BMI219 Software Tools

Conrad Huang

April 3, 2017

What Are We Doing?

  • Developing a web application as a team
    • Application
      • Web site providing access to the contents of a database
    • Target audience
      • Web visitors who may know nothing about our app
    • Team
      • Several members with different roles

What's a Web Application?

  • A web application is a web page displayed in a browser that provides interactive response to the user by exchanging information with a server and updating the display.
web appliction architecture

What Do We Need?

What More Do We Need To Do?

  • Supply content
  • Web pages
    • Static web pages
    • Dynamic web pages
      • "Dynamic" = changes in response to user actions
  • Server-side scripts supporting dynamic web pages
    • Pull entries from database
    • Generate content directly displayed in dynamic web pages
    • Generate raw data post-processed by dynamic web page
  • You will write all this

How Do We Create the Content?

  • Create web pages displayed by browser
    • Use HTML for static content
    • Use HTML and JavaScript for dynamic content
  • Write Python scripts to support dynamic content
    • Parse request using Common Gateway Interface (CGI)
    • Access database using SQL interface
    • Generate response in HTML or XML

What Will Lectures Cover?

  • Tuesday: Linux tools (for development on plato cluster)
  • Wednesday: Data modeling (for organizing data)
  • Thursday: Relational database (for storing and accessing data)
  • Monday: HTML (for writing static web pages)
  • Tuesday: Javascript (for writing dynamic web pages)
  • Thursday: CGI (for writing server-side scripts)
  • Friday: Regular expressions + lab time
  • Monday: Testing, Debugging and Optimization
  • Tueday: Security + lab time

Course Projects

  • Starting thinking about projects early
  • Choose a project with your teammates
  • Use lab time for project-related experiments
    • Data modeling and database this week
    • Web pages next Wednesday
    • CGI scripts next Friday

Project Development

  • Communications (with developers and users)
    • Formalize requirements and specifications
    • Write and review design documents (e.g., database schema)
    • Propose changes
    • Report and track problems
    • Announce releases for users
    • Get feedback from users
  • Code Development
    • Determine requirements and specification
    • Design
    • Code
    • Revise
    • Test
    • Publish
    • Repeat


  • Production web site
    • A stable site for end users
      • Access to database contents
      • Project description
      • Feedback and issue tracking
    • Created from tested source


  • Test sites
    • Multiple test sites (per feature, per developer)
    • Separate from production site
  • Source code version control
    • History for all source
      • Track when and why changes were made
      • Compare against previous (working) versions
      • Recover previous versions
    • Multiple branches (production, candidate, development)
    • Controlled update
      • Merge changes from multiple developers
      • Create production release from tested source

Tools Supporting Communications

  • Developer requirements
    • Design documents, proposed changes, issue tracking
  • End user requirements
    • Announcements, examples, release notes
    • Feedback (issues, suggestions)
  • Common tools
    • E-mail
    • Wiki
    • Issue tracking system
  • We use Trac for the latter two
    • Ease of creating and finding documents and reports
    • History of updates
    • Help answer questions
      • Why did we add this feature?
      • When was this bug report files?
      • When was it fixed and who did it?
    • Bonus: web access to version control repository

Tools Supporting Code Development

Development and Maintenance Tools