Semester: summer 2021/22
Lectures: Monday, 10:40, S5 (Lubomír Bulej)
  Tuesday, 10:40, SU2 (Lubomír Bulej)
  Tuesday, 17:20, SU2 (Lubomír Bulej)
Page in SIS: NPRG043
Grading: Graded credit


May 10, 2022 — Published Task 7.

Apr 26, 2022 — Published Task 6.

Apr 19, 2022 — Scheduled lab for Task 5 discussion.

Apr 18, 2022 — The April 18 lecture has been cancelled due to Easter Holiday. Check the lecture resources for material to review.

Apr 12, 2022 — Published Task 5.

Mar 29, 2022 — Published Task 4.

Mar 23, 2022 — The March 28 lecture has been cancelled. See the Forum for details.

Mar 22, 2022 — Published Task 3.

Mar 14, 2022 — Published Task 2.

Mar 1, 2022 — Published Task 1.

Feb 21, 2022 — The lab/task schedule has been changed to accomodate team setup phase for students enrolling later. The first labs discussing Task 1 will be held on March 1.

Feb 15, 2022 — Task 0: establish teams by February 27, 2022.

Feb 15, 2022 — The course is full and the capacity cannot be easily increased.

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Programming is not just a matter of writing a program that runs (correctly), or implementing a particular algorithm. Modern programming has become a task in managing structural complexity of computer systems. For small-scale programs, which often serve as a wrapper (handling inputs and outputs) for some algorithm, the (structural) complexity is dominated by the abstractions, operations, and data structures required to implement the algorithm. In medium-sized programs and large-scale software systems, the complexity due to algorithm and the associated data structures stops dominating as the program becomes complex as a result of the number of concepts and their interactions. For such programs, design plays a critical role as the ability to develop and maintain such programs surpasses the capacity of a single person.

In such projects, the ability of team members to communicate effectively becomes extremely important, and the source code of a software system becomes one of the communication channels, which also happens to exactly reflect the current state of the system. While source code quality is (usually) not directly related to correct function of a software system, it does have a significant impact on other important aspects, such as readability, maintainability, and together with design also extensibility and reusability.

The source code quality manifests in many ways, from source code formatting, ordering of statements, choice of variable and function names, decomposition into methods, the content of comments, to design of classes and interfaces. At the lowest level, the goal is to find how to clearly and conveniently capture the executed operations, while at the highest level, the goal is to identify and use good abstractions, which simplify writing and orientation in code, and thus make a program easier to maintain and extend.

Through lectures and lab work during the semester, the course aims to introduce the students to (best) programming practices that lead to better code and program design. The goal is to motivate the students to adopt and use these techniques in practice.

Topics covered

  • Software construction and design, managing essential and accidental complexity.
  • API design, general principles, impact on class and method design.
  • Class design, abstraction & encapsulation, inheritance & composition, polymorphism, immutability.
  • SOLID design principles, design patterns in the context of design principles.
  • Method design, cohesion, naming, parameter passing, returning values, using exceptions, defensive programming.
  • Basic building blocks, variables and constants, general guidelines, naming convetions, fundamental data types.
  • Control structures and primitives, general guidelines, conditional statements, loop statements, code organization.
  • Code formatting, general principles, formatting blocks of code and code elements, formatting aids.
  • Documentation, internal documentation and comments, self-explanatory code.

Contact and office hours

The course uses a GitLab issue tracker as the primary means of communication. Occassional announcements will be made via e-mail (using the one you have in SIS).

Please use the forum for any questions or suggestions related to the course, because it will (most probably) be of interest to other students as well. Consequently, you may want to subscribe to repository notifications to see issues created by other students.

If there is something that needs to be discussed in private, you can either create a confidential issue, or contact me in person or via email:

E-mail is preferred for brief inquiries and it is generally OK to come to my office without an appointment. Please check my teaching schedule to avoid coming just before my lectures.

Assignments and grading

The core of the work in the course comes from multiple assignments. Some of them are intended for pairs of students (to facilitate discussion about design and to try working with someone else), while others have to be submitted individually. The final grade is mostly determined by the assignments and the course can be passed with flying colors solely on the basis of excellent work during the semester.

The maximum amount of points that can be awarded is 100. The mapping between points and the final grade is shown in the following table:

Grade Points
1 ≥ 87 pts
2 ≥ 73 pts
3 ≥ 60 pts