News

Sept 22: Four-panel storyboard task.
Sept 22: Hybrid setup report.
Sept 20 Day One -- What each team needs to prepare for the first day of class!

When

TTh 11am - 12:20am

Where

Tech M152

Who

Chris Riesbeck

Resources

Important To get a permission number for this course for Fall 2016, you need to do two things. (1) fill in the prior experience survey , (2) email me a request for a permission number afterwards.
Note: You must be logged into your u.northwestern.edu Gmail account to access the survey.

This is a class about learning to develop HTML5 mobile and web app products using modern sustainable practices that deliver value as quickly as possible to users, clients, developers, and the development organization. These practices usually go under the name of "agile" or "lean agile."

This course is not recommended for first and second year undergraduates. It assumes significant prior programming experience, in multiple languages, and, even better, some industry experience.

This course is about much more than programming. It's about software development. It's about delivering high quality code early and often. It's about being efficient, using modern lean agile practices. It's about constant reflective analysis and improvement.

What you'll be doing a lot of in the next 10 weeks:

Required Meetings

This class involves a great deal of work with your team, your client and me. That means frequent face to face meetings. These are a requirement of the course. If you have trouble committing to the meetings below, contact me now. You may need to drop the course.

All meetings should lead directly to deliverables, designs for deliverables, or specific steps to take to improve your development process. If a meeting doesn't do this, it was a waste of time.

Grading

80% of your grade is your team grade, adjusted if necessary by your level of contribution. The team grade is based on how the team managed and improved over both the team and client projects, in terms of delivering value every week, and managing expectations through frequent and clear communication. Most teams do just fine on this part and get the full 80%, but it takes work. A client should never be disappointed or surprised with what they get, because a good team keeps the client accurately informed about what's doable and why.

Your individual share of the team scores is affected by the level of your contribution to the project as determined by CATME reviews. Four CATME reviews are done, at the middle and end of each project, but only the end of project numbers are used. Contribution higher or lower than 1.0 will modify your share of the team grade. Note that CATME deliberately caps contribution at 1.05, so as not to reward over-achievers taking control of a project. In practice, CATME has a very small effect on most people, except in cases where someone repeatedly and significantly fails to contribute.

The other 20% comes from your ability to demonstrate to me your individual ability to apply agile thinking creatively and appropriately to real world development issues. This year, as an experiment, the bulk of this grade will come from the weekly retrospective reports. Your retrospective grade is the sum of your top 4 scores. This will be added to your team score.

Programming Requirements

Substantial prior programming experience is required. I assume you already know or can quickly get up to speed with

The class discussions and assignments focus on development processes, not programming technology. Work is done in teams but all team members are responsible for all parts of the application.

Prior mobile development experience is not required. The ability to pick it up on your own is.

Development computer:

You need to have either a Mac, PC, or Linux machine suitable for software development, with plenty of memory and gigabytes of disk space. Laptops are best because they can be brought to the meetings to do demos and development.

Textbook

Required

The text for agile software development is The Agile Samurai by Jonathan Rasmusson. Don't be fooled by the casual style. This is a sound introduction to agile software development, by a developer for developers.

Recommended

The web will be a primary resource for technical details on HTML5, CSS and Javascript, but if this is new to you, I recommend getting a good book, such as Build Mobile: websites and apps for smart devices

Tools

The following tools are either required, or have proved very very useful to previous teams in this course.

Mobile Hybrid Apps

There are three kinds of mobile apps: native, web, and hybrid. We do not do native apps in this class, because

Because this is about rapid iterated development and testing, all apps are either hybrid or mobile web. Such apps

Hybrid apps provide access to the device, such as camera, contacts, and so on. To be prepared for the client project, which might need such features, the team project must be hybrid, even if your app idea doesn't really require it.

The client project can be mobile web, if that's all that's required.

Each team must agree on which of the following hybrid frameworks they will use: Appgyver Supersonic framework or Ionic.

Both frameworks assume you will be using Angular for your JavaScript code. This has a substantial learning curve. Both frameworks have a live reload feature. Supersonic does this with a a Scanner app and an automatically generated deployment web page, that makes it very easy for clients to get and test your app.

Ionic creates single-page apps. Supersonic uses a multi-page approach. It claims this performs better.

Caution: To deploy hybrid apps as standalone apps, which must be done to support push notifications: