Applet: Choo-Choo-CAD
Description: Train track design applet demonstrating CAD tools in Java
Author: Corey Trager

Reviews by: Karl Asha, R.E. Fikki, Jeff Marin, Michael Smith, Jr., Joe Weber, and Rehan Zaidi.

Karl Asha

The Choo-Choo CAD is, without doubt, my favorite applet to date. Embarassed as I am to admit it, I spent a good part of the morning building tracks and running the train through them.

I have few complaints, either in source or execution, aside from the fact that the train should crash when one removes track segments, and perhaps a second train should be added to allow the destructive side of model railroads to be realized.

After perusing the source, I am quite fond of the Track objects and the author's ideas of perhaps doing the same with the locomotives and cars.
R.E. Fikki
Sweet and clean, a simple and very clever Java program that is setup so that you can build and configure the track in the layout that you want. It was a nice and fun game to manipulate. I can now say, that I have worked on a Web based chain gang. All kidding aside, the applet operated correctly. There were a couple of times when it went astray, but I am not sure it was caused by the programming. What we need in this program are additional objects such as pedestrians, trees, busses railroad crossings, etc which could make this game even more fun than it is already. Since this is just a small part of a much larger project, I am hoping that there is more to come. This applet could stand a little more complexity, and it is not often I say that.
Jeff Marin
Excellent UI. These Java apps are getting good! Choo-Choo-CAD is a neat app that's lots of fun. I couldn't figure out how to use the switches, though. The demo button is a nice touch. I don't have anything negative to say!

The applet seems to be quite stable and mouse response was spunky. The ability to change position and rotation with automatic connections make track assembly easy and require no experience!
Michael Smith, Jr.
Awesome! Simplistic, powerful, a great demo of Java and the distibuted applet. I had alot of fun with this applet. I think the really powerful thing was the capacity this applet shows for high-end graphics in Java, even through a browser -- I do not mean high-end look, but high-end technical ability. The code really exploited Java's extensibility and object prowess. The way the tracks interacted with each other and formed a complete line was hot!

Putting the low-end graphics aside, this applet really shows some potential. It is possible to create high-end CAD work through the web with shared objects and drawings. It may sound crazy, but it could happen. This applet was strong. I even had my friends wanting to play with it during my review. This guy knows his programming. This applet shows what can be done with Java.

The drag and drop and line alignment was quite technical. I think the only fault is the fact that the train could run on a track that was pretty crooked, but still cool! We even found we could take apart the track as the train was running with no effect at all. Amtrak would be interested in this guy's train.
Joe Weber
This is an amusing little railroad CAD program. If you had a train set as a little kid and remember it fondly, this is a must-see. You can put the pieces of your train set together in any form you would like. Unfortunately, with this demo, you can't run the train off the track, but it's still an amusing time.
Rehan Zaidi
The disguise of a 'toy applet' hides the true power of Choo-Choo-CAD from the quick passerby. As the information on the page states, Choo-Choo-CAD is a side-track from the main CAD tools designed by the company (Premisys).

The applet is very elegant and neatly done. Tracks can be set up in a layout designed by the user, but the applet is intelligent enough to know how to place and join the tracks. There is no prevention of "impossible" layouts such as sharp turns, however...but it makes it fun to watch the train make 120 degree turns!

As a demonstration, the functionality of Choo-Choo CAD is limited, but the potential is quite obvious. Its source is logical, modular, error-free and commented thoroughly. Choo-Choo-CAD is definitely a great applet chugging along!


URL: http://www.javaworld.com/javaworld/apprev/ar3.choo.html
Last updated: 15 March 1996