Techniques and Technologies Multiple Chapters

Pages: 15 (4860 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 21  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Education - Computers

¶ … software engineering requires a decent knowledge of software development approaches along with the related tools which make them work. This section presents a study of three software methodologies namely the waterfall model, the unified software development process using UML and prototyping. This includes a description of how they function and their major features which make some of them better than the other.

The waterfall model was among the earliest process models brought into use and applied at different areas of software engineering projects. It involves the breakdown of the overall development into distinct phases. Each of these stages flow into the next one as and when the objective of a particular stage is accomplished. The basic stages of the waterfall method are Requirement analysis and definition, System Design, Implementation & Unit Testing, Integration & system testing and Operations & Maintenance. (The Waterfall Model explained)Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Multiple Chapters on Techniques and Technologies Assignment

In most instances of software development life cycle models, the software development follows an organized pattern with stages such as planning, testing, documentation etc. Everything is expected to work as decided. Models such as the waterfall model follow this approach, which does have its good points. However they are directed mostly towards the developers rather than the consumers. It eliminates the option of introducing changes in the final product before releasing them into the market. Prototyping, as suggested by its name, works on creating a model or prototype of the actual system in operation. This model works based on how the end users respond to the product and developing prototypes one after the other until the final version comes out to be perfect. It starts from a concept and updates are incorporated into the software in real time. Users have the option to test the workability of the software and suggest further updates. This is unlike the waterfall method which allows an option to provide feedback only at the end. This usually leads to a waste of resources when the focus rolls back to the point where an issue might have shown up (What is Prototyping). There are several types of prototype models with their own set of characteristics. The Patch up prototype model has different developers working on different portions of the program assigned specifically to them. Their results are then combined creating a new result and saves time as well. The Non-operational prototype model is applied in a situation where only a section of the process might require changes. New functionalities can be tested using a prototype used as a dummy followed by their inclusion in the main program. The first of a series or beta version prototype model can be defined as the introduction of the entire application in its completed form, with the aim of gathering feedbacks. It is pretty efficient in checking out dysfunctional areas which of the software which need to be improved. The Selected features prototype model is a modified version of the beta model where the public get access to pre-specified portions of the software. It works just as well as the beta approach but is geared towards softwares which are a part of a larger family (SDLC-Prototype Model).

The existence of strong management and a defined approach are what differentiate the successful projects from the ones which fail. The unified software development process is one of the most effective models in existence which has resulted from several years of hard work. It is a general framework which is applicable over different kinds of systems, organizations and levels of proficiency. It is a component based approach which uses interfaces to join the components together. It uses the Unified Modeling Language or UML to design the software system. It is run by use cases with a focus on the architecture with increments and iterations involved in different stages. These are the main concepts which define the efficiency of the model. A use case is a system utility which provides the user with a discrete result or value. They aim at assimilating the functional requirements of the system and combine together to produce the use-case model. There are four main sections of the unified software development process using UML. The inception phase, which is usually short, justifies the purpose of the project and the limitations which it needs to adhere to. The elaboration phase points out the risk factors and identifies the parts of the architecture susceptible to those risks. It involves the design of use case diagrams and related architectural diagrams. The construction phase, which is the largest section of the project, uses the groundwork already established by the Elaboration system. Features are applied in an iterative manner, producing a workable version of the software. It uses a lot of UML in the form of Sequence diagrams, Activity diagrams and Collaboration diagrams. The last stage of the unified model is known as the transition phase where the system is finalized based on the responses received from the end users and then released officially for everyone to use (Jacobson & Rumbaugh 1999, pp. 3-13).

In most practical applications, a combination of the unified software development process using UML and prototyping is recommended over the waterfall model. The main reason being that it is impossible to complete a particular stage perfectly, prior to moving on to the next. There are quite a few complaints registered against this model. It demonstrates a lack of flexibility with regards to the software development process for the client. Clients would usually end up altering their previously stated requirements. This tends to make the initial stages of the waterfall model prove unrealistic. The stages need to be easy enough to adjust to changes in the requirements. Understanding the needs of each stage accurately requires highly experienced professionals. In most practical situations, it is hard to get the idea before spending a decent amount of time dealing with a particular stage. Execution of each stage requires developers to validate the workability of the stages. Hence the waterfall method requires each stage to go through multiple forms of testing, even though some argue how this might not be required with an organized approach. Assessment of the costs and time needed for each stage can prove to be pretty hard considering the variety of factors involved. There are no formally defined methods of controlling the project planning. The absence of inbuilt risk management techniques is a major flaw in the waterfall model. Breaking down the cycle into separate phases implies that the personnel assigned for the project have different areas of expertise. This would mean that a section of the workforce would not be active when the phase of their expertise is not in action. (What is the waterfall model)

Incorporating the features of the unified software development process using UML along with the prototyping model allows for their advantages to combined. Maintaining efficient time frame of software development is one of the main features of the prototyping model. It lays more stress on producing the final software instead of preparing the documentation. It eliminates the delays which could show up in creating the document and hastens the release of the complete product. The entire work of the prototype model can be distributed among the developers. The absence of a large number of stages cuts down inactivity and wastage of man hours. Everyone is involved in the main work at the same time. It allows developers to have the choice of interacting with each other with regards to the current standing of a particular functionality so that their opinions can be combined to introduce the necessary changes. The use of feedbacks in the prototype model is another significant advantage. It lets users to voice their opinions on what they think about a particular prototype of the software. The meaningful suggestions can be taken into consideration so that critical errors can be removed (Advantages of Prototyping).

Prototyping reduces the chances of over designing a model. Over design occurs when the additional functionalities of a software overrides the main purpose of the software. It focuses on what was originally expected from the software. It eliminates the reliance over what is mentioned in the documentation, which is a feature of most of the other software development lifecycle models. Direct communication with the customer reveals their practical needs. This results in more resources being allocated to them rather than on the theory mentioned in the document (Advantages of Prototyping).

This unified software development process, unlike the others pursues the workflow of the system obtained from use cases. The software architecture covers the major static and dynamic characteristics of the system. The architecture directs the development based on the needs of the organization, guided by those whose resources are at stake and the end users. Use cases (representing the form) relate to the architecture (representing the function) in order to produce the expected results. The unified software development process follows a practical method where the work is segregated into mini projects. Iterations consider specific use cases which define the current state of… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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