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Constructor Amanuensis


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 one of the amanuensis projects. The Constructor amanuensis is a Java Program that helps you rapidly generate boring repetitive code to provide a variety of constructors to a class.

Why use it?

One kind of code I find exceedingly boring to write and maintain goes like this: Then you have to write several variants where you leave out some or all of the fields.

How does this amanuensis work?

  1. You fill in the names of your class and the member variables, possibly by cut/paste or my just pasting the entire code of your class onto the Applet.
  2. You fill in the attributes of the fields by clicking selecting listboxes, or fill in the blanks.
  3. You fill in a 0, 1 or 2 lines of Javadoc for each field.
  4. You click the CLASS button, then it generates code like this for you:
  5. Beside each member variable is a checkbox. You can turn it on or off.
  6. You then click the CONSTRUCTOR button and it generates the code for a constructor using those variables as input:
  7. You can then change the checkboxes and punch out the variant constructors like cookie cutters, e. g.
  8. You then click the GET/SET button and it generates the code for all the dummy get set JavaBean property methods for each of the variables. You may throw some of these away later, or polish them up by changing the public scope, or adding safety checks.
  9. The amanuensis might save this template away, so that you could come back to it, modify the comments, variable names, add new variables, etc and crank out everything again, without having to edit each piece of it individually.
  10. When you want to extend a final class, the amanuensis could generate all the little dummy wrapper methods for you to fake it.

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