Writing a CodeCheck Problem

Crash Course

Why use CodeCheck and not a fancier system? There are two advantages:

  1. It is very easy to turn a sample program into an assignment. Read on to see how.
  2. You don't need an account. Your students don't need an account. You don't need to ask anyone for permission. You don't need to install anything. Just upload your annotated program, and give the resulting URL to your students.

Suppose you have a sample program for your students, such as the classic “rainfall” problem: Find the average of a sequence of numbers, but ignore negative values (which must have been measurement errors), and stop when you reach the sentinel 9999.

public class Rainfall
{
   public static double averageRainfall(double[] rainfall)
   {
      double sum = 0;
      int i = 0;
      int count = 0;
      while (rainfall[i] != 9999)
      {
         if (rainfall[i] >= 0)
         {
            sum += rainfall[i];
            count++;
         }
         i++;
      }
      if (count == 0)
      {
         return 0;
      }
      else
      {
         return sum / count;
      }
   }

   public static void main(String[] args)
   {
      System.out.println(averageRainfall(new double[] { 1, 2, -3, -4, -5, 6, 9999 }));
      System.out.println(averageRainfall(new double[] { -1, -2, -3, 9999, 100 }));
   }
}

Wouldn't your students learn much more if they wrote the program instead of looking at your solution? Sure they would. With CodeCheck, you can produce a simple assignment quickly.

What do you want to focus on with this exercise? Presumably loops and corner cases, not the syntax of public static void main. If you want your students to fill in the entire method, do this:

public class Rainfall
{
   public static double averageRainfall(double[] rainfall)
   {
      //HIDE
      double sum = 0;
      int i = 0;
      int count = 0;
      while (rainfall[i] != 9999)
      {
         if (rainfall[i] >= 0)
         {
            sum += rainfall[i];
            count++;
         }
         i++;
      }
      if (count == 0)
      {
         return 0;
      }
      else
      {
         return sum / count;
      }
      //EDIT . . .
   }

   public static void main(String[] args)
   {
      System.out.println(averageRainfall(new double[] { 1, 2, -3, -4, -5, 6, 9999 }));
      System.out.println(averageRainfall(new double[] { -1, -2, -3, 9999, 100 }));
   }
}

Visit this link and paste in the file. You will get an URL such as this one: https://codecheck.io/files/20032817325la004mxsdozekzv7jpe6nmsd. Give it to your students. Right now, check out that link so that you see what the students see—in particular, how the //HIDE and //EDIT leave a hole.

Maybe you want your students to focus on the logic, not the statement syntax? Not a bad idea—that way you can give them more problems to work on in their limited time. Then you need to be craftier about the holes that you punch out. Look at this student view and compare it with the markup:

public class Rainfall
{
   public static double averageRainfall(double[] rainfall)
   {
      double sum = 0;
      int i = 0;
      int count = 0;
      //HIDE
      while (rainfall[i] != 9999)
      //EDIT while (. . .)
      {
         //HIDE
         if (rainfall[i] >= 0)
         //EDIT if (. . .)
         {
            //HIDE
            sum += rainfall[i];
            count++;
            //EDIT . . .
         }
         i++;
      }
      //HIDE
      if (count == 0)
      //EDIT if (. . .)
      {
         return 0;
      }
      else
      {
         return sum / count;
      }
   }

   public static void main(String[] args)
   {
      System.out.println(averageRainfall(new double[] { 1, 2, -3, -4, -5, 6, 9999 }));
      System.out.println(averageRainfall(new double[] { -1, -2, -3, 9999, 100 }));
   }
}

The reporting is pretty basic with this approach. You can do better by using CALL pseudocomments for test cases:

public class Rainfall
{
   //CALL new double[] { 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9999 }
   //CALL new double[] { 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9999, 6, 7 }
   //CALL new double[] { 10, 9999 }
   //CALL new double[] { 10, 0, 9999 }
   //CALL new double[] { -1, -2, -3, 9999 }
   //CALL new double[] { 15, 0, -53, 5, 2, 9999 }
   //CALL new double[] { 9999 }
   public static double averageRainfall(double[] rainfall)
   {
      double sum = 0;
      int i = 0;
      int count = 0;
      //HIDE
      while (rainfall[i] != 9999)
      {
         if (rainfall[i] >= 0)
         {
            sum += rainfall[i];
            count++;
         }
         i++;
      }
      return count == 0 ? 0 : sum / count;
      //EDIT . . .
   }
}

Try it out here. Paste in

      return 0;
to see what happens with a wrong solution, or
      while (rainfall[i] != 9999)
      {
         if (rainfall[i] >= 0)
         {
            sum += rainfall[i];
            count++;
         }
         i++;
      }
      return sum / count;
for an almost correct solution.

