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Swing 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 a tool to help you crank out repetitive Swing code like this: You could crank that code out by filling in a dialog box with just the word ok. The idea is not to generate the final code, but merely to crank out the skeleton of the final code. You then paste it into your program do the final touch up, perhaps deleting much of the code where the default would suffice.

You don’t generate every possible method you might conceivably use, just the common ones.

To use it, you select the component type which brings up a different set of possible configuring options. You might leave them all at the defaults and do your configuring later on the generated code.

When you hit DONE it pastes the generated code for that particular component into the clipboard. You then paste it into your program.

If you want to tackle this project I would be happy to email you some cookie cutter code I use myself, batch-oriented, for generating getter/setters, ActionListeners, Comparators and JMenus.

A fancier version could show an example of the component as currently configured, similar to the Border Applet. You could use font choosers and colour choosers. Perhaps the user could establish defaults that are serialised and remembered between uses.

This is much simpler and faster than a visual IDE (Integrated Development Environment) tool. It generates more maintainable code. It can run anywhere Java can on minimal resources. It would show only one component in isolation.

This project might eventually evolve into a true IDE or a SCID.

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