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PatternOriented Software Architectures Programming Mobile Services for Android Handheld Systems

Course Summary

In this course--the second in a trans-institution sequence of MOOCs on Mobile Cloud Computing with Android--we will learn how to apply patterns, pattern languages, and frameworks to alleviate the complexity of developing concurrent and networked services on mobile devices running Android that connect to popular cloud computing platforms.

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    Course Syllabus

    The course is organized into the following sections:

    • Section 0: Course Introduction
      • Part 1: Overview of Mobile Cloud Computing with Android
      • Part 2:Course Structure and Topics
      • Part 3: Course Prerequisites and Learning Strategies
      • Part 4: Overview of Patterns and Frameworks
    • Section 1: Android Concurrency
      • Module 1: Concurrency Motivations and Challenges
        • Part 1: Concurrency Motivations
        • Part 2: Concurrency Challenges
      • Module 2: Java Concurrency Mechanisms
        • Part 1: Overview of Java Threads (Part 1)
        • Part 2: Overview of Java Threads (Part 2)
        • Part 3: Motivating Java Synchronization & Scheduling Mechanisms
        • Part 4: Java Synchronization and Scheduling Classes
        • Part 5: Java ReentrantLock
        • Part 6: Java ReentrantReadWriteLock
        • Part 7: Java Semaphore
        • Part 8: Java ConditionObject
        • Part 9: Java CountDownLatch
        • Part 10: Java Synchronization and Scheduling Example
        • Part 11: Java Built-in Monitor Objects
      • Module 3: Android Concurrency Frameworks
        • Part 1: Overview of Android Concurrency Frameworks and Idioms
        • Part 2: Android Looper
        • Part 3: Overview of Android Handler
        • Part 4: Posting and Processing Runnables to Android Handler
        • Part 5: Sending and Handling Messages to Android Handler
        • Part 6: The AsyncTask Framework (Part 1)
        • Part 7: The AsyncTask Framework (Part 2)
        • Part 8: Programming with Android Concurrency Frameworks (Part 1)
        • Part 9: Programming with Android Concurrency Frameworks (Part 2)
    • Section 2: Android Services and Security
      • Module 1: Android Services and IPC
        • Part 1: Overview of Started and Bound Services
        • Part 2: Programming Started Services (Part 1)
        • Part 3: Programming Started Services (Part 2)
        • Part 4: Android IntentService
        • Part 5: Activity and Service Communication
        • Part 6: Service to Activity Communication Using Android Messenger
        • Part 7: Programming Bound Services with Messengers (Part 1)
        • Part 8: Programming Bound Services with Messengers (Part 2)
        • Part 9: Programming Bound Services with AIDL
      • Module 2: Android App Security and Risks
        • Part 1: Traditional App Accounts
        • Part 2: Mobile vs. Traditional App Accounts
        • Part 3: App Account Mapping to Linux Users
        • Part 4: Apps Lie & Steal
        • Part 5: How Android Protects Apps
        • Part 6: What Android Doesn't Protect
        • Part 7: Avoid Storing Sensitive Data in Public Locations
        • Part 8: Risks of Insecure File Permissions
      • Module 3: Building More Secure Android Apps
        • Part 0: The Challenge of Secure Coding
        • Part 1: Security Vulnerability Walkthrough
        • Part 2: Principles of Secure Abstractions
        • Part 3: Avoid Coupling Data & Security State
        • Part 4: Build Abstractions that are Hard to Use Insecurely
        • Part 5: Bound & Strongly Type Security State
        • Part 6: Avoid Conditional Logic in Secure Pathways
        • Part 7: Prevent Secure Pathways from Being Broken at Runtime
        • Part 8: Privilege Escalation Concepts
        • Part 9: Privilege Escalation Scenario
        • Part 10: Privilege Escalation Code Walkthrough
        • Part 11: Privilege Escalation Fixes
        • Part 12: User Interface Attacks
        • Part 13: Cross-platform User Interface Attacks
    • Section 3: Concurrency and Communication Patterns in Android
      • Module 1: Coordinating Concurrent Access to Shared Data
        • Part 1: The Monitor Object Pattern (Part 1)
        • Part 2: The Monitor Object Pattern (Part 2)
      • Module 2: Activating Services on Demand
        • Part 1: The Activator Pattern (Part 1)
        • Part 2: The Activator Pattern (Part 2)
      • Module 3: Passing Commands to Services
        • Part 1: The Command Processor Pattern (Part 1)
        • Part 2: The Command Processor Pattern (Part 2)
      • Module 4: Automating Marshaling and Demarshaling of Data
        • Part 1: The Proxy Pattern (Part 1)
        • Part 2: The Proxy Pattern (Part 2)
      • Module 5: Supporting Object-Oriented Remote Method Calls
        • Part 1: The Broker Pattern (Part 1)
        • Part 2: The Broker Pattern (Part 2)
      • Module 6: Decoupling Producers from Consumers
        • Part 1: The Publisher-Subscriber Pattern (Part 1)
        • Part 2: The Publisher-Subscriber Pattern (Part 2)
      • Module 7: Ensuring Only One Looper Per Thread
        • Part 1: The Thread-Specific Storage Pattern
      • Module 8: Passing Message Requests Between Threads
        • Part 1: The Active Object Pattern
      • Module 9: Decoupling Synchronous & Synchronous Processing
        • Part 1: the Half-Sync/Half-Async Pattern

