CompSci 290.2
Spring 2018
Web Application Development


Lecture meets on Monday and Wednesday from 4:40-5:55pm in Sociology-Psychology room 130

Class attendance is required as class time will often involve participatory exercises. You will also be expected to do a significant amount of reading, coding, and debugging outside of class time.


Professor Duvall

Professor Robert Duvall

  • LSRC room D228
  • rcd AT cs DOT duke DOT edu
  • Office Hours: Tuesdays 3-4pm, Wednesdays 3-4pm
    I am generally not available during the weekend
  • Drop-in policy: Feel free to come in whenever my office door is open; you may also make an appointment via email.
TA Chengkang Xu Graduate TA Chengkang Xu
  • North room N003
  • cx88 AT cs DOT duke DOT edu
  • Office Hours: Fridays 2-3pm
  • outside LSRC room D344
  • Drop-in policy: You may make an appointment via email.
Undergraduate TAs Office Hours in Old Chemistry room 123
Alex Gottwald
Robyn Kwok
Zachary Marion
Robert Steilberg
Christine Zhou

Email is the best way to contact the course staff if you have a personal concern. When using email, please put CompSci 290 at the start of your subject line to help ensure that your email gets past our spam filters and is delivered correctly. If you send us an email and do not get a response within 24 hours, we probably did not receive it. In general, you should only email us about administrative aspects of the course; questions about course content are better made using the course Discussion Board since it is seen by more people.

Our goal is simple: to help you learn — both inside and outside the classroom. If you have questions, we want to answer them. We hold office hours regularly for the purpose of helping you, either one-on-one or in small groups. No matter how busy we may look, during office hours, you have priority over everything else. If you cannot make the office hours listed above, please use email to set up an appointment — do not put it off.


Most of the readings assigned during the semester will be excerpts from books or online articles. There is also a lot of information available online.

In general you should do the assigned readings in order to be prepared to ask and answer questions in class. If you have looked at material before it is discussed in class you will get much more out of the class discussion. Although time will be given at the beginning of lecture for you to ask questions about the reading, the majority of the lecture will be an extension of the reading, not a summary.


This project-based course covers the development of interactive web applications. Each of the projects and in-class activities is based on some existing product used as a case study. During the first half of the semester you will have a number of small homework assignments, starting with a simple web application and moving onto increasingly complex programs. The second half of the course will focus on a larger project, in which you will design and implement a substantial dynamic web site of your choice as part of a project team. At the end of the semester you will demonstrate your web site to the course staff.

Grading is done on an absolute, but adjustable scale. This means that there is no curve and thus need to compete with your fellow classmates. Anyone earning 90% or more of the total number of points available will receive a grade in the A range; 80% or more guarantees a grade in the B range, 70% or more guarantees a grade in the C range, 60% or more guarantees a grade in the D range. This scale may slide down, but it will not go up.

Lab projects 30%
Programming projects 30%
Final Project 40%

The final project is a larger group project that will be completed by 2-3 students and must be handed in before the course's scheduled exam time, Tuesday, May 2 at 2pm. Since this project will be built in stages, it will not be possible to change your final project groups once they have been chosen. Your final project will be presented in an open session in which I will invite everyone in the Computer Science department.

The programming projects will provide a lot of room for you to express some creativity and go beyond the basic specification. To earn an A grade on these projects, you must do more than merely meet the requirements, you must go beyond them. In order to earn an A+ you must do several optional parts of assignments and exceed expectations in general. Note, any extra credit features that you add will not be counted unless you get the basics working first. For some assignments the class will vote on the best results in several categories.

Turning Assignments in Late

All projects must be completed and pushed to GitHub by the end of the day given as the due date (i.e., 11:59:59pm).

Assignments turned in late are penalized at a rate of 10% per day late. If you find yourself chronically turning assignments in late or falling significantly behind, talk to one of the course staff immediately. It is important that you do not get behind in this class, its pace is too fast and the later material builds on the previous material. The secret to successfully surviving this course is to start early and work steadily; it is not possible to cram or skim in Computer Science classes. If you are having trouble, be sure to talk to the professor as far before the due date as possible. Do not give up, ask for help.

Individual extensions will be granted only for medical reasons (see the Short-term Illness Notification policy) or other circumstances beyond your control that must be presented with an official Dean's excuse. Extensions will not be granted after an assignment is due, you must request an extension well before an assignment is due.

Collaboration Policy

In accordance with the Duke Community Standard, we encourage proper collaboration, in which all parties equally participate, on programming projects and classwork. Quizzes and Exams taken online or in-class must be your own work; you should not collaborate on them at all. Studying together is always encouraged, especially when preparing for quizzes or exams. At other times you may be assigned to work in a group, in which there will be only one submission for the entire group that represents your collective effort.

You are responsible for understanding all work you turn in. For any given assignment, an interview may be included as part of the graded work. During the interview, you may be asked to explain the problem solving process and individual lines of code not given as part of the assignment. Turning in code that you cannot explain is considered cheating.

You may consult with the course staff about any aspect of the course. On programming projects and classwork you may consult with other students only in a general way, e.g., about debugging, programming concepts, or questions about wording on the assignment. You cannot actively work with someone else unless the assignment specifically grants permission for you to do so. It is never acceptable to directly show one another your program code or write one program among a group and submit multiple copies. Finally, it is unacceptable to search for direct answers to problems on the Internet.

Consult means you can discuss programs in a general way before writing code and get help with debugging your program, but you must write your own code and do your own thinking about the problem. For each assignment you are expected to include a list of the people with whom you have consulted (including any other students and course staff) in the README file you submit with the assignment. You should also cite any resources other than class materials you use (e.g. web pages, notes from other courses at other universities, etc.).

If you are not sure what the collaboration policy is for a given assignment, please ask!

Computing Requirements

All computing projects should be written in standard, validated, HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript version 6, using Git Version Control.

A laptop is strongly recommended (so you can bring it to class and meetings with course staff). Access to and on-going use of a computer on which you can install software.

Online Course Information

Web Site ( Many of the materials for this course, including the syllabus, class notes, reading assignments, homeworks, and other resources, will be available through the course web page at

Discussion Board ( You should regularly read and contribute to the course discussion board as it is a useful place for posting questions that are likely to be of interest to the rest of the class. You are encouraged to post responses to questions as well as ask them. The discussion board will be monitored regularly and responses posted to questions that have not previously been answered. Before posting a question, please make sure that you have read all previous messages and that your question has not yet been discussed.

Email. Please check your email regularly, as important course announcements may be sent via email.