Lab 7 In-Class: More Selection
This lab is designed to give you more practice writing conditional statements
As usual, create a subdirectory for the lab, open up the Web version of
this handout in Mozilla Firefox, and open emacs.
The Switch Statement
The Java switch statement (p. 231 - 234) is
another conditional statement.
Switch provides a compact, efficient syntax that is useful when you
would otherwise have a cascading if statement in which each
condition checks the value of the same expression. For example, the
if and switch statements below do the same thing -- either could be used
as shown in the program:
System.out.println("Enter size box you want");
int boxSize = scan.nextInt();
if (boxSize == 10)
price = 2.5;
else if (boxSize == 20)
price = 3.75;
else if (boxSize == 30)
price = 5.0;
System.out.println ("Not a valid size.");
price = -1;
price = 2.5;
price = 3.75;
price = 5.0;
System.out.println ("Not a valid size.");
price = -1;
if (price > 0)
System.out.println("Price is $" + price);
System.out.println("Sorry, we don't have that size");
A few things to note about switch statements:
You will use a switch statement (as well as a nested if) in the next exercise.
- The expression you are switching on (boxSize in the example above)
must have an integer or character value (an example with char values
is on page 231). It cannot be a boolean,
floating point, or object.
- The expression is evaluated once and then is matched against
each of the cases, starting at the top. When a case matches, all the
rest of the code including later cases is executed. However,
you will only want to execute the code for a single case. To do this, put a
break statement after the code for that case; this will
break control out of the switch statement, sending it to the
next statement in the program.
- If no other case matches, default always matches (like else
in an if statement).
Exercise #1: Rock, Paper, Scissors
Program Rock.java contains a skeleton for the
game Rock, Paper, Scissors. Open it and save it to your lab7 directory.
Add statements to the program as indicated by the comments so that the program
asks the user to enter a play, generates a random play for the computer,
compares them and announces the winner (and why). For example, one run
of your program might look like this:
$ java Rock
Enter your play (R, P, or S): r
Computer play is S
Rock crushes scissors, you win!
Note that the user should be able to enter either upper or lower case
r, p, and s. The user's play is stored as a string to make it easy to
convert whatever is entered to upper case.
Use a switch statement to convert the randomly generated integer for
the computer's play to a string (the statement is started for you).
When your program works, modify it so that if either the user or the
computer does not have a legal play (R,P,S), it prints a message
telling which is wrong (user or computer)
and terminates without playing the game.
(Of course, if the computer's play is illegal that means your statement
that generates the random number is wrong!)
If both plays are ok,
go ahead and print the computer's (legal) play and give the
winner. Think about the condition for this: the user's play
should be R or P or S; if it's not
one of these, there's a problem. You can use similar reasoning
for the computer's play.
So the structure of the last part of your program should now
look like this:
switch statement to translate the computer play to a string
if (the computer's play is illegal)
else if (the person's play is illegal)
print computer play
the nested if ... else ... to determine and print winner
Be sure your program is properly indented. Emacs will do the whole program
if you first select all (CTRL-x followed by h) then indent
the region (ALT-CTRL-\). Print your completed program to turn in.
Exercise #2: Date Validation
Computers use dates all the time. For example, a program that keeps
keeps track of your bank account may need your birth date;
a program that keeps track of books in a library must
deal with due dates; or the college radio station WRKE may need a
program to generate
a random "WRKE Super Prize Birthday" (remember Lab 3?). An object-oriented
program that works with dates would have a class to represent a date
and an important part of the class would be to make sure the date is
a valid one (remember generating dates such as 2/30 as a WRKE birthday?).
In this exercise you will write a class that represents a date. A date
has three attributes - day, month, and year - which need to be represented
by instance variables. The class has two constants to define the
range of years for a valid date (currently a valid year is from 1000 to
2050, inclusive). The methods will include the standard ones we
should include in most classes (a constructor and a toString method),
several needed for making sure the date is valid, and one that will
advance the date to the next day.
A skeleton of the Date class
is in Date.java. We will use a simple
program TestDates.java to test the methods
in the Date class as we write them.
Save these files to your lab7 directory.
Do the following to complete the Date class and the program:
After thoroughly testing print both Date.java and TestDates.java to turn in.
- In the validDate method in the Date class add the following
as indicated by the comments (ignore the comment about valid
day for now) in the program:
- An assignment statement that sets monthValid to true if the
month entered is between 1 and 12, inclusive, and false otherwise.
- An assignment statement that sets yearValid to true if
the year is between START_YEAR and END_YEAR, inclusive.
- Change the return statement (which currently just returns true)
to return true if the month and year are valid (and false otherwise).
Note that your return statement should just return a boolean
expression (avoid using an if).
- In TestDates.java do the following (as indicated by the comments):
- Write a statement that instantiates the someDay object.
- Write an if statement that prints either a "Date is valid" or
"Date is not valid" message. You need to invoke the validDate
method of the Date class.
- Compile the TestDates program.
The sheet "Testing the Date Class" will be used to record the
dates you use for testing the date class. Note that it gives
a set of 5 dates to use to test to see if your program is
checking the month correctly. Pay attention to the choice of
test dates - the main place errors crop up in programs is at the
"boundaries" of data ranges. In this case the correct range for
the month is 1 to 12, inclusive, so 4 of the test cases are
at the boundaries (one date just inside and one just outside).
