Ordered Linked List

In this programming exercise you are going to design, implement and test an ordered linked list based on the generic List class introduced in the notes. The purpose of this exercise is to understand in detail the use of inheritance through generic methods that are provided in superclasses and can be used in diverse subclasses, resulting in reusability and extensibility. In this specific case, generic find, insert and remove methods will be added to class OrderedList (demonstrating reusability) and then could be used by specific subclasses, e.g. IntegerList, StringList, etc., by introducing type-specific compare methods (demonstrating extensibility).

 

The class List introduced in the notes supports linked list functionality in terms of inserting and retrieving elements to/from the front and back of the list only. But in some applications,

e.g. time-driven simulation of a real system, elements need to be inserted in the list keeping it ordered, e.g. representing the time when an event will happen. In such a use of an ordered linked list, elements are only retrieved from the front of the list, e.g. as time advances and the first item in the list becomes the “current event”, and are inserted in the right place in the list keeping it ordered. Another example is a list of student records ordered based on name.

 

So the first part of this exercise is to create an abstract class OrderedList class by extending List and adding the following methods:

protected abstract int compare(Object obj1, Object obj2);

public ListNode find (Object newData) { /* to impl */ }

public boolean  insert (Object newData) { /* to impl */ }

public ListNode remove (Object remData) { /* to impl */ }

 

The compare method does not know what types of objects to compare, as such it is abstract making also OrderedList an abstract class. It is also protected as it is only used by this class and derived classes.

The find method should “walk-through” the list, check to see if a ListNode with the same data as newData exists by using compare and, if so, return it. The remove method should also “walk” through the list to find the sought element, but if it exists it should remove and return it. In order to do this we need to keep a reference to the previous element so that we are able to link it with the element after the one to remove.

The insert method should also use compare to insert a new object in the list while keeping it in order. It should check first using find if the element already exists to avoid duplicates. In order to insert an element in-between two others, we need to have a reference to the previous one and check if the element to insert is smaller than the next one, in which case it should be inserted in-between the two. So a special “walk-though” the list is also required.

 

Note that by implementing the OrderedList through inheritance, we have the problem that the List insertAtFront and insertAtBack methods can still be used while they should not! You should redefine them to do nothing and just print a relevant error message.

Having now implemented OrderedList, you should implement a subclass IntegerOrdList which should simply redefine the compare method. The redefined compare method should also be protected and should now assume that the two objects are of type Integer, so the arguments of type Object should be “casted back” to Integer, for example ((Integer) obj1).intValue() returns the actual integer value in argument obj1. A negative result should mean obj1<obj2, zero should mean obj1=obj2 and a positive result should mean obj1>obj2. You should also provide constructors which should initialise the list and its name.

 

Having implemented the IntegerOrdList, you should also implement an IntegerOrdListTest program that should demonstrate that the list works correctly. This should be done by getting numbers from the user and inserting them. It should also support removal of a number the user specifies. You should implement a small menu to guide the user through activities to add a number, remove a number, print the list, etc.

 

The second part of this assignment will use exactly the same generic class infrastructure (List and OrderedList) to implement a student record database in a similar fashion to last year’s C assignment but without saving data to and retrieving them from a file. You should start by introducing a StudentRecord class as follows:

 

public class StudentRecord {

public String surname;

public String  name;

public int studentNo;

public float averageMark;

public String toString () // toString

implement public StudentRecord (<parms>)// constructor

}

 

You should also implement a StudentRecordOrdList which should be a very easy job given that all the work is effectively done by OrderedList and you have already implemented IntegerOrdList which is very similar (only the 1-line compare method will be different). For the compare method, you should concatenate surname and name which together make the student record unique.

Having implemented the StudentRecordOrdList, you should write a small program that allows the user to introduce a student record (surname, name, number), remove a student record (based on surname, name), include the average mark in a student’s record, find and print a student’s record and finally print all students’ records. For the last feature, you may re- implement/overwrite StudentRecordOrdList toString to print a record per line – the List toString prints all elements in a single line. For this you may use the List getFirst method to get a handle and walk through the data. (Note: you should treat the List as a Library class for which you do not have access to its source code, hence you cannot change List toString).

You will realise that doing all this is very easy based on the generic object-oriented infrastructure you created (i.e. List, OrderedList) which enables us to implement lists of any content quickly and efficiently through reusability (we are reusing List and OrderedList) and extensibility (we use inheritance to implement very easily StudentRecordOrdList).

 

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