Comments to correspondence stage solutions of ICP'98

We spent a few days (and nights) evaluating your solutions. We were very pleasantly surprised by two facts. Overall quality of your solutions was much more higher than in previous years. Second surprise was number of participants in the competition -- two times more than in the last year (in late nights I rather state this as unpleasant surprise ;-).

Now some comments to solutions. This comments may guide you where you lost some points and also may be useful for everybody who wants take part in the future ICP'99 or ICP'00 (sorry ICP'2000 -- be aware of year 2000 compliance in your programs).

The two most important things of every solution we take in account is how much it conforms to requests of task and how user-friendly application is. We also evaluate efficiency of your algorithms and data structures together with documentation.

Thus we can not assign high rate to solutions where spiders must be placed manualy by user or to solutions where drawing simple island was work for half of a hour. Always try to show your programms to third person -- he/she can tell you where is weakness of your programm.

Documentation was the worst part of most solutions. What we mean by documentation? If you want to get full rate from documentation your programm should be clearly structured, controll block should be indented, identifiers should have descriptive names and non-trivial core operations should be commented. Part of a documentation is also description of used algorithms and data structures. Very important is also users' guide to your software.

You should name identifiers and write comments in English as it is official competition language. Some solutions had comments written in Cyrillic, which on our systems looks like a nasty garbage.

Some programms get a low rate because they used nonstandard components, which we did not obtain from you together with solution. If you using nonstandard components in your application (for example some third party OCX control), you shoud accompany your programm with instalation utility which will properly install required components to the system. Also make sure that you do not break any licence by using and distributing such component.

That's all folks. We hope that this short article can help you improve your solutions at finals or in the next-year's competition.

Jirka Kosek

member of jury