Run the TestDates program 5 times
entering each of the 5 dates. Indicate whether or not
your program correctly identified the date as valid or not
(you can just put a check mark for correct or an X for incorrect).
Of course, if your program was incorrect for any date fix it! Retest any
incorrect dates and add a check mark if you corrected the mistake
(leave your X - you won't be penalized for it!).
- Now test your program to see if it is correctly identifying valid
years. Fill in the blanks with 5 dates that would be good for
testing the years - three valid dates and two that are not. Write a
brief explanation of your choices in the space provided. Run
your program for those dates and record the results. Fix any
problems you identify.
- Add a method boolean leapYear() to the Date class that
returns true if the year
is a leap year. Here is the leap year rule: A year is
a leap year if a) it's divisible by 400, or b) it's
divisible by 4 and it's not divisible by 100. Your leapYear
method should have a single return statement that returns the boolean
condition describing a leap year (no if!).
- In TestDates.java, add a condtion that tests valid dates to see if they are a leap year.
Print out an appropriate message (is/is not a leap year).
- On the test sheet
write down enough dates to demonstrate all of the conditions needed to verify
your leapYear method.
Also provide an explanation of why you chose those dates.
Compile and run TestDates.java to test your leapYear method for those dates,
recording the results.
(FYI: Some years that are leap years: 1600, 1996, 1776, 2000;
some years that aren't: 1998, 1900, 1494, 2005.)
Fix any problems.
- In the daysInMonth method in the Date class
add an if statement that
determines the number of days in the month
and stores that value in variable numDays. If the month
entered is not valid, numDays should get 0. Note that to figure out
the number of days in February you'll need to check if it's a leap year
(that is, you will need to call the leapYear method).
- In the validDate method add an assignment statement to set
dayValid to true if the day is a valid day in the given month
(the day would need to be between what two values?).
- Modify the return statement in validDate
to return a boolean expression that is true if the date is valid.
- Compile and run TestDates to test your latest changes.
On the test sheet list the dates you use (there are lots of blanks - you
decide how many you should test - explain your choices)
and the results of the testing. Be sure to
test all months to see if the last day in the month is correct.
- Complete the toString method in the Date class
by completing the switch
statement that assigns a name to the month and change the return
statement to return a string for the date in the standard way we
write dates (for example, October 25, 1996).
- Modify the print statements in TestDates to print the Date
object (implicitly using toString) along with the message. For
example, if the date entered is 3, 2, 1993 the message should be
"March 2, 1993 is a valid date." but if 3, 32, 1993 is entered
the message should be "March 32, 1993 is not a valid date."
- Add a method void advance() in the Date class that advances the date
to the next day (so, for example, if the date is currently February 28, 2006
the date is advanced to March 1, 2006).
- Now modify TestDates to test the advance method. In particular,
inside the if statement already there
and after your if that checks for a leap year,
add a statement to advance the date and then
a statement to print the advanced date (appropriately labeled).
- On the testing sheet, list a set of dates that would
thoroughly test the advance method.
There are lots of blanks - use as many as you think
necessary. For each date you choose, write a brief explanation of
why you think that is a good date to test.
Run your program on your test cases and record the results.
Correct any problems.
Exercise #3: Vacation Days - An Introduction to Loops
In the test program above you used the advance method to advance
the date only once. If you wanted to advance the date, one day
at a time, over several days you would need a loop.
A loop is a programming structure that lets you do something repetitively
(repeat a sequence of statements). The number of times the statements
are repeated depends on some condition.
The most basic looping structure in Java is
a while statement. The following is a basic while statement:
int numDays, dayCount;
System.out.println ("Vacation Days!!!");
System.out.print ("How many days is your vacation? ");
numDays = scan.nextInt();
// Initialize the loop count
dayCount = 0;
// Here's the loop... It is controlled by the condition dayCount < numDays
while (dayCount < numDays)
// This is the body of the loop - the statements executed repeatedly
System.out.println ("Having fun on day " + dayCount + "!");
// After the loop
System.out.println ("Out of the loop - vacation over!");
There are three basic parts to a loop:
The file VacationDays.java has basically the
same loop as above with some extra comments and prompts to read in the
date that vacation starts. Do the following.
- The setup, or initialization. This is before the
actual loop and is where variables are initialized in preparation for
- The condition which is a boolean expression that controls
the loop. If it evaluates to true, the body of the loop is executed,
and then the condition is evaluated again; if it evaluates to false,
the loop terminates.
- The body of the loop. This is where the work is done. In
the above example the dayCount variable is incremented and a message is
- Save VacationDays.java to your directory then compile and run it
to see how it works.
- Open VacationDays.java in emacs. Do the following (as indicated
in the comments in the program).
- Declare and instantiate a Date object named vacationDay for
the date read in.
- In the body of the loop modify the print statement to print
the date (as directed in the comment).
- Also in the body of the loop but after the print statement (and
after the comment telling you what to do!) write a statement to
advance vacationDay to the next day.
- After the loop add a print statement to print the message
"Back to work on ..." with the first date after vacation in place of the
- Compile and run the program. Test it thoroughly. Print out VacationDays.java
to hand in.
What to Hand In
- Printouts of Rock.java, Date.java, TestDates.java, and
VacationDays.java plus your "Testing the Date Class" sheet of the
dates you used to test the Date class.
- Tar up your lab7 directory and e-mail it to your instructor at roanoke.edu.
Put cpsc120 lab7 in the subject line.