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Software Specification Tools

Software Specification Tools



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Published by jennyrosesison
Lesson 5
Software Specification Tools
Lesson 5
Software Specification Tools

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Published by: jennyrosesison on Aug 30, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Lesson 5
ASE tools turn traditional systems approaches upside down. The set of software known as CASE – for computer-aidedsoftware engineering – tools goes beyond the concept of prototyping and has become a significant factor in thedevelopment of systems. CASE tools provide an automated meansof designing and changing systems. In fact, integrated CASE toolscan automate most of the systems development life cycle.
CASE software is available for personal computers. The systemsanalyst can produce designs right on the computer screen. Thus, akey ingredient of a package of CASE tools is a graphics interface.What is more, that screen is usually part of a personal computer.Other important CASE ingredients are a data store – often called adata dictionary or even an encyclopedia and the ability togenerate a program automatically, right from the design.CASE tools, however, are not cure-alls. To begin with, they reallyonly have value for new systems; an estimated 80 percent of computer organization time is devoted to the maintenance of existing systems. Also, CASE standards have not been established,and the result is a hodgepodge of methodologies from a variety of vendors. Keep in mind, also, that no CASE tool, or any other tool,will help if you do not know what you are doing. Good tools do notnecessarily create good systems.
Data Dictionary
In the early 1970s system analysts realized that they needed moresystematic and logical methods of describing systems. Theproliferation of computers and the collection of large amounts of information in databases often led to a great deal of confusion andinconsistency.For example, several different departments in a company mightcollect the same type of data. When these databases were merged,inconsistencies in style and content of data fields became obvious.One department might put last names first on employee orcustomer records, while another department entered first namesfirst. This made sorting and merging files very difficult. The problemwas further complicated by the number of reports generated by thesystem and the number of online terminals that retrieved ordisplayed information. Clearly what was needed was a more logical
Lesson 5: Software Specification Tools_____________________________________________________________
way if structuring data, this led to the development of the datadictionary.
 It is a composite collection of specifications about the nature of data and information. It isrepository of descriptions of the form, style, and content of data as well as of the methods that will be used to process and report it.
data dictionary 
is the foundation of structure systems analysis.It provides the standards and uniform format by which all elementsor parts of a system are designed and coordinated. It places allinformation in a structure or hierarchy. At the top of the hierarchy isthe data element, the data element is the smallest unit of a datathat will be processed or become part of a record.Examples of data elements include dates, employee names andgross pay. Rules for editing information or length of a field forexample are characteristics maintained on the data elements withina data dictionary. These data elements are used as a universalguide throughout the system when information is referred orprocessed. The data dictionary is much like a printed dictionary,which provides standards for spelling, hyphenation and so forth.Below data elements on the hierarchy are data records. A datarecord is a collection of elements, such as names, addresses orsequences of records, treated as a unit. This means that records willbe treated consistently throughout the system.Next on the hierarchy are the data stores, data model entities anddata flows. Data store describes the files that hold data,
data modelentities
define what records and elements will be treated as a unitand data flows specify pathways for moving information. The dictionary may also include standard tables of codes or wordsand their meanings, as well as alternative names or definitions.For example, EMPLOYEE, NUMBER and SERIAL NUMBER might beequated and both might reference an employee’s identificationnumber.
Software Project Management_________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________ Software Engineering: A ComputerScience Approach_________________________________________________________________ Software ProjectManagement
Alternate NamesEMS SELLING PRICEDefinition Price charged to the customer for a part.Input PictureOutput PictureEdit Rules999.99999.99Storage TypeCharacters left of decimal 3PromptColumn Header Short Header Base or DerivedData ClassSourceDefaultCCharacters right of decimal 2PRICEPART PRICEPRICEDAMOUNTMASTER PRICE LIST
Entity ListGraphicsGraph AnalysisXLDictionary
Screen DataReportingScreen DataEntityReport DesignScreen DesignReport Writer Documentation
The dictionary is thecentral repository for all system data.
This figure illustratesan order entry systemdata dictionar entr.

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