Re: method calling [writing methods cont.]

From: (Stefan Ram)
20 Mar 2008 20:43:56 GMT
KyoGaSuki <> writes:

I think I have got down the basics of writing a method, but I
need a couple of examples of calling that method.

  (If replying, please do not quote this complete post, only
  single lines you refer to.)

  Let me try to explain how to call static methods with no
  argument and with one arguments. (There also are non-static
  methods, so maybe then someone else can explain how to call
  non-static methods.)

  We will start with

 |A first Java program

  The following program (3 lines) prints a so-called "stack dump".
  The reader is not required to know, what a "stack dump" is,
  it is used here just for the fact that it writes something.

public class Main
{ public static void main( final java.lang.String[] args )
  { java.lang.Thread.dumpStack(); }}

  Install the JDK, add the bin-directory of the JDK
  to the PATH of the shell, write the programm into
  a file ?, open a text command shell,
  compile the program by the following command


  and then run it with

java Main

  The output should look similar to

java.lang.Exception: Stack trace
        at java.lang.Thread.dumpStack(
        at Main.main(

  What is happening here?

  ?public class Main?

      This specifies the name of our program as ?Main?.
      (Actually it is called a ?class?, but in this case it
      can be regarded to constitute the "program".)

      The word after ?class? needs to match the part
      of the filename ? before ?.java?.

  ?public static void main( final java.lang.String[] args )?

      This introduces the section of the actual commands
      and always needs to be written this way (or a very similar way).
      More details about this will be given later.


      This is a so-called "statement". It will be executed
      after a process has been started that is being controlled
      by the above program. When being executed, it will dump the


  Compile and run the program as being described above.


  If the program should not run, the following
  conditions can be checked:

    - The student needs to know some fundamental aspects of
      his computer and operation system before attempting to
      learn Java. For example, how to rename a file, how to
      use a command line shell, how to use the keyboard.
      These topics are not treated here and needs to be learned
      ahead by other means.

    - All commands needs to be typed in exactly as spelt above.

    - The source file must have the name ? needs to
      reside in the current directory of the command shell.
      No directory names should be written at the start of the
      arguments of the commands.

    - The environment variable ?CLASSPATH? should not have been
      set to any value. Otherwise, it needs to be cleared.

    - Under Windows:

      - The current directory should not be on a virtual drive
        created by "subst" or be given by a UNC network path.

      - The output of the command "set" should not contain
        ?CLASSPATH?, the output of the command ?type
        should be the three lines of the program as given above.


  Modify the program somehow and observe the behavior
  of the compiler when it is invoked for the modified program.

 |Expressions give an Action

  Whenever someone wants to request something he has to designate
  what it is that he requests. A program is such a designation.

  The basic building block for designations is the expression.

  A simplified default form for the expression is as follows.


  Such a head-parentheses-expression consists of a head and

  Such an expression can denote an action, which is given by
  its head. An action is just what the normal meaning of ?action? in
  the English language is, i.e., some activity.

  In the program given above there is the following expression.


  Its head is ?java.lang.Thread.dumpStack?.
  It denotes the action "dumping the stack".

  The action indicated by the head will actually happen in
  the moment when the expression is being ?evaluated?.

  This raises the question, how to request the evaluation of
  an expression, which is answered in the next section.

 |The expression-statement

  To request the evaluation of an expression, the
  expression-statement is used, which consists of an
  expression and a semicolon.

  ?java.lang.Thread.dumpStack();? is an
  /expression statement/.
  It request the evaluation of the expression
  ?java.lang.Thread.dumpStack()?. The evaluation of this
  expression will have the effect of the output of a stack
  dump, as being explained in the previous section.

  The general form of an expression statement is a semicolon
  following an expression.


  The execution of the expression-statement will
  evaluate the expression. This will make the effects happening
  that are specified by the head of this expression.

  So, the execution of the statement
  ?java.lang.Thread.dumpStack();? evaluates the expression
  ?java.lang.Thread.dumpStack()?, and this evaluation will
  dump the stack, because this is specified by the head

 |Names qualified by a class name

  The head of the expression ?java.lang.Thread.dumpStack()?
  is given by the qualified name ?java.lang.Thread.dumpStack?,
  ending in the simple name ?dumpStack?.

  In a large program, confusion is possible if simple names
  are used, because one might want to used the same name
  for different meanings. Also, one can not easily comprehend a
  huge list of thousands of names.

  Therefore, simple names are grouped into /classes/. Names
  that belong together are grouped into the same class. Thus,
  they can be found more easily and simple names that are
  part of different classes might be the same.

  ?java.lang.Thread.dumpStack? is a qualified
  name, consisting of the class name ?java.lang.Thread? and
  the simple name ?dumpStack?.

 |Names qualified by a package name

  The class name ?java.lang.Thread? is qualified itself.
  It consists of the unqualified class name ?Thread? and
  the package name ?java.lang?.

