Sunday, March 21, 2010


Every year, around this time, I have the most frustrating work of marking these people's programming assignments. Which is even worse this year, because for the first time ever, the cryptography module has become the most popular third year module. The frustration arises not just from of the amount of work, which is bad enough, but also from other things.

(1) Why do people insist, year after year, assignment after assignment, to write something like this?

File privateKeyFile = new File("C:/Users/ChanTaiMan/Desktop/ChanTaiMan.prv");

Am I supposed to create a directory like this to run your program? Or am I supposed to edit everybody's program for such things before compiling it? And there are always a few people to offer a "user friendly" option of popping up a dialog box to input such things. To them

java ProgramName ChanTaiMan

is as alien as the Martian language. (Not to say options like -a, -b: I suspect they never did an ls -l in their life.)

And that is because they say their IDEs can't do this. All IDEs are evil! Nobody know how to use command line arguments anymore!

I would so much love to give these people just a zero mark! If only I could!

(2) OK, you can't write programs, you can't even understand sample programs given to you, so you copy your classmate's program. But why, why people can't even use "find and replace" properly? Rename one occurrence of the variable and leave the other unchanged?