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Industrializing Your Web Application Development Project

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Software Engineering Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Software Engineering Division

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Paper Authors


Gregory Kulczycki Virginia Tech

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Dr. Kulczycki has extensive experience in research and development both in academia and industry. He received his doctorate from Clemson University in 2004 and began working as a professor at Virginia Tech shortly thereafter. In 2011 he went to work for Battelle Memorial Institute as a cyber research scientist, while continuing to be involved in teaching. He is currently back in the computer science department at Virginia Tech as a professor of practice, where he teaches, designs courses, and develops online content for Virginia Tech's highly-regarded Master of Information Technology program. Dr. Kulczycki has various publications on topics including formal specification and verification, web services, and software reuse. His interests include object-oriented programming, software specification and reasoning, design patterns, and online learning.

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Steven Atkinson Virginia Tech

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Dr. Atkinson works in industry as a Senior Software Engineer for Netflix and in academia as an Instructor at Virginia Tech for the Computer Science Department. He was one of the first employees at LinkedIn, and his industrial experience spans 21 years, including work at startup companies in fields ranging from enterprise document management, to healthcare and high performance networking. Dr. Atkinson's academic experience includes a Ph.D. from University of Queensland, Australia and an Assistant Professorship at West Virginia University. He has publications in the areas of formal specification and verification of software systems, and software reuse. Dr. Atkinson's interests currently include programming languages, high performance data transmission and re-architecture of larger existing software systems and software engineering curriculum development.

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In any software development course, a good project is key. It challenges students and drives decisions about other course material. Keeping it fresh and up-to-date can be a challenge, especially in fast-changing areas like web or mobile development.

This paper presents two distinct experiences and insights (one of us is a university professor, and one is an industry professional) on "industrializing" a full-semester project in a web application development course that we co-teach. By industrializing, we mean evaluating the project with a focus on whether it is consistent with current industry practices, and then developing the project as any good company would – using best practices from software engineering and industry, such as iterative development, continuous integration, refactoring, and regression testing. Over the course of only three years, we went through not one, but two major revisions of a semester-long project, and we anticipate more revisions in the future. We began with a project that was effective from a teaching standpoint but was in need of a significant update to its design and implementation.

We first discuss the environment in which the course is taught. It is part of a graduate, online degree program that caters to working professionals from a variety of backgrounds. We then introduce the project - a mini e-commerce web site that is presented to students over the course of the semester in 10-12 separate assignments. We detail why and how the project implementation was modified, despite the fact that the functional requirements remained relatively stable. We then summarize the lessons learned from these revisions and talk about how we plan to manage changes in the future. Finally, we offer suggestions on how others might go about industrializing their own software development projects.

Kulczycki, G., & Atkinson, S. (2020, June), Industrializing Your Web Application Development Project Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34824

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