CS144: Web Applications – Spring 2021


Time and Place



Discussion Sessions

Course Description

Developing today’s Web applications requires knowledge of a number of diverse topics, including the basic Web architecture, core Web standards (such as HTTP, HTML, CSS), JavaScript, asynchronous and functional programming, internet security, and cluster-based scalable architecture. Traditionally, these topics have been taught in different subdisciplines of computer science, so students had to take a fair number of courses to learn the basic concepts necessary to build effective and safe Web applications. The goal of this class is to teach students the most important concepts and give them first-hand experience with the basic tools for developing Web applications.

The topics covered in the class include:

To help students digest the materials learned in the class, we will assign a quarter-long class project (which will be divided into multiple submissions), in which students have to build a Web site that allows users to write and publish blogs (a.k.a., mini WordPress) The software tools and development environment will be provided on the class Web site.


CS143 is a required prerequisite to this class. In particular, students must know:

Students should have access to a computer on which they can install software packages.


The class does not have a required textbook, but students may find the following books helpful for reference and in-depth learning:

We will also provide pointers to relevant online/offline materials as the class progresses.


All students must join and utilize the CS144 at Campuswire by registering at https://campuswire.com/p/GD2B6423B (Verification code: 6323). Campuswire will be the primary channel for students to ask course and project-related questions and for others, including the TA, to answer them. Note that some of your questions may have already been discussed and answered by others, so please search the board first before asking a question. You are responsible for all your posts on Campuswire. Thus, please do NOT post any content that might be considered as a violation of honor codes, such as your source code to the project. If you have any doubt or concern, please ASK the TA/lecturer before posting it.


All course assignments will be administered via GradeScope. Please ensure that you are registered at CS144 on GradeScope.


The final grade will be assigned 100% based on projects this quarter.


Your project is to build an online Web site that allows users to post blog entries written in markdown. Over the quarter, your will need to implement the Web site twice, once using a more “traditional” stack based on MySQL and Apache Tomcat, and once more using a “modern” stack based on MongoDB, Node.js, Express, and Angular (a.k.a. MEAN stack). Through this project, you will get familiar with the following software tools:

System and Programming Issues

In order to minimize the installation and configuration hassle, we will provide “Docker container images” that include all necessary software packages needed for the project. All your development should be done inside a “virtual environment” (a.k.a. container) created by our image. In order to run the provided container, you will need a fairly-equipped machine, with at least 4GB of main memory and 10GB of free hard disk space.

The first two projects will be done primarily in Java on Apache Tomcat, while later projects will be done in Javascript on the MEAN stack. Even now, Java is one of the most popular methods used in the enterprise setting for server-side projects, so we want our students to be familiar with the language. Then in later projects, students will primarily develop in Javascript on the MEAN stack, a Web development stack that has become hugely popular in the last few years.

We will assume that students are already proficient with SQL and Java or able to learn them quickly. For those of you who haven’t done much Java programming before, please note that the syntax and the programming model of Java is very similar to C++. As long as you are a proficient C++ programmer, even without much prior Java experience, we expect that you can finish our first projects in a reasonable amount of time. We do NOT assume any experience in Javascript programming. Later projects that are based on Javascript will be done only after we learn Javascript in the class.

Project Parts

The project is broken into five parts and you will have roughly two weeks for each project part except Project 5.

Late Submission Policy

To accommodate the emergencies that a student may encounter, each student has a 4-day grace period for late submission to use throughout the quarter. The grace period can be used for any part of the project in the unit of one day. For example, a student may use 1-day grace period for part 1 and 2-day grace period for part 3. Any single project part may not be more than 2-days late. Note that the grace period can be used in the unit of one day. Even if a student submits a project 12 hours late, he/she needs to use a full-day grace period to avoid the late penalty.

Once you run out of your four grace days, we will start applying exponential penalty and take off of the assignment’s value, where is the number of late days of your submission. Again, any single project part may not be more than 2-days late.


Since the final grade will be assigned purely based on projects, all projects should be done individually. It is OK to discuss with others on how to implement different parts of the projects, but explicit code should never be shared between students.

Academic Integrity

At http://www.deanofstudents.ucla.edu/Academic-Integrity, the Office of the Dean of Students presents University policy on academic integrity, with special attention to cheating, plagiarism, and student discipline. The policy summaries don’t specifically address programming assignments in detail, so we state our policy here. In order to earn any points on your coursework, you must turn in this signed agreement.

Each of you is expected to submit your own original work. On many occasions it may be useful and have an educational value to ask others (the instructor, the TA, or other students) for hints or help, or to talk generally about programming strategies. Such activity is both acceptable and encouraged, but you indicate any assistance (human or otherwise) that you received and provide explicit citation to any materials that were not produced by yourself. Any assistance received that is not given proper citation will be considered plagiarism. In addition, to avoid unintended sharing and copying of your work, publishing your work on a public repository, such as public GitHub, is strictly prohibited.

So where do we draw the line? We’ll decide each case on its merits, but here are some categorizations:



In any event, you are responsible for coding, understanding, and being able to explain on your own or as a team all project work that you submit.

Be especially careful about giving a copy of your work to a friend who “just wants to look at it to get some ideas.” Frequently, that friend ends up panicking and simply copies your work, thus betraying you and putting you through the hassle of an academic discipline hearing.

You must abide by this policy in addition to the policies expressed in the UCLA Student Conduct Code.

If a violation of the policies is suspected, in accordance with University procedures, we will have to submit the case to the Dean. A typical penalty for a first plagiarism offense is suspension for one or more quarters. A second offense usually results in dismissal from the University of California.

If you have any questions about this policy or about the degree to which we will pursue academic honesty violations, please discuss your concerns with the course staff immediately.


Since this class is offered online, we are likely to experience a few glitches and hiccups. Please bear with us in addressing challenges that we encounter along the way. If you have any suggestions on how to make the online class better, please do not hesitate to let us know. You are likely to know more online tools that the instructor and/or the TAs. If there is anything that we can learn from you, we would love to learn.