CSPP 51090 & CMSC 22001: Software Construction

Beyond specific domain skills, building software is a craft that requires careful design. This course teaches key software design principles in a studio setting. Each week, students present their programs to the class for a design review. Together, the class evaluates the programs for their correctness and, more importantly, their clarity and design.

Expect to learn how to build reliable, maintainable, extensible software and how to evaluate other code for those same properties.

Assignments     Scrabble

Code Walks

Mailing List
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Required text
Gamma, Helm, Johnson, Vlissides Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software. Addison-Wesley, Reading MA 1995.
The text is as necessary for a software developer as a dictionary for an English writer.
Reccommended texts
Felleisen, Findler, Flatt, Krishnamurthi How to Design Programs MIT Press, Cambridge MA 2001
Beck Extreme Programming Explained Addison-Wesley, Reading MA 1999
Fowler, Scott UML Distilled Addison-Wesley, Reading MA 1997
Pair Programming
All projects must be implemented via pair programming. Pair programming means that you do all things together. That is, you must choose a partner with whom you wish to work on projects as soon as possible. You may switch partners after consulting with the course staff and discussing the work log together.
Journal & Estimates
Each person must keep a work journal (individually). Every time you work on something related to this course, enter the following information (one line each):
  • what (topic),
  • when (date, time),
  • where (location),
  • who (working partner),
  • and how long (duration).
Please estimate at the beginning of each project how much time you think it will take. Enter the estimate in your journal. As the course progresses, try to understand how much you over/underestimate and try to correct for it. We will review the notebooks in case of conflicts and in case of borderline grades.
Programming Language

For in-class demonstrations and discussions, I will use UML diagrams, Java and possibly some OO concepts from research languages such as Scheme or scripting languages such as Python.

For projects, you are free to choose whatever language you wish to use. You may also switch your language of choice over the course of the semester.

On average there will be one assignment per week. The assignments will include writing short essays, modifications of Java programs, designing and implementing programs from scratch, and maintaining/modifying your own code.

Grades are assigned based on two factors: your class participation and your code presentations. Your weekly homework may have some influence in boundary cases.

Robby Findler