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Department of Information Science and Telecommunications


INFSCI 2470 - Interactive System Design

(Spring 2003, CRN 20012)

[ Formal Data | Course Tools | Syllabus & Schedule | Course Books | Course Materials | CourseWeb | Links ]

Course Tools

Teaching Tools


The key tool for the course is the Pitt CourseWeb powered by Blackboard 5 Course Management System, a product of Blackboard, Inc. A set of course materials and tools is available on the CourseWeb course site. You need to have Pitt University Computer Account to login to CourseInfo site. Use Account Managament Page to check the status of your account. We will use CourseWeb for all communication during this course, to take quizzes and to submit solutions for the assignments.

Java Development Tools

To complete the second part of the course you will need to write and debug Java programs. To do that you need either

Using an editor and a compiler

An editor -- compiler/runtime environment pair is the simplest way to work with Java. It is easier to use than any IDE, but this option provides little debugging support. We do not recommend this option unless you have special reason to use it. Here are some free software options for this way.

Sun Java Runtime Environment and SDK

SUN provides free set of development tools (that used to be known as Software Development Kit) for all versions of Java. You can download the most recent version (1.4) from Sun's Web site using the link below. Note that any earlier versions starting with 1.2 will also work for the needs of the course (actually, 1.2 would be best of all).

Program Editor

You can use any text editor that you are familiar with. For bare-bones editig you can even use Notepad and Wordpad that belong to Windows accesoiries would work (if you are using WordPad, make sure that your programs are saved as textfile with suffix .java). If you want a little bit more comfort and functionality, use one of the following free editors that are specially designed for editing programs.

Free IDEs

There are a number of Free Java IDE. From IS2470 prospect, it is meaningful to use a SWING/GUI-oriented Sun Java One IDE - though it is not the easiest to learn and to use.

Other IDEs for Java

There are a number of professional IDEs that you could use to design and debug Java programs.You are welcome to use one of the professional IDE that are installed in various SIS and Pitt Computer Labs: Microsoft J++ (A part of the Visual Studio) or Borland JBuilder. You can get Microsoft J++ IDE as a part of the campus software package. You also can use a professional IDE that is installed on your workplace. A very extensive list of available Java IDE tools can be found at JavaWorld.

Visualization Tools

Visualization tools will let you to look inside the working program. An IDE can also do it for you, but a visualization tool could be better for a beginner.


Jeliot is a great visualization system for beginner-level programs . Jeliot works with Java, but for the language subset that we use for our course, there is a very simple mapping from C to Java.

Copyright © 2003 Peter Brusilovsky