ECS Software Files

Computer Science has been providing a CD of software useful to their students since 1999, changing and improving the CD each year. The CD is targeted at those who wish to work on assignments on a Windows based machine at home, but has a number of programs that might be useful to people using other systems. The CD is especially tailored for first-year students, but it also contains software that will be useful to students enrolled in other courses.

Since 2006, there has been more than enough software to fit on a single CD, and so the CD is provided as a set of CD images for students to create those CDs that they want.

From 2010, the software is no longer provided as CD images, but just as a folder of files which can either be used to create a CD (using K3b) or just copied onto a memory key or other storage device. A pointer to the folder can be found in /local/images on any ECS or MSOR workstation.

Installing Java

The first step in setting up your computer to compile and run Java programs is to install the Oracle Java Development Kit (abbreviated as JDK). You can look at Oracle's documentation about the version currently used in COMP courses (8.0) on the web if you wish. There is also a copy on the CD in the docs/ directory.

To install JDK 8 update 31 (the version currently used in ECS courses), open the CD directory, open the 'Progs' directory, and then run the installation program, 'jdk-8u31-windows-x64.exe'. You should take note of where you choose to install Java - you'll need to know for the next steps.

Next, it's a good idea to copy the Java documentation onto your computer. Simply open the directory you installed Java into, and in another window open the CD directory, and copy the 'docs' directory into it.

Now, the operating system needs to know where to look to find Java - that is, the environment variable PATH has to be set. How you do this depends on what version of Windows you're running. If you're using a more modern flavour of Windows (such as Win7 or WinXP), you'll have to go to Start->Settings->Control Panel->System, click on the 'Advanced' tab, and choose 'Environment Variables'. Then add '\bin' to PATH.

Once this is done, and you've rebooted, you should have successfully installed Java. Congratulations.

Installing and Customising the Java Editor

Now that you've installed Java, you need to install an editor - something that will let you write, compile, run and debug programs. (While it is possible to do these things with a combination of a simple text editor and the command-line, a development environment makes the process a lot less painful.) We have provided the free BlueJ integrated Java environment.

To install BlueJ, open the CD directory, open the 'BlueJ' directory, and run (double-click) the installer, which is called 'bluej-314.msi'. This should put BlueJ in your Start menu.

Once you have installed BlueJ, you need to customise your BlueJ environment for ECS courses. You need to copy some files from the CD into your BlueJ installation area. There should be five files in the BlueJ directory in addition to the BlueJ installer file. (The instructions below assume you installed BlueJ into C:\Program Files\BlueJ. If you put it somewhere else, change the instructions accordingly).

  • ecs100.jar: Move this file into C:\Program Files\BlueJ\lib\userlib\.
  • ecs100.tmpl: Move this file into C:\Program Files\BlueJ\lib\english\templates\newclass\.

Software for secure remote access

If you are working from home it is often very useful to be able to log into the university systems remotely, or transfer files back and forth. Unfortunately, if you use programs such as the telnet and ftp clients that come bundled with Windows, you will be sending your username and password across the network in the clear - this means that others could, in principle, pluck your username and password out of network traffic. There are several simple steps that you can take to avoid this happening.

Terminal access

If you are on a box running Unix of some flavour (a Linux or one of the BSDs, for example), ssh should be installed by default. By using this rather than telnet you ensure that your username/password is never sent in the clear. (If you're not sure how to use it, 'man ssh' should tell you all you need to know.)

On the other hand, if you are on a Windows system, you'll have to choose a third-party product to keep your connections secure. To connect to ECS servers, you should use a program like PuTTY (available in the 'Extras' directory).

Transferring Files

Again, if you are on a Unix-type box, scp should be installed, and you should use this in preference to ftp; 'man scp' will tell you all you need to know to use it properly.

Windows users should use a secure file transfer program like WinSCP (also available in the 'Extras' directory). As noted below, version 2 of WinSCP uses a couple of components from PuTTY. WinSCP has quite a reasonable GUI.

Installing other material from the CD

There are a number of other programs, listed below, in the second ECS 2011 CD folder, which are in the 'Extras' directory; none of them is essential, but many of them may be useful to students of all levels. We've included links to most of the developer's web sites, so you can look for documentation and updates through the year.

Software on the CDs may be subject to individual license agreements. If you use any licensed software it is up to you to ensure that the licences are adhered to (including possible payment of any shareware fees).

Inclusion of a software package on a CD does not imply that ECS guarantees the package will perform satisfactorily. Use at your own risk!
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader 11, for viewing PDF documents; GSView can also view these documents.
  • BlueJ, which is an integrated Java environment specifically designed for introductory teaching.
  • Cygwin, which provides a Unix-like shell interface on Windows machines, as well as a large number of unix tools (such as gcc, the Gnu C++ compiler).
  • Eclipse, which is an open source software development project dedicated to providing a robust, full-featured, commercial-quality, industry platform for the development of highly integrated tools.
  • EditPad, a simple replacement for the Windows notepad that is nicer to use.
  • EditPlus, an Internet-ready 32-bit text editor, HTML editor and programmers editor for Windows. While it can serve as a good replacement for Notepad, it also offers many powerful features for Web page authors and programmers. The download offers a 30-day free trial.
  • Emacs, a very powerful editor, with many different specialised editing modes, and it's own built-in programming language that allows customisation. However, its user interface is different from most Windows programs and so it may be confusing to use at first.
  • Ghostscript and GSview, the open-source postscript and pdf viewers and writers maintained by Artifex software.
  • GIMP for Windows the GNU Image Manipulation Program.
  • Hugs98 is a Haskell implementation for Windows. Haskell is a functional programming language, used in Comp 304.
  • Insight, the GNU gui debugger.
  • Java, the Oracle Java Development Kit.
  • JEDPlus (no longer available), a Java editor.
  • JUnit 4.12 unit testing framework for Java.
  • MiKTeX, a LaTeX program for windows. LaTeX is a document-design tool/language.
  • OpenOffice, a multi-platform office productivity suite compatible with all major file formats.
  • Perl, a useful and powerful language, which excels at text-processing.
  • PostgreSQL, an object oriented SQL based database used in COMP302 and also sometimes in COMP389.
  • Visual Prolog, a logical programming language.
  • PuTTY, a free implementation of Telnet and SSH for Win32 platforms, along with an xterm terminal emulator.
  • Python, an interpreted, interactive, object-oriented programming language.
  • TortoiseSVN Version Control System.
  • VNC - (Virtual Network Computing) - a remote display system which allows you to view a computing 'desktop' environment not only on the machine where it is running, but from anywhere on the Internet.
  • WinSCP, a free implementation of scp for Win32 platforms. This version requires components of PuTTY. If you haven't already installed PuTTY WinSCP can install it's own copies of the required components. If you have already installed PuTTY you can skip the appropriate parts of the WinSCP installation.