SE2 logo: Software Design and Architecture

SE2: Software Design and Architecture is the second course of the three software engineering capstone project courses, offered jointly by the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo.

SE2 is offered under course codes CS446, SE464, and ECE452.

Lectures are held Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 0830 to 0920 in MC 4041. My office hours are TBD but will be held in DC 3351. Official administrative entry.

Important dates and information will be posted to the course twitter feed.

While the course does not have a required textbook, much of the materials will be sourced from the first two texts; additional books are supplementary.

  • Richard N. Taylor, Nenad Medvidovic, and Eric Dashofy. Software Architecture. Foundations, Theory, and Practice. Available in the library or for purchase (e.g., through Slides for this book are available online.
  • Ian Gorton. Essential Software Architecture. Available online or for purchase (e.g., through Slides for this book are available online.
  • Fred P. Brooks Jr. The Mythical Man Month. Available in the library or for purchase (e.g., through
  • Fred P. Brooks Jr. The Design of Design. Unfortunately not in the library but still available through


The best way to get help is via email. You can reach me at rth.se2(at)gmail. Please try not to leave your questions until the last minute.

Nominal Outlinetop

This is the high-level outline provided by the department; while this is general guideline the course will be adjusted according to your feedback, interests, and experience.

Introduction (1h)

Why design? Input, output, and constraints of the design process. Types of design. Relationship to software quality and evolution. Design in more mature implementation technologies.

Software Design Process Models (3h)

Design as search. Design spaces. Design state, goal structure, generative design operations, early quantitative evaluations, control of design process. Basic models of design (transformational, plan/architecture driven). Relationship to other life-cycle activities.

Arch/Design Representations (9h)

What should be represented (structure, behaviour)? Informal representations of design, examples of design notations. Formal representation of design. Domain specific architecture descriptions. Role of standards, reference architectures. Design documentation.

Design Plans/Arch (9h)

Review of small/medium scale plans (data structures, programming language structures, concurrency). Plans/architectures for common types of software systems (translators, embedded, real-time, user interface).

Design Strategies and Methods (6h)

Design strategies. Selected methods: object modelling technique, structured design, real-time, user interfaces. Methods for design with off-the-shelf components.

Design Assessment (3h)

Assessment dimensions and factors affecting their relative importance. Design tradeoffs. Evolvability/understandability criteria. Design complexity metrics. Assessment strategies (analytical, simulation, rapid prototyping), example: response time/throughput estimation.

Design Verification (3h)

Design reviews, scenarios and test cases, testing of executable design representations. Verification of properties.

Tentative Course Scheduletop

It is important to note that this schedule is very susceptible to change based on your interests and how the class is progressing.

Monday Jan 7 - Introduction & project description

Wednesday Jan 9 - Kitchen design activity

Friday Jan 11 - Architecture introduction

Monday Jan 14 - RIM Guest Lecture

Wednesday Jan 16 - Architecture Basics

Friday Jan 18 - Views and NFPs

Monday Jan 21 - Proposal presentations

Deliverable #1 (proposal description) due @ 0800. [Deliverable details]
Presentation order listed below:
  1. Chain
  2. B Smart
  3. DrinkIt
  4. Lazy Scholar
  5. Point (2% bonus)
  6. Closer
  7. Friend Tracker
  8. Demention
  9. Of Course (2% bonus)
[Pitch slides]

Wednesday Jan 23 - Arch Styles

Friday Jan 25 - Arch Styles

Monday Jan 28 - Arch Styles

See Jan 25 Slides

Wednesday Jan 30 - Arch Styles

See Jan 25 Slides

Friday Feb 1 - Arch of LLVM & Audacity

Monday Feb 4 - Arch Style Review / D2

See Jan 25 Slides

Wednesday Feb 6 - Arch representations

Friday Feb 8 - Snow Day

Monday Feb 11 - Design Qualities

Deliverable #2 (project architecture) due @ 0800. [Deliverable details]

Wednesday Feb 13 - Design Pattern Intro

See Feb 11 Slides

Friday Feb 15 - Design Patterns (Singleton)

Monday Feb 18 - No class (reading week)

Wednesday Feb 20 - No class (reading week)

Friday Feb 22 - No class (reading week)

Monday Feb 25 - Design patterns (Adapter & Facade)

Deliverable #3 (project prototype) due @ 0800. [Deliverable details] See Feb 15 Slides

Wednesday Feb 27 - Prototype demos

  1. Closer
  2. Chain
  3. Friend tracker
  4. Drink It
  5. Of Course

Friday Mar 1 - Prototype demos

  1. BSmart
  2. Demention (2% most complete bonus)
  3. Point
  4. Lazy Scholar

Monday Mar 4 - Design Patterns (Template Method & Strategy)

See Feb 15 Slides

Wednesday Mar 6 - Design Patterns (Command)

See Feb 15 Slides

Friday Mar 8 - Design Patterns (Observer & Composite), Design Principles

See Feb 15 Slides

Monday Mar 11 - Cloning designs (Wei)

Wednesday Mar 13 - Designing for Testability (Laura)

Friday Mar 15 - Class Cancelled

Monday Mar 18 - Architecture in Practice (Chrome)

Deliverable #4 @ 0800 via email. [Deliverable Details] [Lecture Notes]

Wednesday Mar 20 - MVP/MVC + Dependency Injection

Friday Mar 22 - Cloud Architectures

Monday Mar 25 - Activity (please be on time!)

Wednesday Mar 27 - Activity (please be on time!)