Finally, perhaps you want your students not to get bogged down with syntax errors? Then make a Parsons puzzle, where the students drag tiles with the code in the right order:

.png

You achieve this by using the pseudocomments //TILE and //FIXED. Then the lines turn into draggable tiles and fixed areas, as shown in the picture. The tiles are scrambled.

public class Rainfall
{
   public static double averageRainfall(double[] rainfall)
   {
//TILE
      double sum = 0;
      int i = 0;
      int count = 0;
      while (rainfall[i] != 9999)
      {
         if (rainfall[i] >= 0)
         {
            sum += rainfall[i];
            count++;
         }
         i++;
      }
      if (count == 0)
      {
         return 0;
      }
      else
      {
         return sum / count;
      }
//FIXED
   }

   public static void main(String[] args)
   {
      System.out.println(averageRainfall(new double[] { 1, 2, -3, -4, -5, 6, 9999 }));
      System.out.println(averageRainfall(new double[] { -1, -2, -3, 9999, 100 }));
   }
}

You can also add distractor tiles and put multiple lines of code on a tile. For details, see the section on Parsons puzzles.

That's the crash course. Try CodeCheck with your own sample programs, and read the following for all the details.

Parsons Puzzles

In a Parsons puzzle (as in this example), students are given code in scrambled order and are asked to rearrange the lines so that the code fulfills a given task. These puzzles are popular for teaching programming. Researchers have found that performance on solving Parsons puzzles correlates well with performance on code-writing exercises, while reducing cognitive load and frustration.

The //TILE pseudocomment activates the puzzle editor for a file. A problem can use the puzzle editor for some and the text editor on others.

The lines either belong to a fixed or a tile region. The file starts out with a fixed region. The //TILE pseudocomment switches to a tile region, and the //FIXED pseudocomment switches back.

Each fixed region is turned into a block that cannot be moved. In a tile region, each line becomes a draggable tile. Tiles are scrambled and must be rearranged. They can be dragged into the gaps between blocks or other tiles.

In this screenshot, you can see the blocks in dark gray on the left and the tiles in light gray. At the outset, all tiles are placed in random order on the right. Here, some of them have been dragged to the left to build up a solution.

.png

When the CodeCheck button is pushed, the code on the left is sent to the autograder, in the same way as with the text editor. Remaining tiles on the right are ignored.

When using CodeCheck for Parsons problems, you do not need to specify in advance which permutations of tiles are acceptable. The code simply needs to pass the test cases.

You can add alternatives with the //OR pseudocomment. For example:

         for (int i = 0; i < n; i++)
         //OR for (int i = 0; i <= n; i++)
         //OR for (int i = 1; i <= n; i++)

The alternatives are grouped with the preceding tile, and the group is scrambled. In this case, the alternatives are distractors—wrong choices that students should not make. Use them to make students think about typical choices—whether to start the loop with 0 or 1, or whether to use < or <=.

Note that the distractor code is located inside a comment so that it does not disturb compilation of the file.

Alternatives in a fixed region become global. They are not grouped with other tiles but placed in random positions.

To obtain a tile with multiple lines, prefix it with //TILE n, where n is the desired number of lines to include. For example:

         //TILE 3
         }
         else
         {
  

Subsequent tiles revert to single lines.

Multi-line distractors are similar:

         //OR 2
         // if (x > 0)
         //    System.out.println("Done");

If you want to introduce gaps between blocks to confound students, create multiple adjacent //FIXED regions.

Be careful about indentation. If you only use spaces, and are consistent about indentation levels, or if you only use tabs, CodeCheck will parse the indentation levels correctly.

Pseudocode Parsons Puzzles

A pseudocode puzzle has tiles that are marked with pseudocode. Students need to rearrange them, just like with regular Parsons puzzles.

