Practical 1 – Aligning Text


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CS5001 Object-Oriented Modelling, Design and
Practical 1 – Aligning Text

Due Friday week 3, weighting 15%
MMS is the definitive source for deadlines and weightings.
Now that you are familiar with your programming environment from having completed the
introductory exercise, you are going to write a small program in your first practical that reads in
a number of paragraphs of text from a file and aligns the text with a line wrapping at a specified
line length.
For this practical, you may develop your code in any IDE or editor of your choice. However, you
must ensure that your source code is in a folder named CS5001-p1-aligntext/src and your
main method is in a file called (see Practical 0 for instructions).
• Accept two arguments from the command line:
– First argument is the name (and path) of the file containing the text
– Second argument is the desired length of the line for wrapping the text
– If either argument is missing or invalid, you should output the following message:
usage: java AlignText file_name line_length
• Left-align text from the file:
– Ensure each line contains the maximum number of words possible within the specified
– Ensure no word is split across lines
– If a single word is longer than line_length then it may go over the limit
– Output the left-aligned text to the standard output
• Use a third command line argument to support one or more of the additional options
detailed below:
– Left-align text from the file
∗ Third command line argument = L
∗ This should be the default if a third argument is not specified
– Right-align text from the file
∗ Third command line argument = R
– Centre-align text from the file
∗ Third command line argument = C
∗ If there are an odd number of spaces, place the extra space at the start of the line
– Put text on an ASCII art signpost
∗ Third command line argument = S
∗ Align text to left and surround it with \ , / , | , and _ symbols as shown in
the examples below
∗ Add a signpost and a hand holding it at the bottom
∗ Every line should be of length line_length if possible
∗ If a word is too long for this, the whole sign should be widened
∗ Should precisely match the examples below, and the automated tests
– If any argument is missing or invalid, you should output the following message:
usage: java AlignText file_name line_length [align_mode]
A grade of up to 16 can be achieved for an excellent implementation of left alignment. Your
grade will be improved with good implementations of any of the R , C and S options. Use of
method decomposition and appropriate object-oriented design are desirable.
You are going to read from a file in this task. Since we have not covered this yet we have provided
you with a class to deal with reading from a file. We have also provided you
with two pieces of example text. The files are available at:
You should save the java file to your src directory, i.e. in the same directory that contains
your file, and you should save the text files to your CS5001-p1-aligntext
In order to read in the file specified as the first command line argument into your Java program
you should use the following line of code:
String[] paragraphs = FileUtil.readFile(args[0]);
Each String in the array called ‘paragraphs’ will then contain a complete paragraph of text from
the file.
When running your program on files in different directories remember to use the absolute
or relative path to the file. For instance, if you are running your program from CS5001-p1-
aligntext/src but your test files are in CS5001-p1-aligntext, you could use the following command,
specifying the relative path to “test_pratchett.txt” (assuming a column length of 80):
java AlignText “../test_pratchett.txt” 80
Note: you must include the quote marks around the file name if there are spaces in the file
The result of right-aligning the provided text with a line length of 80 characters is shown in
Appendix A – Sample Alignment. You can find further examples of output by examining the
tests provided (see Automated Checking below).
As with any programming practical you will probably need to look at the Java API, and in fact I
will not mention this again. The API can be found at
For this practical you may find the documentation of arrays and strings particularly useful in
showing you how to find out the length of an array and of a string, how to extract substrings
from a string, how to find the occurrence of certain characters in a string, split a string, remove
leading and trailing white space, etc.
Automated Checking
You are provided with some basic unit tests to check your code provides the required functionality. The tests can be found at /cs/studres/CS5001/Practicals/p1-aligntext/Tests .
In order to run the automated checker on your program before saving it to an archive, ssh into one
of the School computers running Linux, then change directory to your CS5001-p1-aligntext
directory and execute the following command:
stacscheck /cs/studres/CS5001/Practicals/p1-aligntext/Tests
Similarly to the instructions in Practical 0, if the automated checker doesn’t run, or the build
fails, or all tests fail, you may have mis-typed a command or not have followed the instructions
You should open the provided test files and make sure you understand what the tests are doing
and try to come up with some interesting tests of your own. You can run your own via the
command line, or via the automated checker. You can create new tests in a local sub-directory
in your assignment directory and run stacscheck with your own directory as the argument e.g.
stacscheck ~/CS5001-p1-aligntext/MyTests
When you are ready to submit, make sure that you also run the checker on the archive you are
preparing to submit, by calling, for example:
stacscheck –archive /cs/studres/CS5001/Practicals/p1-aligntext/Tests
You should also look at the documentation for the automated checker at:
Deliverables – Software (and README)
If you have attempted any enhancements beyond those mentioned in the handout, you should
include a short README file in your assignment folder ( CS5001-p1-aligntext ). You should
describe what you have done, including any instructions for compiling, running and using your
program. Hand in a .zip archive of your entire assignment folder, which includes your src
directory, the README file (if applicable), and any local test sub-directories, via MMS.
A very good attempt satisfying the left alignment requirement above can achieve a mark of
14–16. This means you should produce very good, re-usable code demonstrating a very good
decomposition of the problem into sensible methods with sensible parameters. To achieve a
17 or above, your code must in addition make a very good attempt at one or more of the other
alignment types. See the standard mark descriptors in the Student Handbook:
The standard penalty for late submission applies (Scheme B: 1 mark per 8-hour period, or part
Good Academic Practice
The University policy on Good Academic Practice applies:
Appendix A – Sample Alignment
Two sample files are provided on StudRes, containing text from two great works of literature:
Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett, and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious from the musical Mary
Poppins. You can use these files to test your work. Some sample desired outputs are shown
below, and you can see more by looking at the test files
Pratchett, left-aligned with column width 80
Many things went on at the Unseen University and, regrettably teaching had to be
one of them. The faculty had long ago confronted this fact and had perfected
various devices for avoiding it. But this was perfectly all right because to be
fair, so had the students.
The system had worked quite well and, as happens in such cases, had taken on the
status of a tradition. Lectures clearly took place, because they were down there
on the timetable in black and white. The fact that no-one attended was an
irrelevant detail. It was occasionally maintained that this meant that the
lectures did not in fact happen at all, but no-one ever attended them to find
out if this was true. Anyway, it was argued (by the Reader in Woolly Thinking,
which is like Fuzzy Logic, only less so) that lectures had taken place in
essence, so that was all right, too.
And, therefore education at the University mostly worked by the age-old method
of putting a lot of young people in the vicinity of a lot of books and hoping
that something would pass from one to the other, while the actual young people
put themselves in the vicinity of inns and taverns for exactly the same reason.
Poppins, left-aligned with column width 20 (note overflow in long words)
Even though the
sound of it is
something quite
atrocious. If you
say it loud enough
you’ll always sound
Poppins, “signpost”-aligned with column width 50 (note the leading spaces)
/ \
| It’s… supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! |
| Even though the sound of it is something quite |
| atrocious. If you say it loud enough you’ll |
| always sound precocious. |
| Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! |
| |
| |
L_ |
/ _)|
/ /__L
_____/ (____)
_____ (____)
| |
| |

PlaceholderPractical 1 – Aligning Text
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