MarkUs Blog

MarkUs Developers Blog About Their Project

UCOSP Code Sprint – Recap

with one comment

Hi everyone,

The Winter 2013 MarkUs team had a fun and productive 3 day weekend at Facebook HQ for our educational hackathon. I just wanted to let everyone else on the MarkUs team know what we accomplished, what our future goals are and what each of us plan to be working on for this term.

Sprint Accomplishments

What did we accomplish while we were there?


The team was mostly setting up for the day. There were some issues happening with the svn-ruby bindings on Mac OS X and Linux, but they were resolved by the end of the day.


The team eagerly started looking at issues and making trivial commits to get a hang of Git and Github. A bunch of issues were created, older issues were cleaned up, and we got a feel for how MarkUs worked from the demo Karen gave. The team also got a nice amount of pull requests in fixing previous issues.


The last little bit of coding was mostly looking at the pull requests from saturday and fixing any issues that occurred. The team continued to work until the presentations where all the hackathon teams gave an overview of their project.

Winter 2013 Term Goals for MarkUs

What are some of the goals we would like to see get accomplished this term?

Testing Framework – Feature

One of the more important features of MarkUs. This testing framework will allow graders to upload their testing suite to MarkUs that can be used to run student’s code to determine any faults in their programs. The goal here is to fix up remaining bugs as well as code syntax issues.

Remark Requests – Feature

Another nice feature that would be beneficial to MarkUs. This is where students have the ability to submit a remark requests for assignments. A nice feature we can add here is to add a side by side comparison window (original assignment vs remark assignment).

Grade Entry Sheets

Grade entry sheets already exist within MarkUs, but more functionality can be added to them. A couple features we discussed are:

  • Multiple Sections for Students
    • Give the ability to assign students to multiple sections
  • TA Grading
    • Allow TA’s to enter marks

Switch Prototype to jQuery

As jQuery continues to gain popularity (54% of the top 100,000 sites currently using jQuery –, we decided that maybe it’s about time we should make the move over to jQuery.


  • The difference between communities is huge
    • Because of the popularity of jQuery, there has been an enormous increase of Stackoverflow questions (jQuery’s 265932 tagged questions vs Prototype’s 2114 questions) and plugins for it. Along with popularity, if students know jQuery coming into MarkUs, that is one less framework they have to learn.
  • As of Rails 3.1, jQuery becomes the default Javascript library.
  • jQuery allows chaining and if used properly, allows for more readable and understandable code.

Upgrade Ruby & Rails versions

Make the upgrade to Ruby 1.9.x and upgrade Rails to 3.2. We also discussed whether or not this should be left for the summer team to complete, as we did not know how complex this would be.

Replace SVN for Git

This is one of the lower priority goals for the term. Git is another version control that has seen an immense popularity gain in the last few years. Few key reasons for this:

  • Git repo size much smaller compared to SVN size
  • Git is faster than SVN
  • Git is a distributed system

svn-ruby bindings are a bit of a pain to set up on some operating systems. Not sure if Git will be any easier, but more research on this topic will definitely have to be done.

Team Roles

What will the team be focusing on for the time being?

Daniel St. Jules – Database issues, schema and performance optimization

Alysha Kwok – Remark requests

Nick Lee – Testing framework

Mike Wu – Remark requests

Mike Stewart – Grade entry

Ian Smith – Testing framework

Marc Bodmer – Prototype to jQuery and replacing SVN for Git

Team MarkUs at Facebook HQ! From left to right: Nick, Marc, Karen, Alysha, Ian, Daniel, Mike S, Mike W.

Team MarkUs at Facebook HQ!
From left to right: Nick, Marc, Karen, Alysha, Ian, Daniel, Mike S, Mike W.

Written by Marc Bodmer

January 21st, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response to 'UCOSP Code Sprint – Recap'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'UCOSP Code Sprint – Recap'.

  1. Nick Lee

    22 Jan 13 at 3:55 pm

Leave a Reply