A pseudocode tile has a different legend than the code that it emits:

words = ["Mary", "had", "a", "little", "lamb"]##PSEUDO initialize the array words
##TILE
result = ""##PSEUDO result = empty string
for w in words :##PSEUDO for every word w in words
   if len(result) > 0 :##PSEUDO if result is not empty
      result += ", ";##PSEUDO append a comma to result
   result += w;##PSEUDO append w to result
print(result)##PSEUDO print result

The student sees only the pseudocode, displayed in a handwriting font. The checker sees the code before the comment.

.png

This works best with Python since you probably don't want students to bother with braces in pseudocode. If you really don't want to author the problem in Python, you could use

import java.util.*;//PSEUDO imports
public class Test { public static void main(String[] args) {//PSEUDO start of main
//TILE
   var words = List.of("Mary", "had", "a", "little", "lamb");//PSEUDO initialize words   
   String result = "";//PSEUDO result = empty string
   for (String w : words) {//PSEUDO for every word w in words
      if (result.length() > 0) {//PSEUDO if result is not empty
         result += ", ";//PSEUDO append a comma to result
      }//PSEUDO end
      result += w;//PSEUDO append w to result
   }//PSEUDO end
   System.out.println(words);//PSEUDO print words
//FIXED
}}//PSEUDO end of main

Supported Languages

CodeCheck supports

Ask if you want support for another language.

Authoring Overview

CodeCheck is a “convention over configuration” autograder for evaluating student programs. The emphasis is on minimizing the authoring work of an instructor.

The author of a problem provides

To upload a CodeCheck problem, visit this link. You can either paste the files into the form or upload a zip file.

When the problem is uploaded, you can preview it and see a report where CodeCheck compiles and runs the solution. If you spot any errors, you can edit the problem.

Once everything works, give the public URL to your students.

Hang on to the private URL in case you need to edit your problem.

Marking Up the Solution

Write the solution and test it locally. Then hide a part of the solution, by using HIDE and EDIT pseudocomments:

public class Numbers
{
   public static int square(int n)
   {
      //HIDE
      return n * n;
      //EDIT return . . .;
   }
}

The code between //HIDE and //EDIT is hidden. Everything else is read-only. The contents after the //EDIT is placed into an editable text area.

An //EDIT area can span multiple line, and you can have multiple //EDIT areas:

public class Numbers
{
   public static int square(int n)
   {
      //HIDE
      return n * n;
      //EDIT
   }

   public static int cube(int n)
   {
      //HIDE
      return n * n * n;
      //EDIT int result = . . .;
      //EDIT return . . .;
   }
}

If you want to hide the entire solution and have the student only see a blank text area, put //HIDE on top and //EDIT on the bottom.

Non-Editable Files

Any file that doesn't contain //EDIT is displayed to the student but can't be edited. This is for helper files that the student needs to read.

Any student file that starts with //HIDE is completely hidden from the student. Use this for utility or library files that are necessary for compiling/running but that the student should not see

What You Can Test

You can make four kinds of checks:

  1. Run the program
  2. Run unit tests
  3. Test a single method
  4. Substitute variables

Run the program

You supply the inputs. Both the student submission and the solution are compiled and run with the given inputs, and the outputs are compared.

Here is an example in Java. See below for C++ and Python examples.

Numbers.java
//IN 3\n-3\n0\n
import java.util.Scanner;
public class Numbers
{
   public static void main(String[] args)
   {
      //HIDE
      Scanner in = new Scanner(System.in);
      boolean done = false;
      while (!done)
      {
         //EDIT . . .
         System.out.println("Enter a number, 0 to quit");
         //HIDE
         int n = in.nextInt();
         if (n == 0) done = true;
         else
         {
             int square =  n * n;
             //EDIT . . .
             System.out.println("The square is " + square);
             //HIDE
         }
      }
      //EDIT . . .
   }
}

There can be more than one IN pseudocomment. Each of them causes a program run where the contents is fed to standard input (System.in in Java or cin in C++). The contents is a single line with Java escape sequences: \n is a newline, \\ a backslash, and so on. Unicode escapes \uxxxx are supported.

If the inputs are long, don't use the IN pseudocomments, but instead supply input files named test.in, test2.in,test3.in, and so on.

test.in
3
-3
0

Tip: It is a good idea to give the students the statements for prompts and outputs, as in the preceding example.

Unit tests

CodeCheck supports a simple style of doing unit testing that works with any language, and that doesn't require any library. (With Java, JUnit is also supported.)

