CSE 416: Software Engineering (Spring 2020)
Scott D. Stoller

Course Description

This course covers fundamental topics in software engineering. The heart of the course is a capstone project in which teams of 4 students develop a complex software system following the principles and practices of software engineering. Core topics include:

The course also covers some advanced topics, such as:

The project requires use of a database and development of a GUI (typically Web-based), so knowledge of databases and web programming is important. While CSE216 and CSE316 provide a sufficient foundation, additional knowledge from CSE305 (Principles of Database Systems), CSE333 (User Interface Development), CSE336 (Internet Programming), or other experience is also helpful. CSE416 provides practical experience using these technologies and integrating them in more complex software systems, but teaching them is not a CSE416 course goal, because they are covered in other courses.

The official course outcomes are:


The Unified Modeling Language (UML) is used in this course to express software designs. You need to get one of the following two books on UML (I selected these two as the best, after evaluating about a dozen books). There are some decent on-line UML resources, such as Allen Holub's UML Quick Reference and OMG's UML Resource Page, but they are useful as supplements to, not substitutes for, one of these books.

In addition to a UML book, you should read: Scott W. Ambler. Mapping Objects to Relational Databases: O/R Mapping In Detail.

If you have not studied UI design (usability, not just technology), for example in CSE 333, it is worth spending a few hours studying it before designing your system's GUI. A good book on this topic is: Doug Van Duyne, James Landay, and Jason Hong, The Design of Sites, 2nd edition, Addison-Wesley, 2007. Cheap used copies are often available on Amazon and eBay. A book that is not as good, but free for SBU students, is: Jenifer Tidwell, Designing Interfaces. An online version is accessible for free via the SBU library. If you find other good online resources on UI design, let me know.

For other topics, the lecture notes are sufficient. You can refer to almost any software engineering textbook for additional information, if you like. The library has numerous software engineering textbooks; well-known ones include Software Engineering: Theory and Practice by Shari Lawrence Pfleeger, and Software Engineering by Ian Sommerville. Another interesting book, from which some of the lecture notes are derived, is Software Engineering Best Practices: Lessons from Successful Projects in the Top Companies by Capers Jones.

Other recommended readings:


Lecture notes, assignments, etc., are posted in Blackboard. I recommend subscribing to content changes in the course: click the down arrow next to your name in the right part of the page header, select Settings in the resulting menu, and then select Edit Notifications Settings.

Blackboard discussion forums are an important communication tool in this course. I recommend subscribing to each discussion forum, by clicking the Subscribe button in the header row above the list of threads in the forum; you will then receive an email informing you of each post.

Teaching Assistants

Gaofeng Deng and Rohit Chaudhary. See Blackboard for contact info.


Tue and Thu, 1:00pm-2:20pm, CS 2120.

What to Bring. We will do several in-class exercises during roughly the first half of the semester. In-class exercises are done in the same teams as the project. To do them, you need to bring the following to class. (1) An electronic device (a cell phone is adequate) on which you can download from Blackboard and view the instructions for the exercise, which are contained in the same pdf file as that day's lecture notes, which will be posted shortly before class. (2) One of the two UML books listed above. (3) At least one member of each team needs to bring either a few sheets of paper on which the team can write and submit its work, or a notebook computer on which the team can type text, draw a UML diagrams, and submit the work on Blackboard.

Office Hours

Instructor: 9:30am-10:15am on Mon, Tue, Thu, and Fri. during office hours, I will be available on Google Chat. Login to Google Chat using your @stonybrook.edu google account, and enter my name in the search box. This will create a private (one-on-one) chat message thread for us. When you'd like to talk, create a Google Hangouts Meet meeting (you can do this directly in Hangouts Meet, or do it in Chat using the videocamera-in-a-text-bubble icon), and send me the meeting URL in Google Chat. Or, if you'd like to talk with me together with some of your teammates, send the meeting URL to all of us using a Group Message in Google Chat. I will join the meeting, and we can talk. If I'm currently talking with another student or team, I'll mention this in the chat and tell you when I'm ready to join your meeting.

TAs: Gaofeng Deng, Tue 11:00am-11:45am and Wed 5:00pm-5:45pm. Rohit Chaudhary: Tue 3:30pm-4:15pm. Held online in the same way as the instructor's office hours.


Academic Integrity. If your team submits anything that includes any material created by other people, your team's submission must clearly identify that material and indicate its source; otherwise, it is plagiarism. Discussing assignments with other people is fine. However, each team must write its own code and documentation independently. Showing your team's written work to other students, giving it to them, or making it accessible to them (e.g., by putting it in a public repository) will be treated as a suspected academic integrity violation.

