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 Tuesday and Thursday from 1130 to 1250 in MC 4060. My office hours are TBD but will be held in DC 3351. Official administrative entry.

Important dates and information will be posted to @cs446.

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.

Course Scheduletop

The course is broadly broken down into three components:


The architecture component will comprise the first half of the course.
DateVideosSlidesIn Class
Jan 7
Introduction Lecture
Jan 9 Architecture intro Kitchen Design
Jan 14 Architectural views & decomposition System Decomposition
Jan 16 Non-functional properties NFP Alternatives
Jan 21 - - Game Show
Jan 23 - - Game Show
Jan 28 - Project proposals Project Proposals
Jan 30 Styles intro Feedback review
Feb 4
  • Client Server
  • Layered
  • Pipe & Filter
Architectural Styles (complete) Styles Schedule
Feb 6
  • Event Based
  • Peer to Peer
  • Publish Subscribe
- Styles Schedule
Feb 11
  • Mobile Code
  • Interpreter
  • Blackboard
- Styles Schedule
Feb 13 Arch for Security
Feb 18 - Reading Week -
Feb 20 - Reading Week -


The design component will comprise the second half of the course.
DateVideosSlidesIn Class
Feb 25 - Sample Midterm Midterm Review
Feb 27 - Design Introduction -
Mar 4 - Prototype Demos
  1. Spaceman
  2. Project Radius
  3. Eat Out!
  4. MoPhoCon
Mar 6 - Prototype Demos
  1. Broken Draw
  2. Kluster
  3. UW FLow
  4. Hack
  5. Buy My Book
Mar 11 - Design Patterns
  • Singleton
  • Adapter
  • Composite
Mar 13 - Design Patterns
  • Facade
  • Template Method
  • Observer
Mar 18 - Design Patterns
  • Command
  • Strategy
  • Visitor
Mar 20 - MVC / MVP -
Mar 25 - Dependency Injection
  • Dependency Injection
  • Open/Close Principle
Mar 27 - Cloud/REST Architectures
  • Composition vs. Inheritance
  • Cloud Architectures
  • REST Architectures
Apr 1 - Final Demo
  1. Project Radius
  2. Simple Draw
  3. HACK
  4. BuyMyBook
  5. Kluster
  6. MoPhoCon
    Apr 3 - Final Demo
    1. Spaceman
    2. Eat Out!
    3. UW Flow
    4. Project videos (Past examples)
    5. Project voting
    Apr 8 Final Exam 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM RCH 211


    The project forms an integral part of this course. The goal of the project is to produce a significant mobile app 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 at least two mobile platforms (from: iOS, Android, BB10, WP8, FirefoxOS); I have several BB10 devices that can be used; the library has iOS devices that can be signed out. While the app can work on tablets, the two demonstrated platforms _must_ be phone form factors.

    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 curated app stores (e.g., iOS App Store, Blackberry World, Windows Phone Store) 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 curated App Store
    NOTE: The expectation is that you will work approximately 12 hours per week on this course; at least 8 of these hours will be on the project. Given that the course lasts 13 weeks, each team member is expected to work on the project at least 100 hours. You should be able to accomplish something pretty great in this time; please make the most of this opportunity.


    Deliverable Date Format Value
    Design Impressions Jan 7 In Class Pass/Fail
    Project Groups Jan 14 E-Mail Pass/Fail
    D1: Proposal Presentations Jan 28 In Class (+ email) 5%
    D2: Prototype Demo Mar 4/6 In Class (+ email) 5%
    D3: Arch + Design Mar 21 Oral Exam (+ email) 30%
    D4: Presentation + Video April 1/3 In Class (+ email) 10%
    Final Exam April 8 7:30-10:00, RCH 211 50%

    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.

    Nominal Course 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.


    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).