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The Commentator


This essay does not describe an existing computer program, just one that should exist. This essay is about a suggested student project in Java programming. This essay gives a rough overview of how it might work. I have no source, object, specifications, file layouts or anything else useful to implementing this project. Everything I have prepared to help you is right here.

This project outline is not like the artificial, tidy little problems you are spoon-fed in school, when all the facts you need are included, nothing extraneous is mentioned, the answer is fully specified, along with hints to nudge you toward a single expected canonical solution. This project is much more like the real world of messy problems where it is up to you to fully the define the end point, or a series of ever more difficult versions of this project and research the information yourself to solve them.

Everything I have to say to help you with this project is written below. I am not prepared to help you implement it; or give you any additional materials. I have too many other projects of my own.

Though I am a programmer by profession, I don’t do people’s homework for them. That just robs them of an education.

You have my full permission to implement this project in any way you please and to keep all the profits from your endeavour.

Please do not email me about this project without reading the disclaimer above.

This is a project for someone who likes to post commentary about news items at news sites like CBC News, CTV News, The Toronto Globe and mail, electronic letter to the editor pages of newspapers, blogs and sites that solicit user posts like CBC Radio,,, JPSoft,, The Diane Rehm Show … Each site has its own special rules for composing. For example:

The intent of The Commentator is to take some ordinary HTML and massage it into a form to placate a given news site and if simple copy/paste does not work to insert the message into the submit box, help you upload it.

Some of the things it might do include:

With the Commentator, you can compose with your familiar tools. The editors on websites are usually grossly incompetent and love to throw away all your work at the slightest excuse, or discard it randomly. With The Commentator you can’t lose your work and you have a permanent local copy perhaps to post again somewhere else later.

This is one of those projects that can start out with only a handful of features implemented and still be useful.

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