The University of Chicago
Department of Computer Science

MPCS 51205 Course Syllabus

Topics in Software Engineering

Fall 2020
Online Only

Instructor:        Mark Shacklette
Office:               Online only (zoom)
Office Hours:    Monday 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM & by appointment


 Teaching staff/Office Hours:

TA:                    John Hadidian-Baugher
Office:               Online Only (see Canvas for TA Zoom meeting rooms)
Office Hours:    Tuesdays, 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM (Chicago Time)
email:                jhadidianbaugher-at-gmail-dot-com    

TA:                    Alan Salkanović
Office:               Online Only (see Canvas for TA Zoom meeting rooms)
Office Hours:    Sundays, 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM CST (Chicago Time)
email:                zekija816-at-gmail-dot-com    

TA:                    Terry Lynch
Office:               Online Only (see Canvas for TA Zoom meeting rooms)
Office Hours:    Saturdays, 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM CST (Chicago Time)
email:                terrencelynch-at-icloud-dot-com    



TA Office Hours: See Piazza

324 51205 Topics in Software Engineering
Monday, 5:00 PM



Texts: Required (Programming Knowledge of Java or C++ or Python is assumed)

Microservice Patterns, Chris Richardson, Manning, 2019, ISBN: 9781617294549

Microservices in Action, Bruce & Pereira, Manning, 2019, ISBN: 9781617294457

Domain-Driven Design:  Tackling Complexity in the Heart of Software, Eric Evans, Addison-Wesley, 2004, ISBN:  0321125215

Texts: Highly Recommended Supporting Texts


Practical Django 2 and Channels 2, Marani, Apress, 2019, ISBN: 9781484240984


Spring 5.0 Microservices, Rajesh RV, Packt, 2019, ISBN: 9781787127685


Getting MEAN with Mongo, Express, Angular, and Node, Second Edition, Holmes, Manning, 2019, ISBN: 9781617294754


Docker Cookbook, Miell & Sayers, Manning, 2016, ISBN: 9781491919712

Docker in Practice, Sebastien Goasguen, O'Reilly, 2016, ISBN: 9781617292729

Docker Containers, Christoper Negus, Prentice Hall, 2016, ISBN: 9780134136561

Asynchronous Communication/AMQP:

RabbitMQ in Action, Videla & Williams, Manning, 2012, ISBN: 9781935182979


Designing Data-Intensive Applications, Martin Kleppmann, O'Reilly, 2017, ISBN: 9781449373320

A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux, Mark Sobell, Prentice Hall2015, 2016, ISBN: 9780133927313

Disciplined Agile Delivery:  A Practitioner's Guide to Agile Software Delivery in the Enterprise, Ambler & Lines, IBM, 2012, ISBN:  0132810131

Texts: Recommended

Code Complete, 2nd ed.,  Steve McConnell, Microsoft Press, 2004, ISBN: 9780735619678

UML Distilled, 3rd ed.,  Martin Fowler, Addison Wesley, 2003, ISBN: 0321193687

Applying UML and Patters:  An Introduction to Object-Oriented Analysis and Design and Iterative Development, 3rd ed., Craig Larman, Prentice Hall, 2005, ISBN:  0131489062

Disciplined Agile Delivery:  A Practitioner's Guide to Agile Software Delivery in the Enterprise, Ambler & Lines, IBM, 2012, ISBN:  0132810131

Design Patterns, Gamma, et. al., Addison Wesley, 1995, ISBN: 0201633612

Refactoring:  Improving the Design of Existing Code, 2nd Ed., Fowler, Addison Wesley, 2019, ISBN:  9780134757599

Object-Oriented Software Construction, Second Edition , Bertrand Meyer, Prentice Hall, 1997, ISBN: 0136291554


Solid familiarity with either Java or C++ will be assumed.   


This course is an intermediate approach to applied software design and development methods for use in creating efficient, reusable, and modular software.  Each time the course is offered the content and focus change from year to year.  Some of the topics we have investigated include:  microservices, event-driven architecture, Hybrid Transactional/Analytical Processing; software frameworks and container-based software development; and advanced techniques including multi-threading.  A heavy focus is on design and creativity and what constitutes creative design.