  Unqualified /class names/ usually are started with an
  uppercase letter.

  There might be other classes
  with the unqualified name ?Thread? within other packages,
  but ?java.lang.Thread? refers to the class ?Thread? of
  the package ?java.lang?.

  Package names usually are started with a lowercase letter
  and might contain dots ?.?.

 |Documentation of Names

  The meaning of names is being explained in the JavaDoc.

  For example,

  Here is an excerpt from the above page:

        Class Thread
            Prints a stack trace.

  This documentation is to be read as follows:

          This give the package of the class.

      ?Class Thread?
          This gives the class.

          This gives the name ?dumpStack()?.
          (?public static void? will be explained later.)

      ?Prints a stack trace.?
          A description of the effect of an evaluation of
          an expression with this name as its head.

  The qualified name ?java.lang.Thread.dumpStack? and the simple
  name ?dumpStack? both then can be refered to as an ?expression name?.


  The documentation of ?yield? is as follows.

        Class Thread
            Causes the a very short (not noticeable) pause.

  This documentation is a simplified and modified excerpt
  from the following page.

  Answer the following questions by reading the above except:

    - What is the class of the name being described?
    - What is the package of this class?

  Modify the program given above so as to activate an expression
  with the name being described above
  instead of the expression ?java.lang.Thread.dumpStack()?.
  When this is done correctly, no errors should be reported and
  the program should print nothing instead of a stack dump.

  Hints for the assignment:

    - Start with the preceding example program that
      printed a stack trace.

    - Only change the last line of the program.

    - Do not attempt to copy parts of the documentation
      into the program. Instead read the documentation,
      and the modify the program.

  The name being introduced in this exercise not actually
  useful in Java programming, it can be considered obsolete.
  But because it can be called quite simply, it still is used
  here, just for the purpose of an example.

 |White Space

  When a word (usually made up from letters) is followed by
  another word, both words need to be separated. Such a
  separation can be done by a space. Thus, one writes
  ?class Main?, not ?classMain?.

  Instead of a space an arbitrary combination of multiple
  spaces and newlines (line separators) can be used, that
  includes at least one space or newline. Such a combination
  is called "white space".

  White space is not needed, but allowed, on the side of
  special characters. Thus, the following lines are all

      java . lang . Thread . dumpStack ( ) ;

  One even is allowed to write this as follows.


      lang. Thread.dumpStack
                  () ;

  White space must not be inserted within a word, so
  ?Thread? must not be written as ?Thre ad?.


  Insert and remove spaces and newline characters of
  the above program to make it look as strange as possible
  while still compiling and printing a stack dump.


  Wherever white space is allowed, a comments may be
  inserted, that is essentially being ignored (?deleted?)
  by the compiler.

  A comment starts with ?/*? and ends with ?*/?.

public class Main /* This is a comment */
{ public static void main( final java.lang.String[] args )
  { /* Here is another /*
     * comment */ java.lang.Thread.dumpStack(); }}


  Remove all the comments from the above program, then
  confirm that it still compiles and prints a stack dump.


  Add some comments to the result of the last exercise and
  confirm that it still compiles and prints a stack dump.
  Finally, remove all comments, again.

 |Printing lines

  The expression ?java.lang.System.out.println()? has the effect
  to print a line.

  This means an ?empty line?, so it might be hard to spot
  in the output, but might be visible in comparison to a
  previous program using ?yield? (in an exercise).

public class Main
{ public static void main( final java.lang.String[] args )
  { java.lang.System.out.println(); }}

  The name ?println? is not directly contained within
  the class ?java.lang.System? but within a part
  of the class, which is called a ?field?. The name of this
  field is ?out?. Therefore, here the precise location of
  ?println? is given by the prefix ?java.lang.System.out?.

  The simplified documentation of println reads:

        Write a newline character.


  While the coarse meaning of an expression is given by the
  head in front of the parentheses, finer details can be
  specified as arguments within the parentheses.

  To print the text ?Hello!? the following expression can
  be activated.

    java.lang.System.out.println( "Hello" )

  The text needs to be written in between quotation marks
  to mark it as a text.

  A Specification of an expression written within the
  parentheses of the expression is called an ?argument?.

  The simplified documentation of println with an argument reads:

      println( text )
        The evaluation of this expression
        writes the text given as the argument
        and then writes a newline character.

  Thus, the following program prints ?Hello!?.

public class Main
{ public static void main( final java.lang.String[] args )
  { java.lang.System.out.println( "Hello!" ); }}

  This is the end of the explanation how to call static methods
  with no arguments and with one argument. Coincidentally,
  it did not actually use the word ?method?, but still treated
  how to call a method.

  (If replying, please do not quote this complete post, only
  single lines you refer to.)

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