CS 314 Specification 3 - Using Multiple Classes - Baby Names

Programming Assignment 3: Individual Assignment. You must complete this assignment on your own. You may not acquire from any source (e.g.  another student or an internet site) a partial or complete solution to a problem or project that has been assigned. You may not show another student your solution to this assignment. You may not have another person (current student, former student, tutor, friend, anyone) “walk you through” how to solve this assignment. You may get help from the instructional staff. You may discuss general ideas and approaches with other students but you may not develop code together. Review the class policy on collaboration from the syllabus.

The purposes of this assignment are

  1. to practice using Java ArrayLists
  2. to implement a program that uses multiple classes. (object based programming, encapsulation)
  3. to practice processing input
  4. to practice implementing individual classes based on a given specification

CAUTION: Take care to ensure your IDE does not add any extraneous imports for other Java classes called Name or Names. In the past students submitted code with bad imports and lost all correctness points due to compile errors.


  File Responsibility
Source Code NameSurfer.java Provided by me and you
Source Code NameRecord.java Provided by you.
Source Code Names.java Provided by me and you.
data files

names.txt (The primary data file.) names2.txt (Another data file with a different starting decade and a different number of ranks per name.)

Provided by me.
sample run log nameSurferLog.txt Your output shall match this example. Provided by me.
Submission a3.zip with NameSurfer.java, NameRecord.java, and Names.java Provided by you

Description: This assignment is based on an assignment created by Nick Parlante and Stuart Reges' version of that assignment..

For this assignment you may not share your tests, but you can share your results when using different data files such as names2.txt.

Complete a program that allows a user to query a data base of the 1000 most popular baby names in the United States per decade for a given number of decades under the constraints of the General Assignment Requirements and as described below.

As always, you may add helper methods and should do so to provide structure to the program and reduce redundancy.

One additional constraint: You must use the ArrayList class in your solution as discussed below. You are encouraged to use methods from the ArrayList class and String class to make life easier when possible. The ArrayList class has some helpful methods and one of the goals of this assignment is to learn those methods.

Your program processes a file with data obtained from the Social Security Administration.  SSA has a web site showing the distribution of names chosen for children over the last 100 years in the US (www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/).

Nick Parlante got the idea for this assignment from an article by Peggy Orenstein of the New York Times, Where have all the Lisas Gone?

Recently there was an article on predicting a someone's age based on their  name.

The data file your are given represents the 1000 most popular male and female names for kids born in the US going back to 1900.

The first two lines of the file are the base decade and the number of decades. The base decade indicates the decade for the first rank. The second line is an integer than indicates the  number of decades each name is ranked. This value shall be greater than or equal to 2. The given file starts


The rest of the data file are names and there ranks. There is no indication in the data I give you whether a name is a female or male name. On each line there is  a name, followed by the rank of that name in the decades 1900, 1910, 1920, ..., 2000 (11 numbers), for the example file. Your program must handle different starting decades and number of ranks correctly.

If a line does not have the correct number of ranks based on the the integer at the top of the file, your program shall ignore that line. (In other words do not make a NameRecord from a line in the data file if the line does not contain the correct number of ranks.)

A rank of 1 indicates the name was the most popular name that year, while a rank of 997 was not very popular. A 0 in the data file means the name did not appear in the top 1000 that decade.  The lines in the file are in alphabetical order based on names.

Sam 58 69 99 131 168 236 278 380 467 408 466
Samantha 0 0 0 0 0 0 272 107 26 5 7
Samara 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 886

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 920 0 798
Sammie 537 545 351 325 333 396 565 772 930 0 0
Sammy 0 887 544 299 202 262 321 395 575 639 755
Samson 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 915
Samuel 31 41 46 60 61 71 83 61 52 35 28
Sandi 0 0 0 0 704 864 621 695 0 0 0
Sandra 0 942 606 50 6 12 11 39 94 168 257

Note,  a 0 in the data file means the name was NOT RANKED  in the top 1000 during the corresponding decade. It has some unknown rank greater than 1000. When you store a 0 from the data file in your NameRecord objects you may use something other than 0 if you think it will make your algorithms easier to implement. (Recall altering the way data is stored to fit our needs is part of the magic of encapsulation.)

Also note the data does not indicate if a name was a girl's name or a boy's name. If a name appeared on the list of boys and girls names for a given decade the rank closets to 1 was used.

