Design and implement a web application

Aims: Design and implement a web application realising an online service of your choice (such as an online store, social media or web commerce platform).


Web development is at the core of a large number of software projects. Thus, it is nowadays a fundamental skill that computer scientists are expected to comprehend and be able to apply – if not to essentially dominate.  The main goal of the project is to develop a full-stack Web (online) application/service using state-of-the-art technologies and established best-practices. Example services include one of the following:

  • an online store, e.g. providing the ability to authenticate, post items for sale, choose items to buy, search, perform payments, etc.
  • a local exchange trading system, e.g. a system in which members of a community can exchange goods and services without the use of a conventional monetary currency.
  • a social media application.
  • an online tool for drawing and animating interactive diagrams (such as logic circuits, network graphs, or state machines), whose features include the creation/editing interface and the capability of exporting or embedding the diagrams easily into other web pages

Students may propose their own Web applications/service to implement. However, a clear scope (i.e. a set of expected, well-defined use cases) should be specified and approved by their supervisor prior to commencing the project.

The application’s design must follow an N-tier architectural pattern consisting of a web browser interface, Web and Application server layers and a Database.

The basic elements to be supported must include the application logic and user interface implemented using one of the existing web application technologies/platforms (such as PHP, Ruby on Rails, Django, JavaScript-based frameworks such as NodeJS, REACT, Angular etc.), a relational database schema equipped with sound constraints and designed according to the sound normalization rules, and the interaction mechanisms between the application logic and the database. It is expected that prior to selecting the concrete technologies to be used, an evaluation of the state-of-the-art options will be performed along a number of comparison criteria (e.g. overall set of capabilities, support for aspects such as concurrency, security, modularity, performance, UX practices). The student is expected to (i) adequately establish such criteria (ii) investigate and reflect on a number of candidate technologies and (iii) appropriately compare and justify the concrete choices made.

Advanced features may include supporting ACID transactions, comprehensive security/privacy analysis and advanced security mechanisms (such as protection against SQL injection attacks), using NoSQL data stores (such as MongoDB) to speed up user interaction while maintaining sound levels of transactional consistency, advanced UI features (such as push notifications), using emerging platforms (such as a blockchain), etc.

Early Deliverables

  1. A report describing the state-of-the-art of Web development, including technologies/frameworks/platforms and their comparison as described above. The report will also explain the concrete choices made and the respective rationale/justification from a software engineering perspective (i.e. a justification merely based on a skills learning perspective will not suffice)
  2. A report on Web development architectural paradigms and applicable design patterns, including an initial discussion of security, privacy and key-operational aspects and considerations (e.g. cloud deployments and DevOps aspects)
  3. A report describing the system to be implemented, including a comprehensive set of well-defined use cases (or user stories).
  4. A functional prototype implementation of the system, clearly demonstrating sound design principles and implementation practices (e.g. on DB design, on UI design and interaction).

Final Deliverables

  1. A fully functional software application, with an appropriate end-to-end architecture, applicable design patterns, using modern Web technologies and rigorous software engineering principles.
  2. Complete report, encompassing also relevant content (further explained/discussed) from the early deliverables reports.
  3. The report will describe the software engineering processes involved in generating your software.
  4. The report will include a User Manual.