The purpose of the course project is to provide you with the opportunity to get a taste of software development and its practices. The end goal is not the project itself; rather, the project serves as a vehicle to help you develop your engineering skills.
The project involves teamwork, which is unavoidable for large-scale software development. Teamwork is difficult but it is a necessary evil to get you ready for your future workplace.
You are free to form your team and pick a topic for the course project (as long as the project is approved by the instructor).
There are no limits placed on the topic of the project, but we strongly encourage that you aim for a project that
- conforms to client-server architecture.
- serves a real purpose, not some hypothetical need that does not exist.
- goes beyond a simple CRUD application.1
Tools and Frameworks
There are several tools and frameworks listed in the OOSE Toolbox. We provide some support and tutorials for tools in the OOSE Toolbox.
- If your group is not experienced in app development we strongly suggest you stick to the tools listed on the OOSE Toolbox.
- If members of your group have significant experience you are free to look more broadly and use other tools and frameworks. However, make sure to get the instructor's approval first.
Project development is broken down into a sequence of six two-week iterations (starting at iteration 0 which is more succinctly divided into one week of "Group formation" followed by one week of "Specification & Planning").
At the onset, you will declare who will be in your project group and propose an initial idea for a topic. You shall follow with requirement gathering, writing user stories, and planning: which user stories will be implemented at each iteration.
When planning your project consider the following guidelines and expectations:
Log in: first thing user does, last thing you implement!
If your software involves user authentication (any sort of log-in system), do not implement it until the last iteration! This may seem counter intuitive as most of you would see that as a legitimate starting point. In reality, however, you seldom implement your own user authentication; you almost always use a (reliable) third-party library. Moreover, user authentication is (almost) the same across different applications; it is fair to assume it a trivial non-defining feature of your software application. So, hold off on it until the last iteration.
Ship the core requirements first
If you were to describe your software and you only had one tweet to do it, what would you write? That tweet must get at one (or a few) of the "Must Have" requirements; let's call that subset the core requirements of your software project. We recommend that you spend iteration 2 & 3 on shipping the core requirement(s).
Aim low and hit!!
Aristotle is claimed to have said that "our problem is not that we aim too high and miss, but that we aim too low and hit." That may be true but I'm here to say that's okay for iteration 1. In fact, I encourage you to do exactly that for iteration 1. Pick one or two easy user stories (among the "Must Have" requirements, except for user authentication) and try to deliver it during the first iteration.
By the end of iteration 4, you should ideally have all the "Must Have" requirements. The software generally works but may have some bugs and probably is missing some desired (nice to have) features. Let's call this first release of your version 0. Aim for the first release by the end of iteration 4.
- During the last iteration, you should clean your code; polish your UI; fix the bugs, patch your software as much as you can, and ideally do some refactoring. We call this Final release.
- Do not add any new feature. If you are lagging behind, this is the time to catch up and recover. If you are ahead, you may add user authentication to your application.
Being a good software developer also means being able to communicate what you did and will do to clients, management, and your peers. The oral presentation component of the projects helps to give you practice in this arena.
There will be two presentations: the first one will be on week 15 and is considered a dry run for the final presentation which will be during examination period. More information in this will follow.
- CRUD stands for Create, Read, Update and Delete. Almost all internet consumer-related software are using the core of CRUD; you are using it every time you are asking a database to take your new or existing data and modify it. A simple CRUD application is just a front-end (UI) for databases. Most application frameworks have the concept of CRUD deeply embedded in their toolset, making it too easy to get an app up and running in a matter of days with little code that is doing anything else. You don't learn much about software engineering if your app is mostly CRUD. You should strive to incorporate some novel algorithms and data structures to go beyond a simple CRUD application. ↩