The tester file name ends in Tester, Tester2, Tester3, and so on. Each tester writes output consisting of pairs of lines, each of the form

Optional label, colon, and space, followed by value
Expected: value

For example:

Cube volume: 27
Expected: 27
Surface area: 9
Expected: 54

CodeCheck checks that the values of each pair match.

Example:

NumbersTester.java
public class NumbersTester
{
   public static void main(String[] args)
   {
      Numbers nums = new Numbers();
      System.out.println(nums.square(3));
      System.out.println("Expected: 9");
      System.out.println(nums.square(-3));
      System.out.println("Expected: 9");
   }
}
Numbers.java
public class Numbers
{
   public int square(int n)
   {
      //HIDE
      return n * n;
      //EDIT ...
   }
}

Normally, the instructor writes the tester. But if you add a Tester file that has an EDIT area, then that means that you expect the student to write it. In that case, you need to decide whether the student needs to supply the exact same tests as in your solution (in which case you need to give the student specific instructions to replicate the output) or whether arbitrary tests are ok (in which case you mark your solution with the SAMPLE pseudocomment).

You can also supply JUnit test cases in the student directory that end in Test, Test1, Test2, and so on. Those are executed with JUnit in the usual way.

Test a single method.

Supply CALL pseudocomments in the lines immediately above the method.

Example:

Numbers.java
public class Numbers
{
//CALL 3, 4
//CALL -3, 3
//CALL 3, 0
   public double average(int x, int y)
   {
      //HIDE
      return 0.5 * (x + y);
      //EDIT // Compute the average of x and y
   }
}

The CALL pseudocomments must be present in exactly one file.

Substitute variables

This is useful very early in a CS1 course when input and methods haven't yet been introduced. The file is rewritten with different settings for the variables.

Example:

Numbers.java
public class Numbers
{
   public static void main(String[] args)
   {
      int x = 3; //SUB 5; 8
      int y = 4; //SUB 6; 4
      //HIDE
      double average = 0.5 * (x + y);
      //EDIT // Compute the average of x and y
      //EDIT // and assign it to a variable average
      System.out.println(average);
   }
}

The student program is run three times, with x set to 3, 5, 8, and y set to 4, 6, 4.

The SUB pseudocomment must be present in exactly one solution file. Values are separated by semicolons so that you can supply expressions with commas.

Command-Line Arguments

When running a program, you can optionally supply command-line arguments with an ARGS pseudocomment. You can supply mutliple ARGS lines. The student program and solution are run for each of them, and their outputs are compared.

Example:

values.txt
3
-3
values2.txt
0
Numbers.java
//ARGS values.txt
//ARGS values2.txt

import java.io.File;
import java.io.FileNotFoundException;
import java.util.Scanner;

public class Numbers
{
   public static void main(String[] args) throws FileNotFoundException
   {
      Scanner in = new Scanner(new File(args[0]));
      //HIDE
      while (in.hasNextInt())
      {
         int n = in.nextInt();
         System.out.println(n * n);
      }
      // EDIT ...
   }
}

File Output

If you expect the student to write output to a file (i.e. not System.out), or to multiple files, provide their names with an OUT pseudocomment. Names are separated by white space.

Then the student and solution programs are run to produce these files, and the results are compared. If an output file is an image, image comparison is automatically used.

Example:

values.txt
3
-4
0
Numbers.java
//OUT evens.txt odd.txt
import java.io.*;
import java.util.*;

public class Numbers
{
   public static void main(String[] args) throws IOException
   {
      Scanner in = new Scanner(new File("values.txt"));
      PrintWriter odds = new PrintWriter("odds.txt");
      PrintWriter evens = new PrintWriter("evens.txt");
      //HIDE
      while (in.hasNextInt())
      {
         int n = in.nextInt();
         if (n % 2 == 0) evens.println(n); else odds.println(n);
      }
      //EDIT ...
   }
}

How Comparisons Work

The comparison rules take care of the biggest annoyances that students face: white space, roundoff, and letter case.

When the actual and expected outputs are compared, corresponding lines are compared.

By default, white space within a line is not significant. For example,

Hello, World!

and

   Hello,  World!

match. If you want to take white space into account. use the pseudocomment IGNORESPACE false.