We see that “Sam” was #58 in 1900 and is slowly moving down. “Samantha” popped on the scene in 1960 and is moving up strong to #7. “Samir” barely appears in 1980, but by 2000 is up to #798. The database is for children born in the US, so ethnic trends show up when immigrants have kids.

You are given one one partial class, NameSurfer.java. This is the main driver class. When this class's main method is called it opens a window to pick the file with the names in it. The file is called names.txt. After creating the database of names encapsulated in a class called Names.java the program displays a menu and allows the user to make various queries of the database. The provided version of NameSurfer.java shows five of the options. You shall add three more.

Important. Do not hard code or assume every file will start with 1900 and / or have 11 ranks per name. Your program must read those values from the file and work correctly. I recommend you create your own results with names2.txt and post the results to Piazza to compare with your classmates.

Suggested steps for implementing the program.

0. These suggested steps describe implementing the requirements. You may add more helper methods  if you want. You may store data in a different form than the input file. For example, the files uses a 0 to indicate the name had a rank greater than 1000 for a given decade. You can store a value other than 0 if you want. (The value for "not ranked in a given decade" is on the other side of the wall of abstraction.)

1. Implement and test a class called NameRecord. Each NameRecord object stores the data for an individual name, including the name itself (a String), the base decade (decade of the first rank), and the rank of the name for each decade. The ranks for each decade must be stored in an ArrayList of Integers. (this is to give you practice using ArrayList.) The class must have the following properties:

After completing all these methods you shall thoroughly test the NameRecord class using individual lines from the names.txt file or with your own data. Include your testing code in a method in your NameSurfer class even though it will not be called when the program is run. Part of the assignment grade will be based on the tests you write for the NameRecord class. For this assignment you may not share tests.

2. Implement and test the Names class. This class stores all of the NameRecord objects in an ArrayList. (private ArrayList<NameRecord> names) This class must have the following methods. All methods that return an ArrayList of NameRecords or an  ArrayList of  Strings must be in sorted ascending order based on the names. Do not change the method headers provided in the Names.java file.

3. Complete the methods in the NameSurfer class and add methods for the missing  menu options.

The menu choices must be:

1 to search for names.
2 to display data for one name.
3 to display all names that appear in only one decade.
4 to display all names that appear in all decades.
5 to display all names that are more popular in every decade.
6 to display all names that are less popular in every decade.
7 to perform the method of your own design from your Names class
8 to quit

For expected program behavior review the sample run log. Your output should match that of the sample run log for the various operations, except that you will not trim the output for operations that results in a large number of names and your output shall include the description of the search you developed.

4. Neat searches. This is an interesting application because when your program is finished you can investigate various trends in naming children. In a comment at the top of the file discuss one interesting trend you found and back it up with data / results. Here are some examples. (You may not use these as your interesting trend. Do not share your interesting trend on the discussion group.)

Submission: Fill in the header for NameSurfer.java and copy it into NameRecord.java and Names.java. Replace <NAME> with your name. Note, you are stating, on your honor, that you did the assignment on your own.

Create a zip file name a3.zip with your NameSurfer.java, Names.java, and NameRecord.java  files. The zip file must not contain any directory structure, just the three  required files.

See this page for instructions on how to create a zip via Eclipse.

Turn in a3.zip via your Canvas account to programming assignment 3.

Checklist: Did you remember to:

  1. review and follow the general assignment requirements?
  2. ensure you classes are part of the default package? (in other words, no package statments in your source code)
  3. ensure you do not have any extraneous imports for Name or Names classes?
  4. work on the assignment individually? This includes making your own tests (this assignment only)
  5. fill in the header in NameSurfer.java and Names.java and copy it to your NameRecord.java file?
  6. complete the NameRecord class?
  7. include your tests of the NameRecord class in the NameSurfer class? Do not share your tests on this assignment.
  8. complete the Names class with the required methods?
  9. complete the NameSurfer class?
  10. add your own menu option for an interesting search and document it at the top the NameSurfer class?
  11. use an ArrayList of Integers to store the ranks in the NameRecord class and an ArrayList of NameRecords in the Names class to store all the NameRecords?
  12. comment on an interesting trend or pattern you found using your completed program at the top the NameSurfer class?
  13. turn in your files (NameSurfer.java, Names.java, and NameRecord.java) in a zip named a3.zip with no internal directory structure?
  14. turn in your zip named a3.zip to Programming Assignment 3 via Canvas no later than 11 pm on Thursday, September 22?