Web Applications

Description: Lecture, four hours; discussion, two hours; outside study, six hours. Enforced requisite: course 143. Important concepts and theory for building effective and safe Web applications and first-hand experience with basic tools. Topics include basic Web architecture and protocol, XML and XML query language, mapping between XML and relational models, information retrieval model and theory, security and user model, Web services and distributed transactions. Letter grading.

Units: 4.0
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Overall Rating 1.9
Easiness 2.0/ 5
Clarity 1.5/ 5
Workload 2.6/ 5
Helpfulness 2.0/ 5
Most Helpful Review
Spring 2024 - This class was unnecessarily chaotic. Our “midpoint quiz” was supposed to be a simple diagnostic test but ended up being more complicated and ambiguous in description than any of my actual midterms. The easier (and clearest) questions were filled with trivia like “Who invented [something random here]” or “What is x?” given JavaScript code, having no relevance to actual web application knowledge and reminiscent of an alternate reality where CS31 is taught in JavaScript. The professor would also do something sneaky about the projects. He would set up a poll at 11 PM a day before the project was due asking if the deadline should be extended, and then make a decision within 1-3 hours. Given that the only people active on Campuswire were those still working on the project, the deadlines were extended for another week (2 out of 3 times). We were supposed to have 5 projects, beginning with HTML/CSS and finishing with a full-stack application using a framework like React, but because of this, we ended up only doing 3 projects (4th one being optional and assigned Week 9 Thursday), and the scope of them was HTML/CSS/JavaScript with no framework at all. Project 4 does introduce Express/MongoDB, but introducing backend in a web app class at the end of Week 9 is concerning. Onto the projects themselves, they were very doable, but the ambiguous specs made them stressful because it was often unclear what he wanted. It did not help that the professor usually responded with some variation of “Follow the spec.” (at first) and you could not ask the TAs any project-related questions because he would gatekeep the grading rubric from them. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ Project 1: - He wanted us to write about 3 significant features of HTML and CSS, anything not covered in lecture, but the slides had pretty much everything important to these languages, so we had to put something esoteric or tangential to HTML/CSS to get points. - This project was graded wrong for everyone. Upon regrade request, my score went from 87% to a 100%. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ Project 2: - There was heavy debate about what he meant by “No description”, and this was never clarified until after the due date. - We were supposed to use Google Cloud, but it was impossible to set up based on the instructions. - Points were lost for not making the final product screenshot, despite it being outdated. Things like removing the default cards, not using sans-serif font, and/or adding new features could get you to lose 10 to 30 points out of 100, even if you met all the functional requirements in the spec. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ Project 3: - Doing one of the extra credits from Project 2 prevented you from doing the one in Project 3, leading to unfairness in scores. - We were supposed to fix linting and console errors, but the “io” 404 / linting error had different behavior locally and on GCloud, so it would be impossible to solve it on both, leading to hours of wasted time and frustration. Keep in mind this was on instructor-provided code. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ Overall, I would not recommend this professor for first-time/revived courses, given his stubbornness towards grading, unclear specs he will not rewrite, and terrible pacing. It sucks that this is his legacy, because he is a great lecturer, and curves overall grades well.
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