If corresponding tokens within a line are numbers, they compare identical if they are within the given tolerance (1E-6 by default). For example,

Area: 1.9999999999996

and

Area: 2.0

match, as do

Area: 2

and

Area: 2.0

If you want to use a different tolerance, supply a pseudocomment such as TOLERANCE 0.01.

If tokens are not numbers,  the comparison is case-insensitive by default. For example,

Hello, World!

and

HELLO, WORLD!

match. Use the pseudocomment IGNORECASE false if you want comparison to be case-sensitive.

Checking for Required and Forbidden Strings

Suppose you want to insist that an assignment is done with a for loop. You can test for it with

//REQUIRED for

or, better, something like

//REQUIRED for\s*\([^;]*;[^;]*;.*\)

Conversely, you may want to forbid something, for example disallow calling the contains method. You can test that with

//FORBIDDEN \.contains\s*\(

If these tests fail, the student gets zero points and the program is not compiled.

Interleaved Input and Output

By default, CodeCheck displays interleaved console input and output. Here is a typical dialog:

How old are you? 42
Next year, you'll be 43.

Without interleaving, the output would be

How old arne you? Next year, you'll be 43.

Interleaving is slow because CodeCheck has to guess that an output line is a prompt, by waiting for a short time before sending each input line. This can result in timeouts if a program has more than a few input lines. In particular, if you have a loop:

while (!done)
{
   System.out.print("Enter an integer, 0 to quit: ");
   input = in.nextInt();
   if (input == 0) done = true;
   else process(input);
}

then there is a short delay after each prompt. With many inputs, those delays add up.

Another problem is a program that doesn't prompt at all. CodeCheck can't tell whether the program is slow to ask for the next input, or whether there won't be a prompt. To be safe, it delays between all of its input lines.

In these situations, turn interleaving off with the INTERLEAVE false pseudocomment.

Graphics Programs

If you want to check simple graphics programs in Java that draw graphics on a JComponent, add this JFrame class to your project. Make sure to import javax.swing.* and not javax.swing.JFrame so that the bogus frame class gets used. The painting is simply captured in a file. (The CodeCheck server is “headless”—there are no frames and windows.) As long as you don't use buttons, sliders, menus, timers, and so on, this works fine.

Alternatively, check out the Simple Java Graphics library that I wrote for the Udacity CS046 course.

For Python, use this EZGraphics file that implements Rance Necaise's EZGraphics package, ready for image capture with CodeCheck.

For C++, add the files in this archive. Then you get functions to read an image into a 2D vector of grayscale values, and to save the processed pixels to a file. That way, students can do the usual image manipulation—see this example.

Parametric Problems

If you add a file param.js to your problem, you turn on parametric processing.

The param.js file can contain arbitrary JavaScript code. You can define an array of two strings called delimiters in which you define the left and the right delimiter of expressions that are evaluated and substituted. A good choice might be

var delimiters = ["{{", "}}"]

The default is:

var delimiters = ["⦃", "⦄"]

We initialize a random number generator from a cookie, so that each student gets the same problem when retrying. This random number generator is used in the following functions that are available for you:

Helper Functions for Parametric Problems
Function Explanation
randInt(a, b) A random integer ≥ a and ≤ b
randFloat(a, b) A random floating-point number ≥ a and ≤ b
randCodePoint(a, b) A random Unicode code point ≥ a and ≤ b. The arguments can be integers or strings of length 1. For example, randCodePoint('a', 'z') is a random lowercase letter.
randSelect(a, b, c, ...) Randomly selects one of the arguments.
randWord() Randomly selects a word from a list of about 3000 common English words.
randString(len, a, b) Randomly makes a string of the given length with characters ≥ a and ≤ b.
randIntArray(len, a, b) Fills an array of the given length with random integers ≥ a and ≤ b.
randIntArray2(rows, columns, a, b) Fills a two-dimensional array of the given dimensions with random integers ≥ a and ≤ b.
randFloatArray(len, a, b) Fills an array of the given length with random floating-point numbers ≥ a and ≤ b.
randFloatArray2(rows, columns, a, b) Fills a two-dimensional array of the given dimensions with random floating-point numbers ≥ a and ≤ b.
randWordArray(len) Fills an array of the given length with random English words.

