Skip to main content

Authoring

Synopsis

Creating and writing a course for the Rascal Tutor.

Description

The life cycle of a course consists of the following steps:

  • A new course, say MyCourse, is created. This is achieved by:
    • Creating a subdirectory named MyCourse in the courses directory of the current Rascal project.
    • Creating a file MyCourse/MyCourse.md. This is the root concept of the new course.
  • The contents of the course are created by populating the course with subconcepts of the root concept.
  • A subconcept, say CoolIdea is created by:
    • Creating a subdirectory CoolIdea of its parent concept.
    • Creating a file CoolIdea/CoolIdea.md that describes the concept.
    • Alternatively, a file CoolIdea/index.md works too.
    • Renaming/moving/deleting concepts is done at the directory/file level.

Concepts are represented as directories for the following reasons:

  • To represent subconcepts as subdirectories.
  • To contain all figures and other files that are included in the concept. In this way: A complete concept can be easily moved or renamed as a single unit. Name clashes between included files per concept are avoided.

Benefits

  • You can use your favourite Markdown editor and standard system commands to author a course.
  • The output of the Tutor compiler is Markdown/HTML that you can process further with any tool you like
  • Links to other concepts are all relative to a root directory with all the courses. So ../../Course/A/index.md would be a link generated from a link to A in /Course/Z/index.md. This makes it easy to include courses in a website at any subfolder.
  • The index that is generated for every project with several courses can be reused by other projects to generate consistent cross-referencing. For example a project flybytes which depends on the rascal project which contains the Library course, could use Library:IO to refer to the documentation about the IO module in the standard library of Rascal.

Pitfalls

  • There is no editing support or incremental course compilation available (yet).
  • Special features like code execution and cross-referencing concepts are not implemented by generic Markdown editors, so you have to wait and see what happens until you compile the course.
  • All images are referenced from /assets/ so images have to be installed there on any website you want to include the documentation in.