Penumbra: An Eclipse Plugin for Introductory Programming

Mueller, Frank and Hosking, Antony L.


Eclipse is a full-featured and easily extensible integrated development environment. As such, it has grown to include a large degree of functionality that may be overwhelming to the novice programmer. Nevertheless, we believe Eclipse is an environment that students of programming will come to find useful and empowering once they become familiar with it. The trick is easing them into using Eclipse without them feeling overwhelmed at the outset. Penumbra is an Eclipse plug-in developed at Purdue University for use in our introductory programming classes. It is intended to ease the transition to use of the full-featured functionality of Eclipse. Penumbra presents an Eclipse perspective that hides all but the basic actions of Eclipse’s existing Java perspective, while packaging elements of other perspectives (e.g., the CVS perspective) into simpler actions that ease the downloading and turn-in of programming assignments, and adding new code views inspired by other environments for introductory programmers. Our experiences using Eclipse with a small group of introductory programming students in the Spring of 2003 have guided the development of Penumbra, which is now being rolled out for general use by the full class of 230 students in the Fall of 2003.

  author = {Mueller, Frank and Hosking, Antony L.},
  title = {Penumbra: An {E}clipse Plugin for Introductory Programming},
  booktitle = {OOPSLA Workshop on {E}clipse {T}echnology e{X}change},
  series = {eTX},
  year = {2003},
  pages = {65--68},
  month = {October},
  address = {Anaheim, California},
  doi = {10.1145/965660.965674},
  acm = {},
  gscholar = {38}