For example, consider this param.js file:

delimiters = ['{{', '}}']
num = randInt(1, 10)
name = ['', 'one', 'two', 'three', 'four', 'five', 'six', 'seven', 'eight', 'nine']

This Numbers.java file produces one of nine problems, to count the number of ones, twos, ..., nines.

public class Numbers
{
   /**
      Count how many {{name[num]}}s are in the given integer n.
    */
   //CALL 12345
   //CALL 6789
   //CALL {{num}}{{num}}0{{num}}
   public static int {{name[num]}}s(int n)
   {
      int result = 0;
      //HIDE
      while (n > 0)
      {
         if ((n % 10) == {{num}})
            result++;
         n /= 10;
      }
      //EDIT . . .
      return result;
   }
}

Notes on Languages

Java

Unfortunately, packages are not currently supported. Use the default package.

Any JAR files that you include are added to the class path when the code is compiled and run. Thanks to Dustin Hoffman for this enhancement.

You can optionally run Checkstyle on the submitted files.

Put a file checkstyle.xml into the student directory, with whatever checkstyle checks you want. Here is one that just checks for javadoc and variable naming conventions.

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<!DOCTYPE module PUBLIC
    "-//Puppy Crawl//DTD Check Configuration 1.3//EN"
    "http://www.puppycrawl.com/dtds/configuration_1_3.dtd">
<module name="Checker">
    <module name="TreeWalker">
        <property name="tabWidth" value="4"/>

        <!-- Checks for Javadoc comments.                    -->
        <!-- See http://checkstyle.sf.net/config_javadoc.html -->
        <module name="JavadocMethod">
           <property name="scope" value="public"/>
           <property name="allowMissingThrowsTags" value="true"/>
        </module>
        <module name="JavadocType"/>

        <!-- Checks for Naming Conventions.                  -->
        <!-- See http://checkstyle.sf.net/config_naming.html -->
        <module name="ConstantName"/>
        <module name="LocalFinalVariableName">
           <property name="format" value="^[A-Z](_?[A-Z0-9]+)*$"/>
        </module>
        <module name="LocalVariableName"/>
        <module name="MemberName"/>
        <module name="MethodName"/>
        <module name="PackageName"/>
        <module name="ParameterName"/>
        <module name="StaticVariableName"/>
        <module name="TypeName"/>
    </module>
</module>

C++

The file extension must be .cpp. For example:

numbersTester.cpp
#include <iostream>

using namespace std;

int square(int n);

main()
{
   cout << square(3) << endl;
   cout << "Expected: 9" << endl;

   cout << square(-3) << endl;
   cout << "Expected: 9" << endl;
}
numbers.cpp
int square(int n)
{
   //HIDE
   return n * n;
   //EDIT ...
}

or

average.cpp
//CALL 3, 4
//CALL -3, 3
//CALL 3, 0
double average(int x, int y)
{
   //HIDE
   return 0.5 * (x + y);
   //EDIT ...
}

When you use CALL, you are limited to functions returning int, double, float, char, bool, string, char*, or vector thereof, such as vector<string> or vector<vector<double>>.

When using CALL, the entire file (after any #include and using statements) is placed into a separate namespace.

Python

Use ## instead of // for pseudocomments. For example:

numbersRunner.py
from numbers import square

def main() :
   for i in range(0, 10) :
      print(square(i))

main()
numbers.py
def square(n) :
    ##HIDE
    return n * n
    ##EDIT return . . .

Note the use of main so that CodeCheck can tell which is the main file.

Caution: Don't use ... to indicate that students should fill in code. That's valid Python—an “ellipsis” object. Instead, use . . . with spaces.

With an “expected” style unit test, name your tester xxxTester.py. No main is required.

numbersTester.py
from numbers import square

print(square(3))
print("Expected: 9");
print(square(-3))
print("Expected: 9");
print(square(0))
print("Expected: 0");
numbers.py
def square(n) :
    ##HIDE
    return n * n
    ##EDIT return . . .

No main is required with CALL either:

avg.py
##CALL 3, 4
##CALL -3, 3
##CALL 3, 0
def average(x, y) :
    ##HIDE
    return (x + y) / 2
    ##EDIT return . . .

Caution: Don't use the same name for the module and the functions in the module when using ##CALL. It results in a malformed tester.

