CompSci 308
Spring 2024
Advanced Software Design and Implementation

Simple is better than complex. Complex is better than complicated. — by Tim Peters from The Zen of Python



Many view software design as a craft, learned best through practice that is guided by experienced mentors, where the best lessons are learned by making mistakes rather than there being one right way to do it. In this respect it is more like art than science. The arts, as well as architecture and engineering, benefit from subjecting work to constant review by both peers and mentors as a means of providing fast feedback which allows students to learn quickly from their mistakes.

This course focuses on the design of software by implementing successively larger projects in successively larger teams. As such, students should focus on improving their program's flexibility while communicating with other students to fit their code into a larger whole. Projects given are intended to be under-specified, so that their design and functionality must be justified and improved through iterative feedback.

In short, my goal is for you to be able to turn vague and ambitious specifications into a system design that can be built, maintained, and extended, prioritizing the features to be built first, then refining and extending the project through multiple draft releases.

Required Background. It is assumed that you have previously programmed extensively in Java (e.g., at least the level of CompSci 201 at Duke). If you do not have such experience programming, this probably is not the right course for you. See the Teaching Team if you have questions.

Feedback is Welcome

Help us improve the course. The Computer Science department at Duke University aims to excel in education and research. This course is geared towards students who enjoy software development and abstract thinking and want to learn practical ways to better design and code their projects. If you find your efforts are not being well directed towards learning, please let us know so we can help remedy the situation — the goal is not to work you simply for work's sake!

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