CISC 327: Assignment 6 FAQ

1. It says in the description to "Begin your weekly run with an empty Valid Services List and an empty Central Services File". Does this mean that every week these files should be emptied, or should they be carried over from the week before?

The Central Services File and Valid Services List carry over from week to week. I was just suggesting that an easy way to test and demonstrate your integrated system is to allow your Front and Back ends to build the files by you interacting with your system. That way, you only have to make empty ones by hand.

2. In reading the description for Assignment 6 and the marking criteria we had a question about the Central Services file listings. We were wondering what is meant by "Central Services file content flow".

It means how your Central Services File contents has changed from day to day, in response to the transactions.

3. For the Daily input, do we use all the inputs from our A1 test cases or do we just select a few of them?

The idea is to create some typical mixed interactions with the Front Ends and input them, possibly by hand. Some of them can be Front End inputs selected from your A1, but you need not use all of them. (In particular, "failure" Front End test cases that check that invalid input leads to no transactions are not very useful for A6—they don't lead to transactions.) Certainly you should have Transaction Summary Files that cover all of the different kinds of transactions.

4. The A6 handout says to perform multiple front end sessions and then concatenate the resulting transaction summary files. My group's current front-end program simply appends the results of each consecutive front-end session to a single output file. Will this satisfy the requirements?

No, because what we're trying to simulate is multiple Front Ends running at the same time (at various retail terminals and planners' terminals). Actually running them on different computers wouldn't add much to the assignment, so we expect that you'll run the Front End several times in a row on one computer, but they do need to be completely separate Front End runs that don't exchange information.

So, while it's fine that your Front End has its current behaviour, you still have to write a daily script to run the Front End separately and then concatenate the TSFs from each run.

5. In the assignment 6 document, it says the daily script needs to run over at least 3 transaction sessions. Does this mean that we can choose how many transaction sessions to run the daily script with (as long as it's 3 or greater), or is the user supposed to specify how many transaction sessions they want to run that day?

You can choose. The "user" in A6 is entirely simulated.

6. The handout says "The Weekly script should run a different set of transaction sessions for each of the five days of operation". But the diagram on page 2 of the handout seems to say "Transaction User Input 1", 2, 3 for each of the 3 daily runs. Are we supposed to have the same input each day, different input each day, or is that something we can choose?

The diagram on page 2 looks that way because I made three copies of the diagram from page 1. ("Don't repeat yourself" is good advice, maybe.) You must have different input for each of the 5 days, though it might be only slightly different from day to day.