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INFSCI 2470 - Interactive System Design

(Fall 2008, CRN 27980)

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Course Tools

Teaching Tools

All course information, homeworks, assignments, etc, will be accessible from the Knowledge Tree Course Portal or Pitt CourseWeb. These two systems will also provide all interfaces for submitting your homework and projects. Below you will find some brief information about these tooks.


The key tool for the course is the Pitt CourseWeb powered by Blackboard 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.

Knowledge Tree Course Portal

We provide a range of online learning resources with this course to support both distance and on-site learning. These resources should be accessed through Knowledge Tree Course Portal. Knowledge Tree uses adaptive navigation support to guide you to the most relevant resources. Due to limitatioin of CourseWeb, we can't integrate Knowledge Tree into CourseWeb, so you will need to access this system separately and will be provided with a separate account.

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 (1.5) from Sun's Web site using the link below. Note that the earlier version 1.4.2 is also sufficient. Please, download J2SE SDK, not the one with NetBeans or J2EE. On the same pages you can download API specifications and Documentation.

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. For IS2470 projects, it is meaningful to use a SWING/GUI-oriented Sun Java One IDE - though it is not the easiest to learn and to use. If you are a beginner in Java, start with BlueJ or jGRASP that are oriented to the beginners.

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.

Copyright © 2007 Peter Brusilovsky