I am the Director of Workshops for the ESF Computing Conference taking place next weekend at South Island School in Hong Kong, and so we’ve been working hard in the past few weeks to get everything ready for the conference.
As part of this, one of my teammates thought it would be a good idea to give each student a personalized schedule of what workshops they would be attending during the conference. However, we are planning on having over 100 students so it would have taken a long time to make the schedule for each person. So, I thought I would dust off my Java skills and give it a go at automating the process. After downloading the student signup list into an Excel file, I used Apache POI to scrape the student data from the excel file and then I created a Word document that would have a schedule for each student on one page. That way we could just print the document the day before, and then distribute the schedules.
It was a short (and slighty dirty) project, but it was immensely satisfying to make something that I could actually use to make my life easier. This project has been really the first time I’ve made a program that will do this to a significant degree, and thus is a milestone for me.
Below is a screenshot of what the final schedule document for one student looks like:
I had used Apache POI briefly before with Excel, but this time it was a new experience using it with Word. An interesting part about making the document was customizing the header. It was slightly more complicated than the other sections, but that made it even more satisfying to get something aesthetically pleasing done with the header. Throughout this entire experience, StackOverflow and other online tutorial websites were my best friend. Honestly, I think that being a good programmer heavily relies on the ability to do good research on the areas of knowledge that you need for a project. I feel that through projects like this I am starting to develop this skill.