TOPICS (Each year we will choose some of these for deep dives):

•    Designing software to meet non-functional requirements for quality, security, reliability, scalability, extensibility, testability, supportability, fault tolerance and disaster recovery
•    Architecture Governance—what is it and how do you do it?
•    Microservice Architecture
•    What does “ideation to implementation” mean?
•    Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery
•    RESTful APIs and testing
•    Software Development Life Cycle integrating Agile methodologies
•    Containerization

TECHNOLOGIES (Each year we will choose some of these for deep dives):

•    Java Development including Spring Framework and Spring Microservices
•    Event-based design
•    Microservices and RESTful APIs
•    SQL and NoSQL databases
•    Fast access and compute architectures including In-memory databases and data grids
•    Hybrid Transactional/Analytical Processing (HTAP) technologies such as Hadoop, Spark, Storm
•    Container-based software design using Docker, Apache Mesos, and Cloud Foundry.
•    Version control systems such as Subversion, GIThub, etc.
•    Continuous Integration and Delivery using JUnit and Bamboo
•    Collaborative tools such as Crucible


This course will enable students to understand:

A.  Develop a full command of the UML and object-oriented design
B.  Microservice Architecture & Design
C.  Docker containerization and Microservice management
D.  Design and develop a non-trivial system using best practices in Microservice design and development
F.   Become familiar with formal design tools for contextual analysis and Microservice design


Students are expected to have read and understood the University's policy on Academic Integrity. This policy is detailed in the Student Manual of University Policies and Regulations, available online at  More guidelines can be found here:


Methods include lecture and homework assignments. All work will be submitted using Subversion, a version-control system that allows us to easily view files and folders that you create. You will not have to e-mail your files to the instructor, TAs, or grader, or even submit them online. Read this page in order to learn about how all of this will work.

Note for this online course:

By attending course sessions, students acknowledge that:

A. They will not: (i) record, share, or disseminate University of Chicago course sessions, videos, transcripts, audio, or chats; (ii) retain such materials after the end of the course; or (iii) use such materials for any purpose other than in connection with participation in the course.
B. They will not share links to University of Chicago course sessions with any persons not authorized to be in the course session. Sharing course materials with persons authorized to be in the relevant course is permitted. Syllabi, handouts, slides, and other documents may be shared at the discretion of the instructor.
C. Course recordings, content, and materials may be covered by copyrights held by the University, the instructor, or third parties. Any unauthorized use of such recordings or course materials may violate such copyrights.
D. Any violation of this policy will be referred to the Area Dean of Students.




No formal attendance taken. Absences will affect your team and likely impact your peer evaluation.  There may be information presented in class that is not in the texts. You will find the lectures helpful in doing the laboratory exercises.

Make-up Work:

Students are expected to read the assigned texts before class in order to be able to full participate in the discussions and course activities.


Assigned work evaluated as follows:

4 Iteration Deliverables (5 points each)
5 Labs (3.0 points each)
Project Faculty Evaluation of Team Project
Team Peer Evaluation (Instructions here)

Grading scale (for all assignments excluding Peer Evaluations.  NOTE there is a separate scale for Peer Grading located:  here):

95-100:     A
90-94:       A-
87.6-89:    B+
83-87.5:    B
80-82.9:    B-
76-79:       C+

A separate peer grading scale is implemented in addition to the above.  Every student is responsible for knowing and understanding this additional scale that will be used in the Team Peer Evaluation.  The separate peer grading scale is described here.

Iteration Deliverables will be graded on a 4-point basis.  Deliverable due dates are noted on the syllabus below.  All labs and homework are due by 5:00 pm on the due date.

All assignments are due as specified on this syllabus and lab and iteration deliverables.  This includes the final project deliverables.  Each team will be evaluated on the basis of the presentation of iteration deliverables and the final deliverable.  Any and all lateness will suffer penalties. 

The penalty for late labs will be .50 points off for each 24-hour period the lab is late, through 6 days late (6*.50 = 3.0).  After six days delay, the lab will no longer be accepted for grading and will receive a 0.  Note:  Any penalty is taken off after the grade has been determined.  For example, if you make a grade of 2.5/3.0 for a lab, but you turned it in 2 days late, you would receive a grade of:  2.5 - (.50 * 2) = 1.5.

The penalty for late Iterations will be 1.0 point off for each 24-hour period the lab is late, through 4 days late (4*1.0 = 4.0).  After four days delay, the iteration deliverable will no longer be accepted for grading and will receive a 0.  Note:  As with labs, any penalty is taken off after the grade has been determined. 

