CS373 Fall 2021: Ethan Tan : Final Entry

Ethan Tan
3 min readDec 5, 2021

Final Blog!

How well do you think the course conveyed its takeaways?

Many of the coding takeaways were not really expressed by the project. We got a taste of how Python language features might be useful, but as someone who worked almost exclusively on the front-end, none of them really came into play. Perhaps they were more useful on the back-end, but they weren’t really universal. However, the more general takeaways — testing, working together, code quality — were conveyed well, as we had to apply those concepts to produce a good website.

Were there any other particular takeaways for you?

I don’t know if this would be considered a takeaway, since I’ve loved documentation ever since learning it exists, but documentation is super useful. There was no way to learn how to use React from scratch without the existence of documentation — sure, there’s a glut of tutorials online about how to build a website, but the most trustworthy source was official documentation, which was more detailed and informative than poorly-written articles.

How did you feel about cold calling?

I don’t mind it, but I’m not a big fan of it.

How did you feel about specifications grading?

I’m generally clueless about grading, so I don’t really have any opinions on this compared to traditional grading schemes.

How did you feel about help sessions and office hours?

Office hours and help sessions tended to be at inconvenient times for me, so I didn’t really make use of them, unfortunately. However, as a group we got useful clarification and help on projects from office hours.

How did you feel about the support from the TAs?

The TAs provided extraordinary support, providing a lot of help and clarity through the grading specifications and help in office hours and Discord.

What required tool did you not know and now find very useful?

React is the big one, since it’s an entire framework that I previously had zero knowledge about. Along with it, I had to learn JavaScript, html, and css by the nature of web development. I’ve very glad to have such a useful and ubiquitous tool in my toolbox, and I’m sure it’ll serve me well in my future endeavors.

What’s the most helpful Web Dev tool that your group used that was not required?

I’m not sure we used any tools that weren’t required, but I’m very much a fan of the ant design package. It’s simple and easy to use, with a ton of useful documentation and code samples.

How did you feel about your group having to self-teach many, many technologies?

As someone taking perhaps a bit too many credit-hours, I wasn’t very happy about this. It takes time to self-learn; filtering through the wide variety of questionable information on the internet, reading through documentation, and actually understanding how the technology works. Without ample time to do this, you end up with half-baked, fragile code because you don’t understand the intricacies and pitfalls of whatever you just tried to learn. I would have appreciated some more pointers on some things from the class.

Give me your suggestions for improving the course, but apologies in advance; specifications grading will remain.

I’d appreciate if the lectures and papers had a bit more connection to the project. It takes some of the burden off of having to self-learn, and I’m generally more confident in the information I get from class than online. I’m not really asking for tutorials; more of a general overview of how some of the technology works. Programming to a black box is never fun, and online articles have a tendency to simply tell you how to do something and never explain why.