Code Repository. Code must be stored in a repository that (1) is private, i.e., not accessible to students on other teams, and (2) maintains a commit history. If a team's code is in a public repository during the semester, and another team copies it or is suspected of copying it, both teams will be charged with suspected academic integrity violations for code sharing. Teams may be required to give the instructor and TAs access to the team's repository for examination of the commit history.

Course Grades. Each assignment is graded relative to some maximum number of points, normalized into a number between zero and one (e.g., 19/20 = 0.95), and then multiplied by the assignment weight to obtain a weighted score. Course grades are based primarily on the sum of the weighted scores. The tentative weights are:

exam10 0

Electronic Communication. (1) It is your responsibility to read email in your official University email account. For most students that is Google Apps for Education, but you may verify your official Electronic Post Office (EPO) address. (2) It is your responsibility to read the Blackboard discussion forums for this course. I post announcements, clarifications, etc., in them. Questions that do not require confidentiality should be posted in them (rather than sent by email), so everyone can benefit from the answers.

Exam. The exam covers object-oriented design and UML. It does not cover other topics. It may cover any type of UML diagram covered by the lecture notes posted on Blackboard. During the exam, you may use either (or both) of the recommended UML books listed above, in printed (not electronic) form. The goal of this policy is that you don't need to worry about memorizing UML syntax. You may not use any other printed materials (lecture notes, assignments, etc.) or any electronic devices. Do not miss the exam. Make-up exams will be given only in extenuating circumstances (e.g., with a doctor's note stating that you were unfit to take the exam due to illness).

Helpful Postings. As an additional incentive for helpful postings (e.g., answering other students' questions), at the end of the semester, the two students with the largest numbers of helpful postings (provided it is at least three postings) will get +1% on their sum of weighted scores. The instructor will determine which postings count.

Late Submissions. For assignments that involve presentations (design review, code review, and demo), lateness penalties are 10% per day and strictly enforced (except in extenuating circumstances), because rescheduling them is disruptive and inconvenient. For assignments that do not involve presentations, assignments submitted after the deadline receive a -1% penalty per 6 hours late (rounded up to the next multiple of 6).

Submission of Assignments. Assignments hw2, hw3, hw4, hw5, hw6, and hw7 must be submitted in two ways: (1) Submit a printout of the specified material by 2:30pm on the due date, and (2) Submit an electronic version of the specified material on Blackboard by 11:59pm on the due date, using the appropriate "View/Complete Assignment" link (do not put any comments in the Comment box; we don't read it). The printout can be submitted in class or at the instructor's office (slide it under the door, if the door is closed). Any team member can submit the electronic version on Blackboard, but please coordinate so that exactly one team member submits it. If the printout or the electronic version is submitted late, then the assignment is considered to be submitted late, and a lateness penalty applies. The first page of every printout should contain the team name and the names of all team members. The name of every file uploaded to Blackboard should contain the team name and assignment name (example: DreamTeam-hw2.zip). The printout is needed for grading (we write comments on it); a team that does not submit a printout does not get a grade for the assignment. The electronic submission is needed so that we have a copy of the team's work after we return the graded printout.

Team Communication. Teams are encouraged to create and use a discussion group or messaging channel (e.g., a Google group or Slack channel) dedicated to the course project, rather than relying on email, SMS, etc.

Teamwork. Each team member is responsible for ensuring that he or she contributes equally, and that the contributions section of each assignment documents their contributions accurately and in sufficient detail, in case any dispute arises later about whether they contributed a fair share to the project. If you believe that your teammates are preventing you from contributing a fair share, or that one of your teammates is not contributing a fair share, discuss the situation with the instructor promptly. If you don't discuss such a situation with the instructor in a timely fashion, you are not taking the situation seriously. Team members not contributing their fair share may, with consent from the instructor, be removed from the team and would then need to work on the project on their own, or they may receive individual project scores lower than the team's scores.

University Policies

Academic Integrity Statement. Each student must pursue his or her academic goals honestly and be personally accountable for all submitted work. Representing another person's work as your own is always wrong. Faculty is required to report any suspected instances of academic dishonesty to the Academic Judiciary. Faculty in the Health Sciences Center (School of Health Technology & Management, Nursing, Social Welfare, Dental Medicine) and School of Medicine are required to follow their school-specific procedures. For more comprehensive information on academic integrity, including categories of academic dishonesty please refer to the academic judiciary website at http://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/academic_integrity/.

