This past year, I was the lead developer of the Assistment project, an intelligent-tutoring system built by undergraduate and graduate student at WPI, with significant research support from Carnegie Mellon. For more up-to-date information on the project, check out the blog at Assistment was a Java-based web application, however with inconsistent vision and design turned into too large of a project for it's own good, and was virtually unmaintainable. Talks were going on in Oct/Nov about redesigning the entire site, which was around the time I was proposing a user interface design for the entire site. Inevitably, I suggested we move the entire site to Ruby on Rails ... and after that suggestion Darren Torpey and I set off to create this prototype. In early January I demoed the first prototype of the new Assistment, a, looking to recruit new people and built the team, while getting it ready for prime-time. We released 0.7 in July, and will release 0.8 beginning of August. 5-6 new people have come into the lab, working on effort calculations, content feedback, calculator support (my first idea!), content versioning, and a slew of other cool things that would have never been possible in the old system. Assistment is a poster-child for all stale Java applications in dire need of redirection, and I will be publicizing it (in the near-future) in the Rails communities as a testimate to Rails' productivity and scalability.

I still retain my Assistment responsibilities remotely, so don't expect this to be the last about Assistment that you hear from me! Assistment can be found at For those early adopters, you can find the new implementation at Again, the Assistment blog is; let us know what you think! ~Jimmy