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Method Finder


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.

The simplest version of this project just requires you to write a very simple Doclet and dump out all the Java methods/class names into a text file. Sort them by class/method and by method/class. See sort in the Java & Internet Glossary.

Level two of the project requires you to take that text file and format it into a suite of HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) files so that you can click the first letter of a class or method name and then be taken to that section of the HTML.

Level three of the project requires you to put the data in an SQL (Standard Query Language) database. Then you can type just a few letters of a method name to find out all the places it is implemented without downloading reams of unwanted junk.

Level four of the project requires you to put the Javadoc HTML about each class and method in the database too and serve it up on request.

Level five of the project requires you to serve up the source code for the method on request.

Level six lets you see Javadoc and browse source for methods that the source code uses just by clicking on a method or class name.

Level seven tracks the inheritance tree. You can also ask questions like, Where is this interface implemented? What classes derive from this one? Where did this class inherit that method from?

Level eight gives you general SQL queries so you can search the documentation for words or phrases.

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