A Scalable Infrastructure for Teaching Concepts of Programming Languages in Scala with WebLab: An Experience Report

Lippe, Tim van der, Smith, Thomas, Pelsmaeker, Dani\"{e}l, Eelco Visser. A Scalable Infrastructure for Teaching Concepts of Programming Languages in Scala with WebLab: An Experience Report. In Proceedings of the 2016 7th ACM SIGPLAN Symposium on Scala. SCALA 2016, pages 65-74, ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2016. [doi]

Abstract

In this paper, we report on our experience in teaching a course on concepts of programming languages at TU Delft based on Krishnamurthi's PAPL book with the definitional interpreter approach using Scala as meta-language and using the WebLab learning management system. In particular, we discuss our experience with encoding of definitional interpreters in Scala using case classes, pattern matching, and recursive functions; offering this material in the web-based learning management system WebLab; automated grading and feedback of interpreter submissions using unit tests; testing tests to force students to formulate tests, instead of just implementing interpreters; generation of tests based on a reference implementation to reduce the effort of producing unit tests; and the construction of a product line of interpreters in order to maximize reuse and consistency between reference implementations.