CS 4550 - Web Development

Spring 2019

Discusses Web development for sites that are dynamic, data driven, and interactive. Focuses on the software development issues of integrating multiple languages, assorted data technologies, and Web interaction. Requires each student to deploy individually designed Web experiments that illustrate the Web technologies and at least one major integrative Web site project. Each student or team must also create extensive documentation of their goals, plans, design decisions, accomplishments, and user guidelines.

Essential Resources


Section Location Time
01 RB 109 11:45am-1:25pm MoTh

Office Hours

Name Location Hours Email
Nat Tuck NI 132 E Tu 5:30-6:30pm; Th 2-3pm ntuck ⚓ ccs.neu.edu
Benjamin Muschol RY 285 Th 6-8pm muschol.b ⚓ husky.neu.edu
Sangeetha Chandrashekar SL 013 Fr 12:05-2:05pm chandrashekar.s ⚓ husky.neu.edu
Sangeetha Chandrashekar BK 307 We 11am-1pm chandrashekar.s ⚓ husky.neu.edu


This is a draft schedule. It will likely be revised before and/or after the semester starts.

Week Starts Topics Work Due
1 Jan 07 Intro: Dev on the Web; Server Setup HW01: Dev & Server Setup
2 Jan 14 JS & DOM ; Elixir & Phoenix Intro HW02: Browser Warm Up
3+ Jan 21 (MLK) Webpack & React HW03: Server Warm Up
4 Jan 28 Sockets / Channels; Server-side State HW04: Client-Side Game
5 Feb 04 OTP: GenServers, Agents, Supervisors HW05: Client-Server Game
6 Feb 11 Resources, REST, Ecto -
7+ Feb 17 (Pres) Relations, Relational DB Proj1: Multi-Player Game
8 Feb 25 JSON Resources & AJAX HW06: CRUD - One Model
- Mar 03 (spring break) -
9 Mar 11 SPAs, Redux, Password Security HW07: CRUD - Relations
10 Mar 18 Using Web APIs; OAuth2 HW08: CRUD - SPA + PW Auth
11 Mar 25 Canvas, WebGL, Web Assembly -
12 Apr 01 NoSQL Project 2: CRUD App
13 Apr 08 Presentations Part 1 & 2 -
14 Apr 15 Patriot’s Day, No Class -

(+) One Lecture Weeks

Assignments will frequently be due at 11:59pm Thursday.

Required Supplies

There is no required textbook for this course. Your primary resource should be the official documentation for the languages, libraries, tools, and frameworks we use in the class.

Each student must have virtual private server and a domain name, accessible from the public internet. Getting these will be part of the first homework assignment. This will cost around $30 for the semester.

Domain Registrars: joker, gandi, namecheap.

VPS Providers: vultr, linode, digital ocean

Your VPS should have Ubuntu 18.04 and at least 1 GB of RAM. Either your domain registrar or your VPS provider should provide DNS hosting.

You may not use a cloud server (e.g. Amazon EC2, Google Compute, Azure) in place of a VPS.

Library, Framework, Tool, and Language Documentation

Prof Rasala’s Web Dev Links: Web Dev Links


We will be writing code in several languages. Programming is much easier with editor support, so you must find and configure an editor that supports the languages we are using. Most editors will do HTML / CSS / JS well out of the box. Elixir is supported less broadly - these editors should work well:

Submitted code with indentation that shows that you aren’t using an editor with automatic indentation support (and using it successfully) will be penalized harshly.


Letter Grades

The number to letter mapping will be as follows:

95+ = A, 90+ = A-, 85+ = B+, 80+ = B, 75+ = B-, 70+ = C+, 65+ = C, 60+ = C-, 50+ = D, else = F

There may be a curve or scale applied to any assignment or the final grades, in either direction.


Most weeks there will be a homework assignment due. You’ll have to do some web design, programming, system administration, database manipulation, etc.

In order to learn the material in this class you must submit the homework. If at any point you have three unexcused zero grades for past-due assignments you will fail the course.

If you fall behind on the course work for any reason, please come to the professor’s office hours to discuss how you can catch up.


Your projects will exercise many of the techniques and technologies covered in the homework to create a significant web application from scratch.

Late Work

Late submissions will be penalized by 1% per hour late.

The last assignment of the semester may not be submitted more than 12 hours late.


Contesting Grades

Homework and project grades will be posted on Bottlenose. If you think your work was graded incorrectly, you can challenge your grade through the following procedure:

First, go to the office hours of the course staff member who graded your work. If you can convince them that they made a concrete error in grading, they will fix it for you.

If the grader doesn’t agree that the grade was wrong, you can issue a formal grade challenge. This follows a variant of the “coaches challenge” procedure used in the NFL.

Here’s the procedure:

Special Accomodations

Students needing disability accommodations should visit the Disability Resource Center (DRC).

If you have been granted special accomodations either through the DRC or as a student athlete, let me know as soon as possible.

Code Copying & Collabaration Policy

Copying code and submitting it without proper attribution is strictly prohibited in this class. This is plagiarism, which is a serious violation of academic integrity.


Non-Code Work

Obviously, written text for something like a project report can also be plagarized. The standard rules for writing apply.

Lecture Notes

Lecture notes are not starter code, and should not be copied without attribution. As long as attribution is provided, there is no penalty for appropriately using code from the lecture notes.

Collaboration and Attribution:

Since it’s not plagiarism if you provide attribution, as a special exception to these rules, any code sharing with attribution will not be treated as a major offense.

There is no penalty for copying small snippets of code (a couple of lines) with attribution as long as this code doesn’t significantly remove the intended challenge of the assignment. This should be in a comment above these lines clearly indicating the source (including author name and URL, if any).

If you copy a large amount of code with attribution, you won’t recieve credit for having completed that portion of the assignment, but there will be no further penalty. The attribution must be obvious and clearly indicate both which code it applies to and where it came from.

Penalty for Plagarism

First offense:

Avoid copying code if you can. If you’re looking at an example, understand what it does, type something similar that is appropriate to your program, and provide attribution. If you must copy code, put in the attribution immediately, every time or you will fail the course over what feels like a minor mistake.