, even though it is NOT my Data.updateRecord() method that is directly doing the checking of the owner field, is there some particular verbage in my assignment (instructions.html) that supports this need for flexibility across multiple data formats that I have missed? I've been over these instructions several times and I just don't see this need expressed anywhere. Based on everything I see, it seems that I am free to assume that my Data class (and the object/methods that are indirectly called) ONLY needs to work with the form of the data in the file that was given me when I downloaded the project.
But the moment you configure Data's update() method such that it checks whether the owner field is blank or not, you are restricting the Data class to only being able to process one form of data: the particular data file you are using in your assignment.
No, there isn't. However there are 30 points available for OO design. Combine that with my earlier comment about nothing in Data class being specific to the data you are actually working with, and I think there is a very good case for making Data class reusable.
is there some particular verbage in my assignment (instructions.html) that supports this need for flexibility across multiple data formats that I have missed?