CSc 050
Assignment 6 - Visual Basic Part I
Due Mon, Oct. 24, 2005


Visual Basic (VB) is an environment in which you can easily build working applications. In this assignment, you will design a kiosk where your music store customers can listen to various music clips from different artists and then make purchases of those artists' songs. To do this, you will first plan out your interface and the way in which the user will interact with your system. You will then create the "front end" for the application by arranging text fields, buttons, and menus so that the user can input his/her choices. Nothing will work yet. You will take care of the "back end" of the application (where you will make things work) in future assignments.

Part 1: Create a Writeup with a Use-Case Scenario (10 pts.)
Before doing anything on the computer, you should map out on paper what you would like your application to look like. Knowing the wide array of widgets (buttons, etc.) that you have available, draw out one or more rough sketches of your interface. (Make the sketches legible: you will be turning in the one you decide to actually use.) You must have the following minimum requirements:

Except for the Command buttons and Listbox mentioned above, you may use whatever widgets you want to get input from the user. You are not required to use the same ones I did on my demo. However, be sure not to use a widget that doesn't make sense. For example, if you intend the user to only pick one option from a choice of options, you shouldn't be using checkboxes which allow more than one to be selected.

Notice that I am not telling you exactly where buttons need to go or how the user should use your form. Part of this assignment is learning how to make design decisions so it's up to you to determine if and when the user will click on things, type stuff in, or select from a menu. That's why you are drawing it on paper first. Usability is a key part of any software. Designing well means designing a system which would be easy to use if you were seeing it for the first time. Keep this in mind throughout the assignment.

Once you have a rough sketch of the interface that you are happy with, write out a few paragraphs detailing how you expect a typical user to actually use your system. Software engineers call this a use-case scenario, and it is helpful for revealing flaws in your design. Basically, it is just a story explaining what a user would do step-by-step when interacting with your application. You should also write down how the user will see output from the system (such as the total amount purchased).

Your final writeup will thus have three elements: the rough sketch of your interface, the use-case scenario, and details about system output. Check out this writeup sample to see what I'm expecting.

Part 2: Create the interface in VB (10 pts.)
Once your interface is fleshed out in your writeup, build it in VB. This should be just a matter of transferring what you have done on paper to the computer. Be certain to give each widget a meaningful name according to its purpose. Don't use the generic names VB gives you. Remember, none of the buttons, etc. will actually work yet. So there will be some information that you won't be able to show on your interface yet. For example, the actual playlist of songs and the artist blurbs in my demo wouldn't appear yet since those don't show up until an artist option button is pressed (that is, those widgets are blank until the button works). Just leave them blank in your own interface too. Your writeup will (should) tell me what they will eventually be used for.

What to turn in

Turn in an electronic copy of your VB project on Blackboard and your writeup on paper. Remember, a VB project is made up of a bunch of files! Keep them all together in a single folder named with your name before zipping the folder. If you are still having trouble using zip on folders, come see me!

Administrative statement

Homeworks are individual projects. I encourage you to talk to others about the general nature of the homework and ideas about how to pursue it. However, the technical work, the writing, and the inspiration behind these must be substantially your own. If any person besides you contributes in any way to the project, you must credit their work on your homework. Similarly, if you include information that you have gleaned from other published sources, you must cite them as references. Looking at, and/or copying, other people's homework or written work is inappropriate and will be considered cheating.
Back to Homework Index