CSE 132 (Spring 2010)
Studio 2: Persistence Pays Off

Review studio procedures before starting.

Some guidelines for this week's studio:


  1. Use two computers for this studio, with one open to the studio web page and one for the eclipse workspace.
  2. Load the eclipse workspace using the same directions as you used for studio 1, but use studio2 as the prefix to your studio workspace.
  3. The code from class should appear in the lecture package of the repository.


We will first write a tool that reads a file and dumps (prints out) its contents as it is actually represented in that file. We will use this tool to study how various data types are represented persistently.

  1. Open the Dumpster class.
  2. Notice how the class already imports java.io.*, which contains the classes we need to do input and output (I/O).
  3. The String passed to the constructor is the name of the file that should be dumped.
  4. In the constructor, do the following:
    1. Instantiate a new File object based on the String passed to the constructor.
    2. Use that File object to instantiate a new FileInputStream object.
      At this point, eclipse should complain about some unhandled exceptions. Click on the yellow light bulb to see the possible fixes:
      • You can catch the exception here using try...catch.
      • You can propagate the exception back to the caller by adding the throws .... clause to the constructor's declaration.
      Discuss amongst yourselves the tradeoffs in the above approaches, and settle on what your group wants to do. There is no right answer here, but you must be prepared to defend your choice and explain its consequences.
    3. Use that FileInputStream object to instantiate a new DataInputStream object.
      If you decided on the try...catch approach for the previous statement, then you can extend the scope of the try block to include this statement as well.
  5. Look at the objects you instantiated so far and at the documentation of the java.io package (scroll down to the Class Summary).
    What are the responsibilities of the three objects you instantiated above? Explain how the Decorator pattern is used to build increasingly sophisticated input streams.
  6. Make sure that the DataInputStream object is available via an instance variable in your Dumpster class.
  7. Now write a method void dumpNextByte() that:
    1. reads then next byte of the DataInputStream object using its readByte() method.
      • Receive the result of readByte() as a byte variable.
      • You must again figure out what to do with the exceptions that might get thrown from this action. Remember that the goal is just to dump the file, and that end of input will eventually happen.
    2. Prints out the the byte using System.println.
      For now, you can just print out the byte, but you may eventually want to print out the location of the byte in terms of how many bytes have been printed before this one.
      You may also want to see the byte written in a different format as well as the integer format. For example, writing the byte in hex makes it easier to see the bit pattern, since each 4-bit group corresponds to one hexadecimal character.

      Here is a method that converts an int into a String showing its hex representation. A numerical character means what it says. The character A corresponds to 10, B to 11, and so on.

  8. Next write the boolean isDone() method that returns true iff there is no more useful information in the file.
    You should arrange for an instance variable to keep track of whether the file has useful information remaining. The exceptions thrown by the code in dumpNextByte() could set this instance variable to true.
  9. Now test your Dumpster program by running it (as a Java application). If you look at Dumpster's main method, you see that it will use the test.txt file.
    It is important at this point to understand why you see what you see. The test.txt file contains ASCII characters, encoded as shown in this table.
  10. Based on your analysis, answer the following questions in your feedback file:
    1. What is the numeric value of a lower-case a?
    2. What is the numeric value of the character(s) that separate lines?
    3. What is the numeric value of the character(s) in front of the word fun? What does that value mean?
  11. Modify test.txt using the eclipse editor and rerun the Dumpster to experiment with various other texts.
  12. Modify the main of your Dumpster program so that it uses test.bin instead of test.txt.
  13. Run your program again and discuss what you see?
    The test.bin file contains a consecutive stream of bytes with values from 0 to 100.

    Don't try to modify the test.bin file: it has binary data in it that cannot easily be edited in eclipse.


We next experiment by writing out some primitive data types to persistent storage, and then using your Dumpster program to examine the results.

  1. Open the Experiment class, and take a look.
    Figure out what the class does, getting help if needed.
  2. Run the Experiment class as a Java application.
    This will write the file exper.bin, which was included in your repository.
    It will also run your Dumpster on the file to show you the output, which is what the persistent file really contains.
    You should see the single byte with value 32.

Now have some fun to answer the following questions.

  1. Modify run() so it writes the byte 132 instead of 32. What does your Dumpster show and why?
    Review the two's complement representation if needed.
  2. Try writing 132 using writeInt. What do you see and why?
  3. Try writing the boolean values true and false. What do you see?
  4. As time permits, try writing other types and seeing how they look.

Weasley Clock

If you have time, look at the weasley package and discuss the implications of the design we did in class. Talk through how you might implement the model and/or view.

Finishing up

Futher investigation on your own

Consider how Java I/O libraries use the decorator pattern.

Submitting your work (read carefully)

Last modified 08:59:25 CDT 03 June 2010 by Ron K. Cytron