    Throughout the MOOC we'll focus on pattern-oriented software architecture, with an emphasis on concurrent and networked programming in the context of Android middleware systems programming mechanisms, such as synchronous and asynchronous concurrency models, background service processing, storage and retrieval of structured data, and local inter-process communication (IPC) and networking. We illustrate by example how key pattern a

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    Recommended Background

    Ideally, students who take this course will be familiar with general object-oriented design and programming concepts (such as encapsulation, abstraction, polymorphism, extensibility, and the Unified Modeling Language (UML) ), fundamental object-oriented programming language features (such as classes, inheritance, dynamic binding, and generics available in Java, basic systems programming concepts (such as event handling, processes/threads, synchronization, interprocess communication, and dynamic linking), and networking terminology (such as client/server and peer-to-peer architectures, TCP/IP, and layering).  We will review object-oriented design, systems programming, and networking concepts and techniques, so students who understand how to read/write Java code examples should be fine.

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    Course Format

    The POSA MOOC is the second course in the Mobile Cloud Computing with Android (MoCCA) Specialization. It consists of lecture videos with integrated quiz questions designed to ensure students understand the material covered in the videos.  In recognition that not all students have the same learning objectives or available time, the POSA MOOC is offered at the following two levels of engagement:    

    • Normal Track – Estimated Time Commitment:  3 – 4 Hours Per Week. Students at this level will be assessed by weekly auto-graded standalone quizzes.  This track is designed for those who wish to engage the material by taking the auto-graded quizzes, as well as participating in the online discussion forums, but who may not have the time/interest to complete the auto-/peer-graded programming assignments.  
    • Distinction Track – Estimated Time Commitment: 8 – 12 Hours Per Week. In addition to completing the auto-graded weekly quizzes from the Normal Track, students in this track will also complete auto-/peer-graded programming assignments. These programming assignments will involve writing concurrent Android Services and Applications using its pattern-oriented frameworks written in Java, This track is designed for those students wishing to achieve mastery of the POSA MOOC material and to understand its application in realistic project context. 

    Students need not explicitly choose which of these two Tracks to take since Statement of Accomplishment will automatically be generated corresponding to the work students successfully perform in the POSA MOOC. In particular, the grading system will first assume the students are doing Distinction Track. If the students don't qualify for Distinction Track, the system will fallback to Normal Track grading, which grade only based on the quizzes, as discussed below. The final grade for the course will be calculated as follows:

    1. Weekly quizzes (Weighting: 100% for "Normal Track" and 30% for "Distinction Track")Each quiz will contain a number of equally-weighted questions. You will have until noon central time on the last day of the class (July 6th) to submit the quiz.  There will be roughly eight quizzes.
    2. Programming assignments (Weighting: 70% for "Distinction Track" and not applicable for "Normal Track")You will have N programming assignments (where N == 8) by the end of the course. You will have roughly 14 days to submit your solution. The total weekly assignment score will be 70% of the final course score for students taking the "Distinction Track". Each assignment will account for 1/Nth of the total programming assignment points, so it's possible to miss an assignment or two and still pass the class as long as you do well on the other assignments.  

    Statements of Accomplish

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    Suggested Reading

    Although the lectures are designed to be largely self-contained, it's recommended (but not required) that students refer to the following books:

    • Mark Murphy, The Busy Coder's Guide to Android Development, CommonsWare.
    • Goetz et al., Java Concurrency in Practice, Addison-Wesley, 2006.
    • Doug Lea, Concurrent Programming in Java, Prentice Hall, 1999.
    • Gamma et at., Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software, Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA, 1995.
    • Buschmann et al., Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture, Vol 1: A System of Patterns, Wiley and Sons, 1996.
    • Schmidt et al., Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture, Vol 2: Patterns for Concurrent and Networked Objects, Wiley and Sons, 2000.
    • Buschmann et al., Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture:, Vol 4: A Pattern Language for Distributed Computing, Wiley and Sons, 2007.
    • Buschmann et al., Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture, Vol 5 On Patterns and Pattern Langauges, Wiley and Sons, 2007.

    Much of this material is available online.

Course Fee:

Course Type:


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1 - 4 hours / week

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