Homework 1 (LetterInventory) FAQ

Q: Will this solution get full credit? Is this the style you want?
A: These are inappropriate questions. We call this "pre-grading." The TA won't look over your entire program for mistakes or tell you exactly what things you will get marked off for. We'll grade you on the guidelines in the homework document, and we can help you with specific issues but cannot evaluate your entire program.
Q: Are these the correct fields for my class? Do I have too many/few?
A: Fields represent the state of the object and should exist as is necessary to store that state. Temporary variables, elements of data that do not need to be remembered between method calls or uses of the object, should not be fields.
Q: Am I allowed to use X method/class on this assignment?
A: If we have discussed it in lecture or we learned about the class/method in 142 (this includes methods in classes we have learned about), then using that feature is not forbidden. This does not necessarily mean that you should use that class/method, but since we have discussed it previously you should know the appropriate usage of that feature. You should use the things we discuss in lecture, section, the homework spec, the style guide, and general style deductions to answer if using your approach follows good style practices. These resources may also forbid use of certain classes/methods.
If you're unsure what was covered in 142, this a great thing to research yourself from a previous class website and the textbook chapters that were covered in 142 since this is the prerequisite material for this class.
Q: JGrasp/Eclipse keeps giving me X error message, what does it mean?
A: This is a question to be answered at the IPL or by your TA. Generally, while they are cryptic, error messages give some indication as to why the error occurred. An important piece of the error message is the line number where the code broke. Debugging (usually in JGrasp) at or before this line will give you the ability to see the state of your object before the crash.
Q: Why can't Eclipse compile my file? When I push the "Play" button to run it, I get a strange screen about an "Ant" build, or it won't compile or run.
A: Eclipse needs every file you are editing to be part of a project. If you just choose "File" -> "Open File", it will let you look at the file, but not compile or run it. You should create a project and put your files in the project first; then Eclipse will be able to run your program.
Q: My code compiles fine on my computer but when I try to turn it in I get a message saying that it does not compile and a huge list of errors. Why is this happening?
A: You probably left a package statement in your code. Some editors autmatically insert them at the top of the file. If you delete the package statement you will stop getting the errors.