AlgoBuild 0.6 - Minimal manual

Summary


What is AlgoBuild

AlgoBuild is an educational software to project programs.
It's a visual environment that allow to draw flow charts respecting the structured programming rules. The produced program is shown also in pseudo code form.

If the inserted commands respect the given syntax a stp by step running is also possible.
At this stage the software could be call only a prototype but many features will be added soon.

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Added in this version

1 - The name
Since the first available release (0.5) the name of the program changed from "FlowCharts 0.5" to "AlgoBuild 0.6".
This is "de facto" the first official software release.

2 - Multi language
Now tho languages are available: English and Italiano.
The choice is done looking the OS settings.
If the language is setted on Italiano then menu and messages will appear in Italiano. Else, if the system is configured in any other language, all messages wil be in English.

3 - Improved graphic
The graphic presentation of each block is improved using a different text spacing and with auto-size feature.

Here there are two examples from previous version:

and the same with the last one:

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Executable format and System Requirements

The software is deployed as Java jar file.

To use it a Java Runtime Environment (JRE) version 6 must be installed on the machine.
The software is all based on standard Java libraries an should (!) be executable on every platform supporting Java 6.

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Installing the software

Copy the file AlgoBuild06.jar in a folder you like.
The easiest choice is the desired working directory.

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Starting the software

The file is deployed as AlgoBuild06.jar.

There are three cases

  1. Double click
    Is the (rather common) simply case; at system level jar files are bounded to the java runtime. If the simply double click doesn't work you must try case 2.
  2. Starting from console
    Is the case (less common) unlucky-level-1; in the system the jar files aren't tied to JRE.
    To start the program you must open a terminal window (with Windows: Start -> Execute... ), change to the correct folder (in which you copied AlgoBuild06.jar), and command line invoke the command: java -jar AlgoBuild06.jar
    In this case is better to make a link or a batch file (shell script if you are a Unix/Linux user) to simplify the job starting. If this second way also doesn't work, please try case 3.
  3. Starting from console with complete path
    Is the case (even less common) unlucky-level-2; in the system the jar files aren't tied to JRE and java isn't in the execution search path. Perhaps it's due by an incorrect or partial java installation.
    To start the program you must open a terminal window (with Windows: Start -> Execute... ), change to the correct folder (in which you copied AlgoBuild06.jar), and command line invoke the command specifying all the path: C:\Programmi\Java\jre6\bin\java -jar AlgoBuild06.jar
    This example is relative to my installation under windows.
    This one should work for an English speaking Windows installed system: "C:\Program files\Java\jre6\bin\java" -jar AlgoBuild06.jar
    Also in this case is better to make a link or a batch/script file to simplify user's life.

If the program started ok a window like this appears:

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Inserting a new instruction

Between Start an End ellipsis there is a small arrow pointing down.
Moving the mouse over that, transform the arrow into a red square and a "tooltip" message appears.

Clicking the left mouse button make visible a menu from which you can choose some instructions.

Note: every down pointing arrow is an available insertion point for new instructions.

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Modify an instruction

Move the mouse over the instruction to modify, left-click the mouse, anc choose Modify from menu.

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Copy/cut an instruction

Move the mouse over the instruction to modify, left-click the mouse, and choose Copy or Cut from menu.

Effects:

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Paste an instruction from clipboard

Move the mouse cursor over a down arrow. Click the left button and choose Paste from the menu.

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Saving the work

From the main menu choose File -> Save... or File -> Save as...

Instead click the mouse over a floppy signed button on the toolbar.

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Opening from file

From the main menu choose File -> Open...

Instead click the mouse over a open folder button on the toolbar.

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Print or export a diagram image

From the main menu choose File -> Print or File -> Save Image...

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Executing step by step a program

To execute a program step by step click the green arrow button on the toolbar.

Each button click correspond to an instruction execution.
Some instruction (test and cycles) need more clicks because an expression must be evaluated or a variable must be updated (for cycle).

If the "Trace" box is checked every message and variables trace table are reported in output.
If the box is not checked only input and output are displayed.

To stop execution before to reach End click the stop button marked with the red filled square.
Note: a running program isn't modifiable.

NOTE

If, during program execution, errors as invalid expressions are found an error message is reported.

For long flow charts there isn't auto scrolling.

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Sintassi

Programming rules an syntax in short.

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