Before You Begin

Pull the code for Lab 3 from GitHub.

Learning Goals for Today

This lab builds on our knowledge of Java from Lab 2 and the Java introduction.

We’ll start by quickly introducing a few new syntax features which will be helpful to round out our understanding of loops and conditionals, followed by a deeper dive into arrays.

We assume no prior experience with any of these topics in Java, but we assume some prior knowledge of these concepts, either from reading the textbook or (preferably) from an earlier course like Python control flow and lists from CS 61A.

This course strives to teach you how to “program”, and this includes not just teaching you how to write code, but how to do a variety of other activities. Today’s lab includes some discussion questions that test your ability to not only write code, but also analyze code (figure out what code does), test code (see if given code is doing what it should do), and evaluate multiple versions of code.

While it is easy to skip over these sections, we highly recommend that you spend due time on all these activities since they are extremely important skills for programmers to learn and later labs and projects will be much harder if you have not mastered these skills.

Find A Partner

As usual, your section leader will encourage you to find a different partner today. After this week, and as part of project 1, you’ll have to choice to work with one partner more consistently. For now, we just want you to meet a few other classmates and learn more about which learning styles work well with you.

Be alert to differences between your approaches to today’s activities and your partner’s. Which ones work best for you? Which ones don’t work as well?

Exercise: Fill-in-the-Blanks

The program in the lab03 skeleton folder is missing two assignment statements. The missing statements can either be at the beginning, the end, or at both the beginning and the end of the loop.

In a bit, you’ll determine what the statements are and where they go. But first, you’ll come up with a small but comprehensive set of tests for the code before writing the code itself. This technique is called test-driven development, and we’ll be doing it more in subsequent labs.

Testing the code involves supplying a value for dayOfYear on the command line. A few new things about the code:

  • The value for dayOfYear is read from args[0], which is a command line argument. Review the previous labs if you don’t remember how to run a program with different command line arguments.
  • The statement import*; makes Java library methods involving input and output accessible inside the program. You don’t have to worry about this.
  • The five lines starting with try { catches an exception that would occur if the command line argument isn’t an integer. We’ll learn about exceptions in a few weeks.

Along with your partner, list out five different test cases (arguments you might give to DataConverter) that should be able to tell you whether or not the program is running correctly.

Once you’ve finished that, complete by putting in two assignment statements as specified above. Once you’re done with that, compile your program and try each one of your test cases.

Did they all work as expected? Can you think of a way that your tests might not have been comprehensive (meaning that all your tests pass but there is still some type of input which will not work the way you want it to)?

Exercise: Program Translation

Either do these with your partner, or compare notes with them after you complete them on your own. Translate the following while loops to for loops. The body of the for loops should contain only the call to println.

int k = 0;
while (k < 10) {
    k = k + 1;
int k = 0;
while (k < 10) {
    k = k + 1;

Java Syntax Shortcuts

Incrementing and Decrementing

Let k be an integer variable. Then the three following statements are equivalent in that they all increment k.

k = k + 1;
k += 1;

Similarly, these three statements all decrement k by 1.

k = k - 1;
k -= 1;

Note: The motivation for this shorthand notation is that the operations of incrementing and decrementing by 1 are very common. While the following example shows that it is legal to increment or decrement variables within larger expressions this is a risky practice very susceptible to off-by-one errors. Therefore, we ask that you only use the ++ or -- operations on lines by themselves. For example,


Don’t do this!

Breaking from a Loop

The break statement “breaks out of” a single loop (both for and while loops). In other words, it stops the execution of the loop body, and continues with the statement immediately following the loop. An example of its use would be a program segment that searches an array named values for a given value, setting the variable found to true if the value is found and to false if the value cannot be found in the array.

boolean found = false;
for (int k = 0; k < values.length; k++) {
    if (values[k] == value) {
        found = true;

This break statement allows us to save computation time. If we find the value within the array before the end, we don’t waste more time looping through the rest of the array.

However, the break statement is not always necessary, and code with a lot of breaks can be confusing. Abusing the break statement is often considered poor style. When using break, first consider if it would be more appropriate to put another condition in the loop’s test conditions instead of introducing a more complicated break statement.

Continuing to the Next Loop

The continue statement skips the current iteration of the loop body, increments the variables in the loop information, then evaluates the loop condition. This example checks how many 0’s there are in array values:

int count = 0;
for (int i = 0; i < values.length; i++) {
    if (values[i] != 0) {
    count += 1;
System.out.println("Number of 0s in values array: " + count);

Similar to the break statement, the continue allows us to save time by skipping sections of the loop. In this case, the continue allows us to add to the count only when there is a 0 in the array. Removing continue will give an incorrect output.

