Lab: Division Sentences


In this lab, we’re going to begin to look at what makes computers do their thing so to speak.

It is rather insightful to look at how Wikipedia summarizes the computer:

A computer is a programmable machine designed to sequentially and automatically carry out a sequence of arithmetic or logical operations. The particular sequence of operations can be changed readily, allowing the computer to solve more than one kind of problem.

In other words, a computer is a calculator–and much more. Furthermore, the definition of a computer goes on to include access to storage and peripherals, such as consoles (graphical displays), printers, and the network. We already got a glimpse of this access when we explored Console.WriteLine in the first lab exercise.

We have discussed all the syntax and concepts needed in recent sections on Arithmetic, Variables and Assignment, Combining Input and Output, and Casting. Also you can make things easier for yourself using Substitutions in Console.WriteLine to format output.

Before writing your final program, you might like to review some of the parts, testing in the Csharp program, so you get immediate feedback for the calculations.


We want to develop a program that can do the following:

  • Prompt the user for input of two integers, which we will call numerator and denominator. For clarity, we are only looking at integers, because this assignment is about rational numbers. A rational number can always be expressed as a quotient of two integers.

  • Calculate the floating point division result (e.g. 10/4 = 2.5).

  • Calculate the quotient and the remainder (e.g. 10/4 = 2 with a remainder of 2 = 2 2/4).

Your final program should work as in this sample run, and use the same labeled format:

Please enter the numerator? 14
Please enter the denominator? 4
Integer division result = 3 with a remainder 2
Floating point division result = 3.5
The result as a mixed fraction is 3 2/4.

For this lab the example format 3 2/4 is sufficient. It would look better as 3 1/2, but a general efficient way to reduce fractions to lowest terms is not covered until the section on the algorithm Greatest Common Divisor.

To do the part requiring a decimal quotient you are going to need to have a double value, though your original data was of type int. You could use the approach in Casting, with an explicit cast. Another approach mentioned in that section was to do the cast implicitly in a double declaration with initialization from an int. If we already had int variables, numerator and denominator, that were previously assigned their values, we could use:

double numeratorDouble = numerator; // implicit cast
double quotientDouble = numeratorDouble/denominator;

Remember: at least one operand in a quotient must be double to get a double result.

To help you get started with your program code, we provided this simple stub in the example file do_the_math_stub/do_the_math.cs. You are encouraged to copy this into your own project as reviewed after the lab in Xamarin Studio Reminders and Fixes.

The body of Main presently contains only comments, skipped by the compiler. We illustrate two forms (being inconsistent for your information only):

  • // to the end of the same line

  • /* to */ through any number of lines.

Save the stub in a project of your own and replace the comments with your code to complete it:

using System;

class DoTheMath {   // Lab stub
   static void Main() {
      /* Prompt the user for the numerator using

         Convert this text into int numerator using

         Do the same for the denominator.

         Calculate quotient and remainder (as integers)
         Use Console.WriteLine() to display the labels
         as illustrated in the sample output in the lab.

         Do the same but using floating point division
         and not doing the remainder calculation.

         Create the sentence with the mixed fraction.
         Be careful of the places there are *not* spaces.

Be sure to run it and test it thoroughly. Show your output to a TA.

Xamarin Studio Reminders and Fixes

Be careful to open your Xamarin Studio solution and add a new C# Console project to it, and add your new file directly into the project (through the Solution pad). There are two main places to mess up here. We emphasize them and mention fixes if you make the easy mistakes:

  1. It is easy to select Empty Project instead of C# and Console Project. If you do that, a correct program will compile successfully, but it will run in limbo, with no console attached to it, and all Console.ReadLine() calls return null, which is likely to make the program have a run-time error. One way to fix it:

    • If you discovered this while running your program, there is no good access to the running process. (You lack a console!) In this case you need to close your solution, ending the running process, and open the solution again.

    • Double click on the project in the Solution Pad (if that does anything, or right-click it and select Options). An elaborate Project Options dialog window appears.

    • In the left pane under Run, select General. In the right pane, two check boxes should appear. Make sure you have the first checked: Run on external console. That should check the second one automatically. Close the window and you should be set.

      Be careful, it is possible to uncomment the second checkbox, which makes your execution console close instantly at the end of your program, so you miss any last thing printed. Recheck if necessary.

  2. Another common error is to proceed like with most text processors, and go to the the top Xamarin Studio menu (not in the the Solution pad) and open a file using the application’s File menu item, and choose to open and edit a new file for your program. This does not put the file in your Xamarin project. Hence you cannot run this program from Xamarin Studio.

    The file you edit must show in the solution pad in Xamarain Studio, as a source file in your project. If you have a separate project set up, but without this file or any other showing in the Solutions pad, an attempt to run the project will say no Main method (in fact no program at all). The fix:

    • You will shortly need to navigate in an operating system open file dialog to where you put the file created from the File menu. If you do not remember where that was, a good trick is to click in the edit window of the file and then go to the File menu and select Save As (not Save). The dialog should show where the file currently is. Cancel the dialog.

    • Right click on the project in the Solution pad where you do wnat the program. Choose Add and then Add Files…. Browse to where the file is, and select it; click Open. Unless you have some reason to keep a copy in the original place, select Move, and Ok. Now the orphaned file is moved into your project. You should see it list under the project in the Solution pad. You can proceed to edit and run it.

    Always use the Solution pad to add files to your project and open them to edit.

  3. If you lose the display of the Solution pad somehow, you can go to the View menu, select Pads, and then select Solution.