Critical Incident Management. Stony Brook University expects students to respect the rights, privileges, and property of other people. Faculty are required to report to the Office of University Community Standards any disruptive behavior that interrupts their ability to teach, compromises the safety of the learning environment, or inhibits students' ability to learn. Faculty in the HSC Schools and the School of Medicine are required to follow their school-specific procedures. Further information about most academic matters can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin, the Undergraduate Class Schedule, and the Faculty-Employee Handbook.

Student Accessibility Support Center Statement. If you have a physical, psychological, medical or learning disability that may impact your course work, please contact Student Accessibility Support Center, ECC (Educational Communications Center) Building, Room 128, (631)632-6748. They will determine with you what accommodations, if any, are necessary and appropriate. All information and documentation is confidential. Students who require assistance during emergency evacuation are encouraged to discuss their needs with their professors and Student Accessibility Support Center. For procedures and information go to the following website: http://www.stonybrook.edu/ehs/fire/disabilities.

UML Tools

Visual Paradigm for UML (Community Edition). I recommend that you use this one. It supports all of the types of UML diagrams used in this course, with comprehensive support for their features. It is relatively well documented and free for non-commercial use. It runs on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, etc. It is installed on the computers in the Windows Lab. It puts a "Community Edition" watermark on the diagrams; that's fine for this course. There is a free online course on Visual Paradigm Essential.

Lucidchart and draw.io are good web-based diagramming tool with a library of shapes for UML diagrams. Unlike Visual Paradigm for UML, which performs UML-specific error checking, these general-purpose diagramming tools will happily let you draw invalid diagrams.

UMLet: a lightweight open-source UML tool. It supports class diagrams, use case diagrams, sequence diagrams, state diagrams, deployment diagrams, activity diagrams, and component diagrams (I think), but not communication diagrams. I don't know whether it supports all features of those diagrams (e.g., loops in sequence diagrams).

Violet. Not recommended. It does not support component diagrams, communication diagrams, or deployment diagrams, and it has limited support for sequence diagrams (lacks support for actor icons, loops, alternatives, conditions, etc.).

Microsoft PowerPoint, LibreOffice Draw, etc., can be used to draw UML diagrams, but not conveniently, because they do not come with a library of UML shapes.

Code Repository

You may use any code repository satisfying the above policy. Here are some suggestions.

Git: Free Git repositories on GitHub allow unlimited collaborators (since April 2020). Free Git repositories on Bitbucket allow 4 or fewer team members.

Subversion: The Computer Science Department runs a Subversion server. If your team would like a repository on it, send a request for a repository, mentioning that it is for CSE 416, and specifying the names and SBU ID numbers of all team members, to rt@cs.stonybrook.edu. A repository will be created within a few days. You can then access your team's repository using your Computer Science Department Windows Lab username with your Stony Brook ID as the password.

Software Development Tools

Every team is encouraged to use an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for software development and debugging. Many teams from prior years recommend also using a build system such as Jenkins continuous integration server or Maven.

Screen Recording

You will submit videos of your system in action. Screen recording software produces much better videos than your cell phone camera. Here are some suggestions. If you find better tools, let me know. Please adjust the settings to obtain reasonable size video files. We don't need very high-quality video, and unnecessarily large files are inconvenient.

Game Bar: On Windows, the built-in Game Bar can capture screen video and audio. I think it captures only a selected window, not the entire screen.

QuickTime Player in macOs: The QuickTime Player has built-in screen recording functionality, but with the default settings, it produces huge video files. Please change the settings.

Skype for Business is free for all SBU students. It is available on Windows (in the Start menu, it might be at top level or in the Microsoft Office folder) and Mac. It can record a selected window or the entire screen. Here are screen recording instructions (note: in step 2, you need to click on the small downward-facing triangle, not the settings gear next to it). To access the recording after closing the meeting window, click on that downward-facing triangle again and then select Tools then Recording Manager. Before recording, you can set the desired image resolution by clicking on the settings gear next to that downward-facing triangle, selecting Recording, and then setting the resolution.

Open Broadcaster Software is an open-source software for streaming and recording video. Available on Windows, Linux, and Mac. I haven't tried it, but it looks promising.

Database Server

You may use any database server. One option is the Computer Science Department's database server. To get an account on it, send a request, mentioning that it is for CSE 416, and specifying the desired DBMS (MySQL or Oracle) and the names and SBU ID numbers of all team members, to rt@cs.stonybrook.edu. An account will be created within a few days.