Mercer | Mettl’s application development environment or Code Project is used to assess the development skills of a test-taker such as writing codes, organizing files, and connecting to databases within an IDE. There exist key components such as an IDE, a project explorer interface in a tree-like structure for easy navigation of files, and database connectivity where a test-taker's programming skills with underlying data storage can be easily evaluated.
Currently, C, CPP, Java, and C# along with MySQL, Oracle SQL, and SQL Server databases are the languages supported by Code Project Simulator.
This article aims to give the test taker a feel of the simulator and resolve any queries they might have with respect to the user interface.
This section gives a guided tour to the test taker on how to use the platform.
It starts automatically as soon as the assessment begins, and test-takers can revisit it anytime by clicking on the How to Attempt button on the left side of the page, above the problem statement.
The problem statement consists of a clear and concise description of the problem the code should solve. It defines the scope of the project and outlines the specific requirements that the code needs to meet for all test cases to pass and for successful submission.
This tab contains some instructions to help the test-taker attempt the Code Project question with ease. It also contains information about the directory structure, code consistency, and a cheat sheet with some helpful tips.
This tab can be accessed by clicking on the button below the Question button on the left side of the page.
The Project Explorer tab allows the test-taker to view and navigate the directory structure of the project. It displays all the files and folders in the project, making it easy for the test-taker to locate and open specific files (Clicking on a particular file will open its contents in the code editor on the right).
The Project Explorer tab can be accessed by clicking on the button below the Setup Instructions button on the left side of the page.
The Project Explorer also allows the test-taker to create, rename, and delete files and folders, and perform other file management tasks.
In the programming section of the simulator, test takers are provided with a designated area where they can write, edit and test their solution to the problem statement. When a particular file is clicked upon in Project Explorer, its contents get opened in the code editor. If the test-taker clicks on multiple files, they all get opened and are displayed as tabs above the code editor, and they can choose which file to display on the code editor by clicking on the tab for that particular file.
The code template may come pre-equipped with a set of methods and variables which are pre-written code snippets that the test taker can utilize to solve the question.
Database Query Editor
The test-taker can also write queries, if required by the question, by clicking on the Database button on the right side of the Code button, above the code editor. This will open the Database Query Editor.
To run the SQL Queries, click on the Run SQL button and to check the Database Connection Information, click on the Connection Info button.
The output of the code written by the test-taker, test cases, and database query execution will be displayed in the console tab, situated below the code/database query editor.
There are various features around the editor that the test-takers can access. Clicking on the Fullscreen button will shift the code editor to the left side of the screen and the console tab to the right side of the screen. This view is highly recommended as it provides the test-taker with a larger space for writing code.
IntelliSense is a feature present in the code project/application development environment that provides suggestions while coding. It helps developers to write code faster and more accurately by providing context-aware suggestions for datatypes, variable names, function names, and other code elements as they type.
Test takers are additionally notified as and when IntelliSense has loaded when the assessment begins.
Some other useful features around the editor are Dark Mode, Editor Mode, Editor Tab, Word Wrap, IntelliSense, Editor Shortcuts, etc. Test-takers can leverage these options and create an environment that lets them code more efficiently.
After a test taker is done writing the code, the next step is to click on the Build button to compile all the code. If there are no errors in the written code, then the message Build Succeeded will be displayed on the console.
If there are any errors, they will be projected in the console tab and when clicked upon will take the test-taker to the exact line on which the error has occurred. Test-takers need to rectify all the errors and make sure that the code compiles successfully to proceed to the next step.
After the successful compilation of the code, the next step is to click on the Run Unit Test button, right next to the Build button above the code editor, to run all the test-cases.
All the test cases hold a grade that will be awarded to the test taker on the passing of that test case. The sum of all the grades awarded from the passing of different test cases is considered the final grade for that question. The test taker has the option to make edits to their code, build and run it as many times as they wish to and finally submit their solution.
Run as Console
This feature can be accessed by selecting the appropriate class and clicking on the Run as Console button on the right side of the Run Unit Test button.
The test-taker can use the Run as Console feature to run a class with a main method as a standalone console application. The test-taker can input command-line arguments and STDIN input before executing the program, and the output will be displayed in the console window.
This provides a convenient way to test and debug the code and ensure that the program is running correctly.