University of Manchester
Department of Computer Science


The ultimate excuse.

It wasn't my fault. I ran out of gas. I had a flat tyre. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts. It wasn't my fault, I swear to God!

(Jake Blues, apologising to his fiance, under the point of her machine rifle, for missing their wedding.)

ARCADE is a system developed and used in this Department for managing laboratory work undertaken by large numbers of students. The name stands for Administering and Running Continuous Assessment with Deadlines and Extensions. (So, it is a pretty boring name after all!)

It has been used since 1993, and manages all work taken by all first and second year undergraduates in this department, and for several years has also been widely used at Durham CS.

(2000: Old) News flash! ARCADE gets a GUI!

After seven years of not needing one, ARCADE finally has a GUI. It still doesn't need one of course, but the new interface does help novice users, while still being compatible with the traditional command line for the experts. The GUI is rather sophisticated (5000 lines of Perl/Tk), and at any time allows the user to have many ARCADE databases open, each with many ARCADE commands active. It has all the features one would expect, including persistent layout -- so that when you start it up again it opens the same databases and commands, with the same arguments, in the same positions on your screen, as you had when you last quit.

It has been developed in response to growing interest in the use of ARCADE following the recent THES article about the system's merits.

I have yet to update the rest of these web pages, in light of this.

Meanwhile, here is a sample screen showing two databases open, and various ARCADE command widgets some of which are iconified. This screendump was taken while ARCADE was being run under the AnotherLevelUp desktop configuration, with the Green Machine theme.

(2003: New) News flash! ARCADE gets another GUI!

A more recent development than the GUI noted above is a separate client-server based GUI enabling students to look up their data. This also permits tutors to look at data for their students, and course managers to look up data for their course units.

I have yet to update the rest of these web pages, in light of this too!

Development philosophy, and history of ARCADE

Lest you are interested in ARCADE's development strategy and philosophy, here is a bit of the history of ARCADE.

Overveiw of ARCADE

Or perhaps you would like to have a little overview of the functionality of ARCADE?

More details of ARCADE

If you are quite interested, you may like to have a lot more detail of the functionality of ARCADE. This is a paper that was presented to the 3rd Annual Conference on the Teaching of Computer Science, at Dublin University, September 1995, and revised for the CTI/CPHC-LDG workshop, Huddersfield July 1998. (The original Dublin version can be found here. )

You may prefer a post-script version of the above paper. (Or, for the Dublin version, click here. )

ARCADE availability

Now maybe you are wondering about whether ARCADE is available for you to use.

This section is only interesting if you are using ARCADE

Here is a document giving advice to laboratory supervisors.

Here is a document giving advice to laboratory demonstrators.