Python unit tests are supported. The unit test filename must end in Test, Test1, Test2, and so on. For example,

numbers.py
def square(n) :
    ##HIDE
    return n * n
    ##EDIT return . . .
NumbersTest.py
import unittest, numbers

class NumbersTest(unittest.TestCase):

    def testNonNegativeSquares(self):
        for n in range(100):
            self.assertEqual(n * n, numbers.square(n))

    def testNegativeSquares(self):
        for n in range(1, 100):
            self.assertEqual(n * n, numbers.square(-n))

JavaScript

CodeCheck uses the Node.js runtime that comes with Ubuntu 18.04 (currently 8.10.0.)

Here is an example for CALL:

average.js
//CALL 3, 4
//CALL 3, 3
//CALL 0, -1
function average(x, y)
{
   //HIDE
   return (x + y) / 2;
   //EDIT ...
}

And an example for SUB:

average.js
function average(x, y)
{
   //HIDE
   return (x + y) / 2;
   //EDIT ...
}
const arg1 = 3 //SUB 3; 0
const arg2 = 4 //SUB 3; -1
console.log(average(arg1, arg2));

If you want to run a program with more than one file, use Node.js modules to include the others. The main file is the one that doesn't contain exports.

You also need to use modules to run “Expected” style testers. (The tester must be in a separate file so that CodeCheck doesn't assume that the student should write the tester.)

average.js
function average(x, y)
{
   //HIDE
   return (x + y) / 2;
   //EDIT ...
}

exports.average = average
averageTester.js
const average = require("./average.js").average;
console.log(average(3, 4));
console.log("Expected: 3.5");
console.log(average(3, 3));
console.log("Expected: 3");
console.log(average(0, -1));
console.log("Expected: -0.5");

Because console input is not very natural with Node.js, I suggest that you stay away from the IN pseudocomment.

C

The file extension is .c. For example:

numbers.c
//IN 3\n-3\n0\n
#include <stdbool.h>
#include <stdio.h>

int main()
{
   //HIDE
   bool done = false;
   while (!done)
   {
   //EDIT . . .
      printf("Enter a number, 0 to quit: ");
      //HIDE
      int n;
      scanf("%d", &n);
      if (n == 0) done = true;
      else
      {
          int square =  n * n;
      //EDIT . . .
          printf("The square is %d\n", square);
      //HIDE
      }
      //EDIT . . .
   }
}

The name of a tester must end in Tester.c, or, if you have several, Tester1.c, Tester2.c, and so on:

numbersTester.c
#include <stdio.h>

extern int square(int);

int main()
{
   printf("%d\n", square(3));
   printf("Expected: 9\n");

   printf("%d\n", square(-3));
   printf("Expected: 9\n");

   return 0;
}
numbers.c
int square(int n)
{
   //HIDE
   return n * n;
   //EDIT ...
}

The CALL pseudocomment is not supported.

Scheme

CodeCheck supports Racket. The file extension must be .rkt. The most useful problem type is CALL. For example:

PosNums.rkt
#lang racket
(provide positive-nums-only)
;;CALL '(1 2 -4 90 -4)
;;CALL '(-4 -3 0)
(define (positive-nums-only lst)
;;HIDE
  (cond [(null? lst) lst]
        [(> (car lst) 0) (cons (car lst) (positive-nums-only (cdr lst)))]
        [else (positive-nums-only (cdr lst))])
;;EDIT ...
)

Racket unit tests (but not RackUnit tests) are also supported:

RevTest1.rkt
#lang racket
(require test-engine/racket-tests)
(require "Rev.rkt")
(check-expect (reverse-list '(1 2 3)) '(3 2 1))
(check-expect (reverse-list '(1)) '(2))
(check-expect (reverse-list '()) '())
(test)

Finally, you can run programs and provide inputs:

Rev.rkt
;;IN (1 2 3 4 5)
;;IN ()
#lang racket

(define (reverse-list lst)
  (foldl
  ;;HIDE
  cons '() lst)
  ;;EDIT ...
  )

(let ((arg (read (current-input-port))))
     (writeln (reverse-list arg)))

The heuristic is that a file that isn't a unit test and that doesn't contain (provide ...) should be run. Also, a file that provides a main function is run.

Scala

The version is 2.11 (which comes with Ubuntu 20.04).

Standard ML

CodeCheck uses PolyML.

