University of Virginia Computer Science
CS150: Computer Science, Fall 2005

Problem Set 8:
Make a Web Application
Out: 28 October
Team Requests: Friday, 4 November
Project Descriptions Due: Monday, 7 November
Project Team Meetings: 14-18 November
Presentations and Projects Due: Monday 5 December

Collaboration Policy - Read Carefully

For this problem set, you will work in assigned teams. Unlike in previous problem sets, you should divide work among your group members in the most efficient way. It is not necessary for everyone in the group to work together on all parts of the assignment, but every student should contribute equally to the work. All students should also contribute to the overall design of your site.

You are encouraged to discuss this assignment with other students in the class and ask and provide help in useful ways. You are also encouraged to seek help from people outside the class on the content, use and implementation of your site.

You may consult any outside resources you wish including books, papers, web sites and people. You may use the code from the example sites in any way you see fit. You may also incorporate any open source code you find into your project so long as you follow the licensing rules for that code, include its copyright information and credit its authors. If you use resources other than the class materials, indicate what you used along with your answer.

Purpose

Assignment

Problem: Make an interesting dynamic web site.

Your site must be more interesting than just unchanging text pages — it must involve computation. Most sites will also involve a database (but it is not required if you think of a computationally interesting site that does not). Your site can be anything you want (so long as it is consistent with the University's policy on public computing resources). You may incorporate anything you want from Problem Set 7 into your site, as well as any other open source code you find. We hope some groups will integrate Google Maps into their applications, but you are not required to do this.

Your site should be as accessible to all web users. That means it should be obvious to any visitor what your site is for and how to use it. You site should be designed so it works well even for for visitors who have slow network connections (that is, its function should not depend on unnecessarily large images), small monitors with poor color contrast. You should even strive to make your site accessible to the blind (that is, it should be possible to use your site using a text-only browser).

If you are having a hard time thinking of a good idea for your site, you may want to look over projects from previous classes:

Note that expectations in previous years were lower than this year: students had much less background on building dynamic web sites before PS8 in 2003 and used different tools in 2003 and 2004, and that according to Neil De Grasse Tyson we should expect this year's students to be 4% better, so your web site projects should be even more impressive.

Team Requests

You will be assigned teams for this assignment, but I may honor team requests. You must send these by email or communicate them to me directly before Friday, 4 November. In order to increase the chances I honor your request, your email should not only list the team members but should give a brief description of the web site you have agreed as a group to build. Students who do not request teams, will be arbitrarily grouped into teams.

The size of your team may be between 1 and 27 (the whole class) students, but the impressiveness of the web site you intend to build should scale as the square root of the number of people on your team (e.g., a team of four students should build something twice as impressive as a team of one student working alone). If you have a large team, you will need to figure out carefully how to divide your project into smaller, independent pieces. The ideal team size in most cases will be 3 students. More than that, and you spend too much time on management issues. Less than that, and it is hard to build a sufficiently interesting web application.

Consultants

Instead of lab hours for PS8, each team will be assigned an assistant coach as a consultant. You should view your consultant as a highly paid expert (you needn't actually pay your consultant, of course, but giving them Bodo's or Krispy Kreme's is encouraged) who can help a limited amount with your project. Do not place unreasonable demands on your consultant — they are students too with their own assignments and exams to worry about. You should expect have at most two short meetings with your consultant. Use those meetings wisely to bounce design ideas off your consultant and to work out the trickiest programming issues for your site. You should definitely not expect your consultant to write any of the code for you.

In addition to your consultant, you may, of course, take advantage of Dave's office hours and schedule meetings with him, in addition to the required design review meetings.

Project Descriptions

Due: Monday, 7 November 2005

Turn in a document that describes:

Project Meetings

Will be scheduled individually for week for 14-18 November

In class on Friday, 11 November, each team will sign up for a time slot for a design review project meeting. All team members must attend the design review, so it is important that you select a time all members can attend.

At the design review, you will describe your ideas for what your site will do and how you will build it. You will also be expected to show your progress so far. We will discuss the questions on your Proposal document and how you are dividing the work among your team.

The design review does not need to be a formal presentation, but you should prepare for it to make it as useful as possible. In particular, you should come to the design review knowing what you think the toughest problem for your project will be and having some preliminary ideas how to solve it.

Demos and Presentations

In class on Monday, 5 December, you will have an opportunity to present and demonstrate your web site. That class will be open to anyone, and you are encouraged to invite friends and relatives to see your (and your classmate's) presentations. Inviting students who might take CS200 next year is especially encouraged!

Each team will get (+ 1 (* 3 (sqrt n))) minutes (where n is the number of team members) to present the motivation and idea for your website and demonstrate it.

To be eligible to present your site, you must submit a zip file containing all the files for your site to 10:55am on Monday, 5 December.

Teams that do not produce a site to demo must instead submit a final project report containing:

If you present your site, you do not need to turn in a paper project report.

Recommended Reading and Browsing

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CS 150: Computer Science
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