NB:  The end of the quarter is the time at which the final grade you have earned through your work in the quarter is recorded with the registrar.  There is no extra credit offered in this course, either at the beginning or at the end.  If you are dissatisfied with the grade you have earned at the end of the quarter, your only options will be to retake the course the next time it is offered, or accept the grade you earned.

NB: The instructor reserves the right to alter the course contents, dates, times or percentage of credit based on time allowed and class progress through the course material. The instructor also reserves the right to curve grades if he deems it in the best interest of the majority of students.


The course project will be due for all teams on December 7, 2020 for all students.  The requirements for the course project are described here.

The following abbreviations reference the following works:
Abbreviation Text
Microservice Patterns, Richardson
Docker in Practice, Miell & Sayers
Docker Containers, Negus
Microservices in Action, Bruce & Pereira
Domain-Driven Design, Evans


Author & Title
Location (in addition to Mark's pub directory)
Sarah Mei, Why You Should Never Use MongoDB
Mark Cavage, There’s Just No Getting around It: You’re Building a Distributed System*
Michael Maccoby, "The Innovative Mind at Work" (IEEE Spectrum, Volume: 28, Issue: 12, 1991), pp. 23 - 35
Domain-Driven Design (Article)
Cade Metz, The Man Who Would Build a Computer the Size of the Entire Internet
Domain-Driven Design Quickly
Eric Evans:  DDD and Microservices, QCon London 2016
Dissertation, Chapter 5:  Representational State Transfer
Hodges, Notes on Distributed Systems for Young Bloods*
Sheehy, There is No Now*
Rotem-Gal-Oz, Fallacies of Distributed Computing Explained
Lamport, Why We Should Build Software Like We Build Houses
Mickens, The Saddest Moment
Marc Andreessen, Why Software is Eating the World

*Articles starred may be found on the cluster under my pub directory (~mark/pub/51205/required.reading).  All numbers below refer to chapters in texts, not pages, unless otherwise noted (as "pp. 1-99", for example).
Class/Date Lecture Topics Required Reading Schedule Activities and  Deliverables
Class 1
October 5
Course Introduction & Syllabus Review
Introduction to Course Project & Peer Grading

Introduction (Client-Server Background & Microservices Concepts)


MP 1-2

Team Formation Iteration
Class 2
October 12
Domain Driven Design Fundamentals
Designing Microservices

Microservices Continued: Architectural Considerations and the API Gateway
Evans 5-6, 14-15
MP: 3
MIA 2-3

Iteration I:  Initial Requirements Landscape
Class 3
October 19
RESTful APIs:   API First
Introduction and Testing with Postman

Introduction to Docker & Containers
Evans 7
MP 4
MIA 4-5


Lab 1 - Docker Intro

In-class Team Reviews with TAs:  Teams 1, 2 & 3
Class 4
October 26
Technology Foundations 1:  Synchronous Communication:  Remote Procedure Calls (RMI/gRPC) IP: 1-3
DC: 1-6
Evans: 8-13
MP 5-6
MIA 6-7
DIP: 5

Iteration II:  High Level Architecture & Team Update

Lab 2 - Docker RPC

In-class Team Reviews with TAs:  Teams 4, 5 & 6
Class 5
November 2

Technology Foundations 2:  Asynchronous Communication:  AMQP & RabbitMQ

DIP: 4
DC: 7-10

Iteration III:  Team Planning & Team Update

Lab 3 - Dockerized RabbitMQ
Class 6
November 9

NoSQL Data Storage with MongoDB

RIA 1-4, 8-10

Lab 4 - Dockerized MongoDB

Class 7
November 16
SQL Data Storage with PostgresSQL MIA 8-10
Evans: 16-17

Lab 5 - Dockerized PostgresSQL

November 23
Thanksgiving Break

Class 8
November 30
Preliminary Team Project Reviews (faculty only).  See schedule for time slots and rooms.

Instructions for Team Meetings with TAs

Iteration IV:  Team Planning & Team Update

Class 10
December 7
Final Team Project Presentations (presentations to entire class)

Instructions for Final Team Presentations

Team Final Project Presentations (click here for instructions)

Final Presentation Schedule

EVERYONE:  Sign up on Piazza here