The file extension must be .sml. The most useful problem type is CALL. For example:

factorial.sml
(* Complete the function below to compute the factorial of a nonnegative argument. *)
(*HIDE*)
(*CALL 3 *)
(*CALL 0 *)
fun fact 0 = 1
  | fact n = n * fact(n - 1)
(*EDIT fun fact ... *)

Separate multiple arguments with spaces:

(*CALL 3 4 *)
(*CALL 0 2 *)
fun sum a b = a + b

Provide parentheses with tuple arguments:

factorial.sml
(*CALL (3, 4) *)
(*CALL (0, 2) *)
fun sum (a, b) = a + b

Substitutions also work:

factorial.sml
(*HIDE*)
fun fact 0 = 1
  | fact n = n * fact(n - 1)
(*EDIT fun fact ... *)

fun main() =
  let
    val arg = 3; (*SUB 0; 1; 6; 20 *)
    val actual = fact arg
  in
    print (PolyML.makestring (actual))
  end;

But that can be done more elegantly like this:

factorial.sml
(*HIDE*)
fun fact 0 = 1
  | fact n = n * fact(n - 1)
(*EDIT fun fact ... *)

fun main() =
  print (PolyML.makestring (map fact [0, 1, 2, 6, 20]));

You can also use “Expected” style testers. Note that the tester must be a separate file.

factorial.sml
(*HIDE*)
fun fact 0 = 1
  | fact n = n * fact(n - 1)
(*EDIT fun fact ... *)
factorialTester.sml
use "factorial.sml";

fun main() =
  let
    val actual = map fact [0, 1, 2, 6, 20]
  in
    print ((PolyML.makestring (actual)) ^ "\nExpected: [1, 1, 2, 720, 2432902008176640000]\n")
  end;

Haskell

Here is how you use CALL tests:

Max.hs
module Max where
--CALL []
--CALL [1, 2, 3]
--CALL [4]
maxNum :: [Integer] -> Integer
--HIDE
maxNum [] = error "empty list"
maxNum (x:[]) = x
maxNum (x:xs) = if x > largest then x else largest
  where largest = maxNum xs
--EDIT

You can also run arbitrary programs:

Max.hs
maxNum :: [Integer] -> Integer
--HIDE
maxNum [] = error "empty list"
maxNum (x:[]) = x
maxNum (x:xs) = if x > largest then x else largest
  where largest = maxNum xs
--EDIT

main :: IO ()
main = do
  print $ maxNum [1,2,3]
  print $ maxNum [4]
  print $ maxNum []

Summary of File Conventions

test.in, test[1-9].in Standard input to be fed into running programs
*Tester.{java,cpp,py,...}, *Tester[1-9].{java,cpp,py,...} An “Expected” style unit test
*Test.{java,py,...}, *Test[1-9].{java,py,...} A unit test with the unit test framework supported with the given language
index.html The problem description
checkstyle.xml A CheckStyle configuration
*.jar A JAR file with library code
param.js Parameters for substitution in the problem description and source files

Glossary of Pseudocomments

CALL Call method with the supplied arguments
SUB Substitute the given values for a variable
ID The problem ID. This is how the download JAR file will be named. Default: The first file name. For example, if your solution has files Cat.java and Dog.java, the downloaded file will be Cat.jar. If you don't like that, put something like //ID hw2a into one of the solution files, and the download will be named hw2a.jar.
HIDE Don't show the portion between HIDE and the next EDIT. If this is the first line in a file without EDIT, don't show the file at all.
EDIT Marks a block that should be editable in a solution. If present, the rest of the solution is not editable. Can optionally be followed by text that is placed into the editable text area.
SAMPLE Program run is only a sample. Only capture and display student output; don't compare against solution
ARGS The command line arguments to pass
OUT The names of files (space separated) that the program is supposed to produce and that should be checked against the solution
INTERLEAVE True by default, set to false to turn off interleaved input and output. Use this option to avoid timeouts with console I/O.
TIMEOUT The timeout for this codecheck run in milliseconds (default 30000)
MAXOUTPUTLEN The maximum length of the output for this codecheck run (default 100000)
TOLERANCE The tolerance to use when comparing numbers (default 1E-6)
IGNORECASE
IGNORESPACE
True by default, set to false if you want comparisons to be case sensitive or space sensitive
REQUIRED
FORBIDDEN
A regular expression that must be, or cannot be, present in the student's file. If there is a second comment line below it, its contents is displayed if the student's program fails the test.
SCORING True by default, set to false if you don't want to display a score.
TILE
FIXED
OR
PSEUDO
For Parsons puzzles. Turns the file into a set of draggable tiles.