The Code Quality Guide is a very comprehensive guide to code quality in our course. However, it’s designed to work for the entire quarter which can make it challenging to read in the beginning since there are many concepts covered there that we have yet to discuss.

TAs will be grading your work each week to provide feedback on your code quality so that you can improve in future weeks. Sometimes you will receive a “-0” to indicate something was wrong, but it was not worth a deduction yet. Most things graded as a “-0” will eventually be a deduction in a future week. This page outlines some of the most important parts of the Code Quality guide to consider for each take-home assessment that will become non-zero deductions on that take-home assessment. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but does highlight the most common issues.

We list the assignments in reverse order, as the points that relate to previous assignments will relate to all future assignments.

Forbidden Features

In general, once a class has been discussed, it is available for use by students. For example, the String class and the Arrays class were covered in the CSE142 course, so it is reasonable to assume that you can use methods from those classes without asking permission. Student should realize, however, that saying that you are not forbidden from using a certain construct is not the same thing as saying that it is a good idea to use a certain construct. We don’t give advice to students about which constructs to use. You have to use your best judgement to decide and part of our assessment is assessing your design choices. In addition, there are some constructs that you are not allowed to use, as described in the next paragraph.

Java has grown to be a complex language with many features. We don’t have time to teach all of these features in CSE143. We have a general rule that students should not use “advanced” material that we have not covered in class. In addition, we have identified several Java features that we do not want students to use. It is not bad style to use these features, but we want to have a level playing field for all students. For any one of these features, we prefer that either everyone in the class knows about it and can use it or nobody is allowed to use it. The following features should not be used in CSE143 homework or exam solutions:

  • break, continue, return from a void method
  • try/catch, annotations
  • the var keyword
  • Java 8 features (e.g., lambdas, streams, method references)
  • toArray, clone
  • StringBuilder, StringBuffer, StringJoiner, StringTokenizer, and String methods toCharArray, join, matches, repeat
  • Arrays.asList, Arrays.copyOf, Arrays.copyOfRange, Arrays.sort
  • Collections.copy, Collections.sort
  • package declarations
  • System.console()

Many students find themselves wondering, “What is that feature you are describing?” If you don’t recognize it, then you’re unlikely to use it, so the best answer is, “Something that we have decided not to teach you in this class so that we will be able to focus on the really important concepts you need to learn.”