Databases and Web Application Design

CSC 325
Grinnell College
Fall 2007
TTh 2:15 - 4:05, Science 3819
Instructor: Janet Davis (office hours as posted; contact me)


About this course

This course is an introduction to software develpment, focusing on web applications, for students with at least three semesters of programming experience including object-oriented design.

I have four primary learning goals for you in this course:

We will undertake these goals in parallel. However, the first half of the semester will focus on learning XP and learning new technologies, while the second half of the semester will focus on the project, along with developing additional skills and knowledge of interest to the class.


All of our textbooks are available through the Grinnell College Bookstore and online booksellers. (If you haven't figured this out already, note that technical books are often significantly cheaper online.)

In choosing textbooks, I aimed to select books intended for professionals rather than only for students. If you ever feel a book is assuming something you don't know, ask about it!



Part of being a professional is mastering your tools. However, the Ruby on Rails 3 Tutorial teaches just enough Ruby to get started with Rails. And unless the class elects to study Ruby in our "Tech Topics" towards the end of the semester, we won't be studying Ruby in class; instead, you'll be learning Ruby on your own.

Another part of being a professional is choosing your own resources to learn from. There are several highly rated introductions to Ruby, all similar in price. Therefore, rather than recommending a particular book, I'm letting you choose what you prefer. You can browse the books at the College Bookstore; I'll also lend my copies to the MathLAN Library.

Each book has a distinct approach and personality. Therefore, in listing the books below, I'll let each book speak for itself:

You may also want to look for screencasts or other online resources on the Ruby language. If you find something really good, please share it with the class.

Janet Davis (

Created August 25, 2012
Last revised September 11, 2012