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Blog Computing Science 3X - Professional Software Development 3 3/Jun/2004

I could go into all the background of this course, but I think Chris sums it up most lyrically, in his pæan to Ron and Phil. (His opinions in prose form are also available.)

As for the exam, the class convened as a whole for one last time, to sit an exam on Management, UML, Design Patterns, Re-engineering and Formal Methods, and with exactly half of the mark made up by coursework, the pressure was possibly not as great in this exam as on last Friday. It was certainly a big course, so many, if not most, opted to direct their study towards three of the four questions, and the split was as usual.

Question 1, which I can honestly say I didn't even read, seems to have had some marks for definitions of Software Engineering and Risk and a description of how Risk Management might be performed. A very verbose part (b) boiled down to having to create a Task Dependency table and draw a PERT chart, and I know that this will have cheered many. The "excitement" was saved for the final part, discussing Extreme Programming, which was probably the biggest anti-climax of the whole course.

Question 2 was involved with requirements analysis and design, positing a Call Centre scenario, and seeking a Use Case diagram, a couple of scenarios, a full Use Case (one must assume) with Activity Diagram, and a Sequence Diagram. This was a fair question, and I particularly liked it because it didn't ask us to talk about the diagrams and documents, rather we were creating them ourselves - a far more useful skill.

Question 3 was on the topic of Design Patterns, a topic about which I'm enthusiastic, even though that usually results in getting quizzical looks from my dear colleagues. A sketch about patterns, interfaces and polymorphism preceded a discussion of the Memento, Command and Objects for State patterns, which were fine and relatively unambiguous. I was puzzled, however, that the Objects for State question garnered nine marks, while Memento and Command together with a discussion of using them in concert was worth only seven, but I managed to fit them all into the time. Finally, the joker for this question was about COM and IDL, which had never before come up, and on which I certainly didn't concentrate as much as the patterns and UML.

Question 4 was standard, with an unusual bias towards Comprehension (not a topic that's come up in the past) and Re-engineering. The Z question was, as a consequence, slightly less detailed, and about Students attending Tutorials. As a fan of Formal Methods questions (if not the methods themselves), this was a little disappointing, but beggars can't be choosers.

And so this leaves us with but one to go. If you're expecting me to break off from tomorrow night's saturnalia to inform you about Interactive Systems, you're going to be very much mistaken....

Cheers,

Derek.

 
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