Monday, June 12, 2017

Setting up Environment for Coursera's Algorithm Class

Yes, I am taking the very basic algorithm class from Coursera. In fact, this class is very good. It is actually a course from Princeton, and I really like the course, except that they use Java, which I am not as familiar with compared to C/C++.

On top of that, the author provides custom jar library which I must use for compiling and running Java projects. Although the instructions are written very clearly on the official website, I still want to go over this bit, because I spent quite some time figuring this out.

In order to compile Java with a custom library, one must specify the library's path with -classpath flag as below:
$ javac -classpath /path/to/custom/library.jar -g

Also, it is handy to include -g flag so that one can debug it later. If you are compiling a program that uses algs4.jar library file provided by the author, you must download the file and specify it with -classpath flag.

In order to run the program, you need to do the same thing, but with the path to source files as well:
$ java -classpath /path/to/custom/library.jar:/directory/to/source/files SomeClass 

Finally, to debug, you need to do the same thing:
$ jdb -classpath /path/to/custom/library.jar:/directory/to/source/files SomeClass

Let's do an example. Let's assume that you have downloaded algs4.jar file to ~/Downloads folder. Say you have created file in ~/Documents folder.

You will need to run the following commands to compile, run, and debug, respectively:
$ javac -classpath ~/Downloads/algs4.jar ~/Documents/ -g
$ java -classpath ~/Downloads/algs4.jar:~/Documents Queue
$ jdb -classpath ~/Downloads/algs4.jar:~/Documents Queue

Happy coding algorithms!

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