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Look Inside the Labs

Between code examples, instructor-led demonstrations, and individual lab exercises, students spend over 60 percent of their classroom time with working application code. We believe the depth, precision, and clarity of our course software sets us apart from most technical courseware publishers. Take a look at some of the key features of Capstone labs:

One-Click Installation
Nothing could be simpler than installing Capstone's lab software. Download the installer from our website: the self-extracting archive will unpack files to the hard drive and run a finishing script that clones some files for lab and demo workspaces, generates code documentation, and carries out other course-specific tasks.
Consistent File Layout
All Capstone modules install to a consistent directory structure, so students quickly get familiar with the file layout and can navigate easily.
Typical directory structure
Cookbooks to Case Studies
It is a significant challenge in hands-on technical training to balance students' desire for meaty, "real-world" examples with a need for efficiency in the classroom: we like the credibility of more complex, practical examples, but we can't afford the time to build them from scratch. Capstone courses offer a blend of simple, "cookbook-style" exercises and case studies that span several chapters or a whole course. We carefully prepare and document the case studies to allow students to see the big picture but then spend their time on the most interesting and high-value tasks that complete that picture.
Code Documentation
For our Java courses we make liberal use of doc-style comments. The lab installer runs the javadoc utility on the student machine, so that full HTML documentation is available during class for each example, demo, and lab. See an example of our Javadocs, from Course 192, Design Patterns in Java.
Eclipse and Other IDEs
Nearly all of our Java courses offers the option of an Eclipse workspace for the classroom. This "Eclipse overlay" is mixed into the installed lab software image, and the resulting workspace offers a complete Java project for each example, demo, or lab. Where courses are server-specific, we will usually provide an overlay for the corresponding IDE; for instance our WebLogic-oriented courses have "Workshop overlays."
Eclipse to file system
Ant
We work hard to make the instructor's and students' lives easier, and case studies are one way to do this. Another is taking the "grunt-work" of building and deploying off of students' hands. Following industry consensus, we use the Ant make utility to coordinate build-and-deploy processes in our Java EE courses. This lets students focus on typical development tasks, without getting bogged down in what would typically be administrative or project-management tasks in real projects. Again, it's about efficiency and focus in the classroom. Instructors can always open up the make files and illustrate practical details for students, but it's also easy to let the build process be a black box.
Classroom Setup Guides
To support our lab software, we clearly define a hardware and software environment for each course. See any course outline for system requirements. When it's time to deliver a course, see the Classroom Setup Guide for that course: this will lay out a set of free, downloadable tools for use with the lab software such as a JDK or EE server, along with the lab installer and IDE overlay. Most supporting tools are actually baked into the lab installers. See a typical Classroom Setup Guide, from Course 163, Enterprise JavaBeans.