More fun with Java 1.8 -ASCII “Art” 101 using Arrays….

This is the type of assignment I would hand out to first year programming students. After introducing the idea of lists, I implore them to solve the following:
Use a list to build an ASCII pyramid using the character of your choice and make it: a) appear “pyramidal” that is, no leaning, no right-angles at the base and give it some semblance of aesthetic quality b) your logic should generate EVERY level of the pyramid, that is, no coding “special cases” for the top, middle or bottom rows. The logic must hold sound to construct the entire pyramid as a stand-alone algorithm. c) print your src (source code) and the output of your program to prove to peers that it works.

    This task requires careful dissection of the elements involved:

  • variable number of rows
  • each row knows how many spaces to print and how many characters
  • this involves logical analysis for the left spaces, the chars AND the right spaces
  • The algorithm must know when to “endline”/”newline”/
  • Careful analysis and monitoring (QA/QC) of the variables during runtime may be needed

For the seasoned programmer this is fairly basic, but involves core mathematical concepts, an element of basic aesthetic design and a good grip on list variable storage; how they are both computed and sent to an output stream (System.out in this case) This is the rough equivalent of “cout <<” for you C/C++ guys

    For extra credit:

  • Add a user-interface to ask the user how big to build the pyramid. Include exception-handling for pyramid sizes that are not technically “pyramids” (height = 1 is not a pyramid) heights too large will lose their aesthetic, or their pyramidal structure entirely if built too large or too impractical for the user’s display. (I capped mine at 50 rows) – add warnings depending on the user interface).
  • Decorate the pyramid with one or more random characters in addition to your “foundation” block (I used hashtags for my foundation block).
  • Invert the pyramid.
  • Stack the pyramid atop the inverted one to make a diamond shape…make sure it lines up evenly. No bumps or other strangeness in the middle.

Here is a sample solution; note that I carefully tracked line size, space, building-block-count, row-count & the storage of each…this is crucial to accuracy and QC testing during development time.
This is an acceptable output:

a snap of the pyramid program in-process using the Netbeans IDE
seen w/in the Netbeans Integrated Development Environment. “I design them.”


Here is the source code – note brevity in my solution– ~20 lines-ungolfed!:
author: Chris "Tapper" Welke
This program generates an ASCII-art 50 row pyramid using hashtags as a building block.
Solution provided for instructional/informational purposes in the areas of lists,
integers, type-casting, dynamic memory allocation, and open-source programming. If you
are new to Java, this is an excellent trial pgm to get you started.
Dist. under the GNU Public License. Free to distribute: please attribute though, ok?:
Last Stable Build: 5/23/15 at and Self-Similarity Studios courtesy
The Netbeans ( IDE, Java 1.8 and the std. javac compiler
OS: Win 8.1, Chipset by Intel. Laptop by Hewlett-Packard. Website provided by Media Temple
package learn;
import java.util.Arrays;
public class HashTagASCIIPyramid{
protected static int charlinelength = 100;
public static void main(String[] arg){
float[] asciiStorage = new float[HashTagASCIIPyramid.charlinelength];
int totalHashtags = 1; //initialize builing block total
int charCount = 0; //count building blocks for QC testing
int[] cclist = new int[100]; //record the char generation as it happens
int leftspaces = (int)asciiStorage.length/2;
int rightspaces = (int)asciiStorage.length/2;
int height = 1;
for(int i = 0; i < asciiStorage.length/2; i++){
for (int l = 0; l < leftspaces; l++){
System.out.print(" "); charCount++;
for (int t = 0; t < totalHashtags; t++){
System.out.print("#"); charCount++;
for (int r = 0; r < rightspaces; r++){
System.out.print(" "); charCount++;
/*QC Tracking: height++; cclist[i] = charCount;*/
leftspaces--; totalHashtags +=2;rightspaces--;
}//end mn loop
}//end mn
}//end class #asciipyramid

Hints: I used space-fillers for the spaces (” “); – left and right brackets plus lots of variable outputs to see what was going on during run-time, my initial design yielded the following output:
pyramid test1
Heh…so clearly there were multiple logic faults, (and I started with tildas, not hashtags….) but it was easy to track the movement of the left and right brackets that debugged the left and right SPACES and not shown are my debugging outputs that checked the length of each row for consistency(it was going over and under 100 – keeping the length of each row equivalent was key to my particular legitimate solution)— also that my iterators and arrays were misplaced and thus not controlling and the output correctly.

    Keys to victory:

  1. increment blocks by TWO; not one
  2. decrement spaces and increment blocks OUTSIDE the main loop rightSpaces--;leftSpaces--totalHashtags+=2;

Coming soon: Bill’s adventures at Los Alamos, More Netbeans experiments, tutorials and anything interesting that happens when I have my camera on me.

Lots of great ideas in the works…and let us not forget: Summer is Coming …. Go Santa Clara and Concord! Support your local drum corps by playing bingo, going to shows, donating your time, tailgating at shows and screaming your lungs out when corps brings you to it on the Field of Honor. All signs point to a another stellar season for Red and Blue Banners both; and I wouldn’t have it any other way (scratch that….I’d resurrect Bridgemen, Suncoast, Big 27, Star, Kingsmen, The Freelancers and The Velvet Knights) THEN it’d be roll-out time.
Under the circumstances, putting all politics aside; Thank God for Rosemont, Rockford, Madison, Garfield, Bloooooo, SCV/BD, Cru, Spirit and all other remamining “Big Time DCI” corps still in the hunt, still rockin’ it…gettin ready for the only kickoff I really care about: Memorial Day Weekend. A trial by fire where those who make it through will be ready for the best summer of their lives. Hang in there kids, you got this!
Music, Tech, Art, Love and Life; find it all right here at The SoCal Picayune. Your LA/OC home for Drum Corps, Culture, tech-security, experiments and solutions, the occasional off-color joke, scam-hunting, YT highlights and the best (and worst) direct from the minds of this writer, Tapper and Bill Feynman.
Maybe a Memorial Day Anecdote will inspire itself as we begin the approach. hmmmmm…..
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