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Design questions

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I've just started desiging my application for the SCJD assignment. I have following issues/questions, could someone help me please...?
1. Which design pattern(s) should we use ? or do we need to use one?
2. The assignment says 'Code should be easily maintainable, does that mean the GUI should be flexible to accomodate future changes? In that case do need an extra layer on top of Swing ? eg. our own framework?
3. How can u manage to handle remote vs. local DB without duplicating yr code? As assignment says "in case of local DB, NO NETWORK functions should be performed. I'm planning to use RMI.
Thanks in advance for any help.
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1. Using design Patterns - Absolutely. I am using Command,Adaptor, Factory
2. GUI should be flexible to accomodate new changes. I don't think you have to build a full framework though.
3. Local vs Remote is accomplished by using Design Patterns. I am sure that if you copy your code you will fail automatically.
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