The University of Manchester, established in 1824.                                                                         School of Computer Science

COMP00900 Foundation Year Project - Computer Science Project 2017/18

Project title:
Markup Languages and Scripting
Time and Room:
Mondays 13:00 - 16:00 in Tootil11 (first meeting: Jan. 29th)
Supervisor/Tutor:
Dirk Koch
Last updated: 17th September 2018

Aims

The main aim of this project is to introduce you to the discipline of Computer Science and the role of Computer Science at the University of Manchester.

The generic objectives and deliverables (ICT skills, finding information, writing reports, making presentations, etc.) are important, but much more important is to show you how Computer Science differs from other disciplines, and also from some of your previous computing experiences (e.g. using Microsoft Windows and Office, or playing computer games).

In particular, Computer Science is about creating applications, rather than just using them, so it involves a lot of practical work. You have to be able to analyse and research a problem, and then design, implement and validate a solution. Usually, this means using computer languages to create or modify programs, but it can also involve building hardware, and being aware of the limitations of the hardware and software platforms that you are using. It also usually involves using much more specialised and powerful tools than ordinary users.

Because of this, we will include some scripting i.e. simple programming, as programming is central to the discipline of Computer Science, and it would not be realistic to avoid it completely, despite the difficulty of doing anything significant in the time available.

We also want you to develop your intellectual skills (e.g. to be able to compare alternatives to select the best in a given context) and professionalism (e.g. to be aware of the range of possible alternatives, or at least be able to find out about them).

Markup Languages

Formal languages play an important part in Computer Science - for example, programming languages such as Java, Basic, Pascal, C and Python. You will be learning programming using Java next year. For this course-unit, we want to look at some simpler computer languages, known as "Markup Languages", such as RTF, HTML, XML, and LaTeX.

These are not normally used to write programs, but are instead used to describe the purpose of chunks of text - this is a section heading, that is a paragraph, these make up a list, and so on. Various programs, such as browsers and document processors, can then be used to convert these marked-up texts into nicely-formatted documents for humans to read.

This project consists in the main of you finding out about and using two different markup languages: HTML and LaTeX.

Organisation

You will work in groups of 3 or 4 for most of the project.

Formally, in semester 2 you will be expected to attend in the School of Computer Science each week to further your work and to discuss your progress with us.
This will happen during our Monday tutorial sessions in "Tootill 1".

Informally, you can use the Computer Science PCs at any time, as long as you can find a spare seat. There are three main sets of rooms you can use: the Linux lab (LF31), the Tootill labs (LF9), and the Ground-Floor lab (G23). (Kilburn building 39)

Activities & Tasks

These are the provisional activities, but are not necessarily listed in the right order. For the purposes of the plan you make in semester 1, you will want to consider what would be a sensible order.

Throughout the actual project in semester 2, you should keep track about your project plan and make adjustments, if needed

For the various documents and web-pages, and especially your project report and presentation, remember that: