Colaroid: A Literate Programming Approach for Authoring Explorable Multi-Stage Tutorials
Multi-stage programming tutorials are key learning resources for programmers, using progressive incremental steps to teach them how to build larger software systems. A good multi-stage tutorial describes the code clearly, explains the rationale and code changes for each step, and allows readers to experiment as they work through the tutorial. In practice, it is time-consuming for authors to create tutorials with these attributes. In this paper, we introduce Colaroid, an interactive authoring tool for creating high quality multi-stage tutorials. Colaroid tutorials are augmented computational notebooks, where snippets and outputs represent a snapshot of a project, with source code differences highlighted, complete source code context for each snippet, and the ability to load and tinker with any stage of the project in a linked IDE. In two laboratory studies, we found Colaroid makes it easy to create multi-stage tutorials, while offering advantages to readers compared to video and web-based tutorials.