“Rox: Uma ferramenta para o auxílio no aprendizado de Teoria dos Grafos”
My very first application is turning 10 this year. When I was in college I had this idea for an application to help students (including myself) in assignments for a Graph Theory course that were usually a nightmare. I have open sourced it from the beginning (advised by Terceiro and Mauricio, my colleagues at the time), which gave me a completely new perspective from which I thought software development initially to be. It also put me in contact, for the first time, with a user base of about 60 to 70 students each semester, that was quite a lot. In this tool, you had to compile classes with the algorithms and load them in order to analyze graphs. The tool was used for some years in my university, and I’ve also written my first paper because of it.
After that I’ve decided to improve this tool in order to make it more robust, by enabling users to process a lot of graphs at the same time and to make the algorithms debuggable, with step-by-step execution and visualization — So I’ve made it my graduation project, and I had completely rewritten the tool in the Eclipse platform, calling it RoxGT. The tool came out nice, however it had a problem: nobody wanted to use it. Students still preferred the old version, and that troubled me.
Eventually I understood that the experience I had created with the second version was far more complicated – I did not put the students and their tasks in first place like I did with the first version. The reason why this software failed to be adopted ultimately led me to pursue a master in Human-Computer Interaction, I wanted to understand what makes a software usable, but that is another story.