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Smart Console


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 happens to me quite often. I am watching the console output whipping by on the screen. I notice a problem. It might be a spelling mistake, an error message, a misaligned message, the wrong amount of vertical whitespace. What I want to do is click on the offending text, and be taken in my IDE (Integrated Development Environment) to the line in the code that produced that text so I can rapidly fix it without a lot of hassle tracking down when the message came from.


You have to trap System.out, and produce a structured log, that records the class, method and line of each character output, compressing cleverly since there will be a lot of duplication. When you click in the unstructured log, it does a lookup to find the corresponding spot in the structured log. From there you hand the class, method and line to the IDE (or make the programmer do it manually). This logging produces quite a torrent of mostly irrelevant material, so you would only want to turn this on when debugging.

Bonus Problem

Consoles have not evolved since the DOS days. Perhaps you could add some of the following features:


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