The difference between break and continue is that break immediately stops the loop and moves on to the code directly following it. In comparison, continue stops going through the current iteration of the loop body and immediately continues on to the next iteration as given by the loop information.

Like with break, abusing continue is often considered poor style. Try not to go crazy with nested breaks and continues.

Both break and continue apply to only the closest loop it is enclosed in. For instance, in the case of the following nested loop, the break will only exit out of the inner for loop, not the outer one.

for (int i = 0; i < values.length; i++) {
    for (int j = i + 1; j < values.length; j++) {
        if (values[i] == value[j]) {

Looping through Arrays

for statements work well with arrays. Consider, for example, an array named values. It is very common to see code like the following:

for (int k = 0; k < values.length; k += 1) {
    // do something with values[k]

In fact, this pattern of looping through arrays is so common that the Java developers added the enhanced for loop so programmers wouldn’t need to type as much.

Discussion: Recognizing Purpose

In the real world, often you will have to deal with code you did not write. Sometimes you will be provided documentation, sometimes you will not. Being able to recognize what purpose code serves is an important skill. Provide a good (read: descriptive) name for each of the following methods. Assume that values contains at least one element.

Don’t be worried if your name was slightly different, but make sure that you can figure out what each method is doing before you check. If you misunderstood what the code was for, see if you can make sense of it once you know its name.

As you work through each problem, spend some time reflecting on your problem solving process. How did you go about solving each problem? Did you come up with a few representative examples? Did you trace through the code? How did you and your partner keep track of the different variable? Which variables were easy to identify, and what made them easy to identify?

private static int _______ (int[] values) {
    int rtn = values[0];
    int k = 1;
    while (k < values.length) {
        if (rtn < values[k]) {
            rtn = values[k];
    return rtn;
private static void _______ (int[] values) {
    int k = 0;
    while (k < values.length / 2) {
        int temp = values[k];
        values[k] = values[values.length - 1 - k];
        values[values.length - 1 - k] = temp;
        k = k + 1;
private static boolean _______ (int[] values) {
    int k = 0;
    while (k < values.length - 1) {
        if (values[k] > values[k + 1]) {
            return false;
        k = k + 1;
    return true;
private static int _______ (int[] values, int a) {
    int k = 0;
    int n = 0;
    while (k < values.length) {
        if (values[k] == a) {
    return n;

Exercise: Insert and Delete

Look at the files and

Fill in the blanks in the ArrayOperations class. Your methods should then pass the tests in ArrayOperationsTest.

Compile and run ArrayOperationsTest using the javac and java commands.

java ArrayOperationsTest

When compiling ArrayOperationsTest, Java will also make sure to compile the other classes it depends on, like ArrayOperations.

Note: Before trying to program an algorithm, you should usually try solving a small case by hand. For each of the exercises today, work with a partner to work through each algorithm by hand on a small example before writing any code.

The insert method takes three arguments: an int array, a position in the array, and an int to put into that position. All the subsequent elements in the array are moved over by one position to make room for the new element. The last value in the array is lost.

For example, let values be the array {1, 2, 3, 4, 5}. Calling

insert(values, 2, 7)

would result in values becoming {1, 2, 7, 3, 4}.

The delete method takes two arguments: an int array and a position in the array. The subsequent elements are moved down one position, and the value 0 is assigned to the last array element.

For example, let values be the array {1, 2, 3, 4, 5}. Calling

delete(values, 2)

would result in values becoming {1, 2, 4, 5, 0}.

For now, don’t worry about the methods being called with incorrect input.

For help debugging, try either drawing out a diagram on a few test inputs, or copy and paste your ArrayOperations class into the online Java visualizer and add a main method with the code you’d like to test.

Recursive Data Structures

Read the IntLists section of Chapter 2.1, up until size and iterativeSize.

If you’d like a narration of the next part, watch Josh Hug’s video Introducing IntLists at the beginning of the section.

Linked lists are the first recursive data structure we’ll be learning in this class, and the algorithms we write for linked lists will help us master the skills necessary to work with larger and more complex data structures later in the course. However, linked lists are also interesting and practical in their own right, and we’ll make an argument for when and how they are useful in the next week of the course.

IntList is the very first linked list we will be implementing in this class.

public class IntList {
    public int first;
    public IntList rest;

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        IntList L = new IntList();
        L.first = 5; = null; = new IntList(); = 10;
        // IntList p1 =; = new IntList(); = 15;
        // IntList p2 =;
        // = null;
Introducing IntLists

Step through the example above and make sure you understand what each line is doing. Then, predict what would happen if we uncommented the p1 and p2 lines. Once you’ve made your prediction with your partner, uncomment the lines and see what happens in the Java Visualizer.

