Good Open Source Projects for Programming/Refactoring Assignments

So CSSE375 is a Rose-Hulman course focused on refactoring (course notes here). As a result, I like to have the students make changes to existing open source projects. This gives them a little experience with codebases of a realistic size, and it makes the assignments feel a little more authentic.

I generally like Java projects that can be made to build automatically in Eclipse. Not by any means a deal breaker but Java is the language they know best so it lets me focus on the concepts easiest. Eclipse is not really a requirement but it has to build really easily because otherwise I end up debugging 45 different weirdo build problems.

Here’s a few that have worked for me:

  • Argo UML – a really big project which is great (although it makes submissions a pain). A UML editor with some very weird use of objects in places. Here’s the assignment I used – and here’s the eclipse workspace source I used in case you don’t want to check it out yourself. The force based aspect of the assignment is maybe too fussy an algorithm…if I had to do it again I might do something a little simpler.
  • Cleansheets – a great java spreadsheet that is quite reasonably designed. Builds very easily. The assignment I used was this one but I’ve since released the solution so I wouldn’t go reusing it on anything important. But I would use it again on another assignment.
  • jFTP – this one’s codebase has a LOT of duplication in it…great if you want to pratice some refactoring techniques. Here’s the assignment I used and I modified the codebase slightly to make testing harder and make the project build easily in Eclipse.
  • BORG – another large codebase, in this case a calendaring program. Unfortunately, annoying to build because students must install the lombok library. Here’s an assignment I did using it anyway.

If you’re looking for a more straightforward refactoring assignment, here’s what I started my students with – Calender Parse Part 1 & Part 2.

Leave a Reply