up GIT and becoming more comfortable in a Linux environment are some new things I’ve learned just from the experience of this project. Throughout my time at U of T, much I’ve learned with regards to computer science has been theoretical. As much as theory is important, I am more interested with the application of software development.

The people and the positive team vibe are reasons why I am enjoying this project course . Everyone here on the RB team is extremely friendly, hard working and shares similar goals of contributing to this open source project.The mentors are especially helpful, down to earth and friendly. Near the end of the code sprint, it was a bit sad to say bye to all my new friends.

Some of the hurdles I have encountered in this course so far is managing my time, asking for help when appropriate and overcoming a rather steep learning curve. Time management is key to success in this course. The amount of freedom you have is something you must carefully deal with. It’s very easy to not put in the honest hours of work because you don’t have strict deadlines or constant reminders. It is your responsibility to establish an effective schedule and stick to it. Communication or asking for help/advice is another important factor to having success in this course. For instance, at the sprint I was looking at a bug for a couple of hours, wasting time by not asking for some help. Had I been a little more proactive and asked for help, I could have save more time. In terms of learning curve, I come from an Eclipse IDE GUI Windows background and working in terminal driven Linux environment was a major learning curve for me. I felt really behind, but I’ve learned that it takes patience and persistence to overcome these struggles. Now, I am feeling more comfortable in a Linux environment.

That’s all for now. Review Board is awesome! The people behind it and the tool itself. I look forward to using it more in the future.

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