Friday Mar 29 - No class (Good Friday)

Monday Apr 1 - Final Presentations

Deliverable #6 @ 0800 via email. [Deliverable Details]
  1. Point
  2. Lazy Scholar
  3. Scary Game

Wednesday Apr 3 - Final Presentations

  1. BSmart
  2. DrinkIt
  3. Don't Break the Chain

Friday Apr 5 - Final Presentations

Deliverable #7 @ 0800 via email. [Deliverable Details]
  1. Closer
  2. Friend Tracker
  3. OfCouse (2% best app bonus)


The project forms an integral part of this course. The goal of the project is to produce a significant piece of software that performs some useful function. This software must have a considered and defensible design and architecture. There are only two real restrictions on the app idea itself: no database management apps will be accepted (e.g., simple CRUD apps that do not make sense in a mobile context); also, apps that require crowd buy-in are not acceptable (e.g., apps that would require large numbers of people to contribute content to be viably useful).

Your app must be executable on the BB10 Dev Alpha device; one device will be provided to each team. This device must be returned at the end of the course. You are free to use any of the BB10-compatible development platforms (these are listed online). Please choose the platform that best matches the needs of your app. You will be asked in the architecture deliverable to rationalize your platform choice.

The projects will be completed in teams of four. You are free to select your own team; if you do not have a team or your team has less than four members, please talk to me and I will set you up. Each of the deliverables for the project can be considered assignments. Bonus points will be awarded to teams who are able to get their app accepted into Blackberry World by the time the final exam period ends.

Projects will have a difficulty scale applied to them by the instructor and TAs. The scale formula will be:

(project + bonus) * scale = final project grade
Scale will range between 0.75 and 1.0. The components of the scaling mark will be determined by:
  • 5: completeness (compared to proposal)
  • 5: utility
  • 5: polish
  • 10: difficulty
There will also be various sources of bonus marks during the term; each will be worth 2%:
  • Best pitch
  • Best prototype demo
  • Best final demo
  • Accepted to Blackberry World


Design Impressions: Pass/Fail

Deliverable #1: Project proposalPass/Fail

Deliverable #2: Project architecture20%

Deliverable #3: Project prototype demonstrationPass/Fail

Deliverable #4: Project design20%

Deliverable #5: Project implementationPass/Pass (cancelled)

Deliverable #6: Project presentation10%

Deliverable #7: Project technical tutorial10%

Sample Mid-Term: 0%

Final: 40%

You must pass the final exam and all pass/fail assignments to pass the course.

Graduate Student Projecttop

For graduate students only: in addition to the mobile project, you will perform an individual graduate project. The graduate project is worth 25% of your grade; this will come by compressing the value of your final and project grade to 75% of your total mark.

Three types of graduate projects are possible:

  1. Build a Software Tool:

    The goal of this style of project is to identify some problem developers encounter in practice, find some solution, and validate that the solution helps with the initial problem. I would recommend drawing upon your experience as you write code to identify some problem that has inhibited you in the past and fix it.

    The outcome of this project will be a short (5-6 page) paper describing the problem, your solution, a comparison to related approaches, and some form of validation.

  2. Literature Survey:

    The goal of this kind of project is to gain a more complete understanding of a topic relevant to this course. The outcome of this project will be a critical summary of the state-of-the-art on your selected topic; this summary should be 8-10 pages. It is essential that this summary synthesizes the surveyed literature to identify important themes, findings, and open questions.

  3. Use an Advanced Software Development Tool

    The goal of this project is to provide a validation of some previously-existing development tool from the research community. The tool you validate must be related to the course material. The outcome of this project will be a 6-8 page paper describing your experience with the tool outlining its strengths, weaknesses, and avenues for future improvement.

There are two deliverables for the graduate project:

  1. Project proposal. Before you undertake your project you will need to submit a proposal for approval. The proposal should be short (1-2 pages in ACM format). The proposal should include a problem statement, the motivation for the project, a set of objectives you aim to accomplish, and a set of milestones. I will read these and provide comments. The proposal is not for marks but _must_ be completed in order to pass the course. This will be due on October 3 @ 0800 via email.
  2. Written report. The required length of the written report varies from project to project; all reports must be formatted according to the ACM format and submitted as a PDF. This artifact will constitute 100% of the graduate project grade. This will be due on December 05 @ 0800 via email.


Academic Integrity

  • In order to maintain a culture of academic integrity, members of the University of Waterloo community are expected to promote honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility. [See the academic integrity site for more information.]


  • A student who believes that a decision affecting some aspect of his/her university life has been unfair or unreasonable may have grounds for initiating a grievance. Read Policy 70, Student Petitions and Grievances, Section 4.
  • When in doubt please be certain to contact the department’s administrative assistant who will provide further assistance.


  • A student is expected to know what constitutes academic integrity to avoid committing an academic offence, and to take responsibility for his/her actions.
  • A student who is unsure whether an action constitutes an offence, or who needs help in learning how to avoid offences (e.g., plagiarism, cheating) or about “rules” for group work/collaboration should seek guidance from the course instructor, academic advisor, or the undergraduate Associate Dean.
  • For information on categories of offences and types of penalties, students should refer to Policy 71, Student Discipline.
  • For typical penalties check Guidelines for the Assessment of Penalties.


  • A decision made or penalty imposed under Policy 70 (Student Petitions and Grievances) (other than a petition) or Policy 71 (Student Discipline) may be appealed if there is a ground.
  • A student who believes he/she has a ground for an appeal should refer to Policy 72 (Student Appeals).