Did your prediction match with what actually happened? Make sure both partners understand what each line is doing.

If it’s hard to see what’s going on in the Java Visualizer, enable the following two options from the code editor.

  • Prefer non-nesting and vertical layouts
  • Force linked lists to display vertically

Discussion: Iteration vs. Recursion

Consider the two different implementations of the size method below. The method is first implemented using iteration (with a while loop) and the other method is implemented using recursion.

public class IntList {
    public int first;
    public IntList rest;

    public IntList(int f, IntList r) {
        first = f;
        rest = r;

    /** Return the size of the list using no recursion! */
    public int iterativeSize() {
        IntList p = this;
        int totalSize = 0;
        while (p != null) {
            totalSize += 1;
            p =;
        return totalSize;

    /** Return the size of the list using recursion! */
    public int size() {
        if (rest == null) {
            return 1;
        return 1 +;

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        IntList L = new IntList(5,
                        new IntList(10,
                            new IntList(15, null)));
iterativeSize vs. size

Discuss with your partner how each implementation differs. Make sure to answer the following questions in your discussion.

  • How does the recursive size keep track of the pointer, p, that we initialize in iterativeSize?
  • How does the recursive size keep track of the totalSize which we had to create a variable for in iterativeSize?
  • Why does the base case for size terminate when rest == null, rather than when this == null?

Exercise: get

Implement the get method in the IntList class, which takes an int position, and returns the list element at the given (zero-indexed) position in the list.

For example, if get(1) is called, you should return the second item in the list. If the position is out of range, the behavior is undefined: get can error out, loop around back to the start, or do anything else you’d like it to do. Assume get is always called on the first node in the list.

Exercise: toString and equals

In Lab 2, we saw that the Point class contained an unexplained method called toString.

public class Point {
    public double x;
    public double y;

    public String toString() {
        return "(" + this.x + ", " + this.y + ")";

The toString method is used by Java to determine how to represent an object as a string, like when printing objects to display to the user. In the example below, we create a new point at the origin, . When calling System.out.println, Java needs to figure out what exactly to print, so it invokes the toString method which returns (0.0, 0.0). Then, that string is displayed to the screen.

Point p = new Point();

Likewise, the equals method is used whenever a user calls equals. We might define equality between two points as follows.

public class Point {
    public double x;
    public double y;

    public boolean equals(Object o) {
        Point other = (Point) o;
        return (this.x == other.x) && (this.y == other.y);

Implement the standard Java methods, toString and equals, in the IntList class.

The toString method for IntList returns the String representation of this list, namely:
  1. The String representation of the first element, followed by a space,
  2. The String representation of the second element, followed by a space,
  3. The String representation of the last element.

The list containing the integers 1, 3, and 5 is represented by the string 1 3 5.

How would you convert an integer to a string in Java? Try searching for the answer online!

Given an Object as argument, this method returns true if this list and the argument list are the same length and store equal items in corresponding positions (determined by using the elements’ equals method).

Discussion: StringList

Draw the box-and-pointer diagram that would result from running the following code. Make sure to represent String objects by pointing to them.

What are some of the techniques you and your partner found helpful for solving this problem? How did you keep track of the state of the program and pay attention to your current place in the program as you traced through the code?

public class StringList {
    public String first;
    public StringList rest;

    public StringList(String f, StringList r) {
        first = f;
        rest = r;

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        StringList L = new StringList("eat", null);
        L = new StringList("shouldn't", L);
        L = new StringList("you", L);
        L = new StringList("sometimes", L);
        StringList M =;
        StringList R = new StringList("many", null);
        R = new StringList("potatoes", R); = R; =; =;
        L =;
Draw StringList.main

Now is also a good time to work through the Gradescope assessment for this lab if you have not already done so!


Practice working through box-and-pointer diagrams and come up with a representation that helps you keep track of the state of the program. Make sure you know how to draw box-and-pointer diagrams representing long sequences of operations. We’ll be building more on these skills in the next lab, and relying on them in the rest of the course. Diagramming structures helps us communicate complex ideas.
Using references, we recursively defined the IntList class. IntLists are lists of integers that can change size (unlike arrays), and store an arbitrarily large number of integers. Writing a size helper method can be done with either recursion or iteration.
We’ll be diving deeper into recursion in the next few weeks. If you’d like a bit more review on recursion, we recommend some materials prepared from CS 61A. Knowing how to convert from recursion to iteration, and from iteration to recursion will be very useful as we apply it to solve linked list problems.


Here’s a short recap of what you need to do to finish this lab.

  • Review the basic Java syntax (if, else, while, for, break, continue) as needed.
  • Complete
  • Complete so that it passes
  • Complete the methods in
  • Submit all files to Gradescope and complete the online assessment.