CSE1204 - Information Systems 1

Process Modelling Data Flow Diagrams

Process Modelling
Process modelling aims to graphically represent the processes which capture, manipulate, store and distribute data. • • • • data flow diagrams function decomposition structured English decision tables and decision trees

Data flow Diagrams
Data flow diagrams model the flow of data into, through, and out of an information system: • show the processes that change or transform data • show the movement of data between processes • represent a system as a network of processes which transform data flowing between them


c ustomer address 2. invoic e details CUST OMERS payments.Example DFD DFDs fit neatly onto a single page • the user is not overwhelmed by a DFD invalid orders CUST OMERS shipping details order details orders 1. SHIP BOOKS books ORDERS WAREHOUSE billing information CUST OMERS c ustomer name. Data flow loan application 3. Process calculate price 2. c ustomer address INVOICES 3. RECEIVE ORDER c ustomer name. Data store External agent (Source/Sink) Products Suppliers 2 . enquiries Data Flow Diagrams Data flow diagrams (or DFDs): • • • • a well-known process modelling technique easily understood a good communication tool model both manual and automated processes Components of a DFD 2 1. COLLECT PAYMENT S invoic es. statements books c ustomer name. 4.

"process data" 2. related pieces of data that move together to a common destination loan application 3 . calculate price check customer details accept supplier delivery • the name of a process should describe what the process does • avoid vague names where possible e. Data Flow • a data flow represents data in motion. Process • name each process using a verb and a noun phrase eg.1. Process • transforms incoming data flows into outgoing flows: the work performed on data which changes it • each process has a unique number and name 2 calculate price data 1. moving from one place in the system to another • describes a "packet" of data or data that moves together: a data flow may consist of many individual.g.

• name each data flow using a noun or noun phrase eg. customer order • the name of a data flow should describe the contents of the data "packet" • the name should include as much information as possible about the data flow eg."customer payment" rather than just "payment" valid customer order customer order 2 validate customer order invalid customer order 3. Data Store • a data store represents a collection of data flows "at rest" • each data store has a unique name • the name should describe the contents of the data store • a data store may represent many different types of physical locations of data • a data store may be a temporary or a permanent repository of data The Data Store different notations 4 .

an outside organisation or individual. i. External Agent (Source/Sink) • an external agent represents an entity with which the system communicates and which is outside the scope of the system eg. External Agent (Source/Sink) • data flows connecting the external agents to the processes within the system represent the interface between the system and its environment • external agents are outside the system and define its boundaries • an external agent may be both a source and a sink what a sink does with data it receives from the system and how a source produces data which it inputs to the system are outside the boundary of the system and are not shown on the data flow diagram 5 .e. a person or group within the department supported by the system who interacts with the system • an external agent is a source if it is an origin of data coming into the system • an external agent is a sink if it is a destination of data leaving the system Suppliers 4. another department or another system. if an entire data packet (or packets) is going into or out of the data store 2 sales order check sales order Sales orders 3 produce weekly sales totals weekly sales totals 4.data flows to and from a data store can remain unlabelled if all attributes in the store are moving.

Example DFD Sales Order System sales order purchase order Suppliers goods returned supplier delivery goods unavailable notice Inventory System shipping slip checked supplier invoice Warehouse Accounts Department Example Data Flow Diagram Customers sales order 1 check sales order Suppliers Sales orders 2 produce purchase order purchase order Guidelines for Drawing DFDs • each object on a data flow diagram must have a unique name • each process must have at least one data flow coming in (input) and at least one data flow going out (output) • the inputs to a process are different from the outputs of that process • a process must be able to build its outputs using only the information in its input data flows plus any constant information 6 .

Guidelines for Drawing DFDs data flows are permitted: • between processes • from a data store to a process • from a process to a data store • from a source to a process • from a process to a sink Guidelines for Drawing DFDs data flows are NOT permitted: • • • between external agents between data stores from an external agent to a data store Identify six errors in this abstract DFD Data Store 2 EE1 Data store 1 1 process2 EE2 2 Process1 EE3 7 .

1. .2 4.2. .1 3.2 8 .1 diagrams 1.1 4. Level n diagrams Levelling of DFDs Context diagram Level 0 diagram 1 2 3 4 Level 1 diagrams Level 2 1.1 1.2 1.2 4.2 3.Levelling Data Flow Diagrams Any "real" system is too large to represent as a single data flow diagram • the solution is to decompose the system into a hierarchy of levels of processing • the process model of the system then consists of a set of levelled data flow diagrams • levelling of DFDs improves their readability and usefulness as a communication tool Levelling of DFDs Levelling creates a hierarchical decomposition of the processing within the system Context diagram • Level 0 diagram Level 1 diagrams Level 2 diagrams .3 1.1 2.2 3.3 2.

Context Diagram • the highest level data flow diagram is the context diagram • the context diagram shows the interaction of the system with its environment in terms of data flows • the context diagram defines the boundary of the system (the scope of the system) • only the data flows which leave the system and the data flows which come from outside the system are shown Context Diagram • the entire system is represented as a single process • all external agents (sources and sinks) are shown • no data stores are shown: they are inside the boundary of the system EASY GO HOTEL Example Context Diagram Sales Order System sales order purchase order Suppliers goods returned supplier delivery goods unavailable notice Inventory System shipping slip checked supplier invoice Warehouse Accounts Department 9 .

0. 2.0 Monitor Stock levels 1.0 out of stock notice Fill Sales Orders 3. 3. 2.0 2. 3 etc.0 3.0 etc. represents the entire system • the number of each process ends in .g.0. 1.0 which corresponds to the level of the diagram: e.0 4. like the context diagram.Level Zero Diagram • the level zero data flow diagram is the diagram at the level immediately below the context diagram • it "expands" the single process on the context diagram to show the major.0 Accept Deliveries Stock file supplier delivery Suppliers shipping slip checked supplier invoice Accounts Department Warehouse 10 . are used Example Level Zero Diagram Order Entry System purchase order sales order 2.0 Level Zero Diagram • all external agents (sources and sinks) are included because the level zero diagram. high-level processes (or functions) within the system 1. often just 1.

1 3.g.1 2.2 Diagram 3 (level 1) Further diagrams or process descriptions 2.2 Diagram 3 (level 1) 11 . and 2. Level etc that part is shown in more detail than on the Level zero diagram no external agents are shown on a Level 1 or lower diagrams.3 2. 1.1 2.2 Levelling DFDs 1 2 Context diagram 3 Level zero diagram 3.Level 1 and lower level diagrams each Level 1 diagram and diagrams at lower levels (e.4 2.2. 2. 1. Level 3) show only a part of the processing Level 1 processes are numbered 1.3. as the entire system is not being represented Level 1 diagrams a set of data flow diagrams is created at Level 1 there is one Level 1 diagram for each of the processes at Level zero each diagram decomposes a Level zero process into several processes 2.5 2. 2.

e.o.1 Check Customer Credit 1.3 Record Sales Demand Create Sales Invoice customer invoice Guidelines for Levelling DFDs • numbering: when a process is decomposed.4 1. the context and level zero diagrams 12 .o.2 Check Stock Available INVENTORY product holding INVOICES product qty SALES ORDERS Product details product qty customer credit status product available qty 1. invoice INVENTORY product product holding order qty delivery qty customer invoice SALES ORDERS product order qty Example Level 1 diagram Customer details 1.Example Level zero diagram SUPPLIERS CUSTOMERS Customer details Product details product qty product holding 1 Record and Invoice Sales p. i. number product delivered qty product order qty 2 Maintain Product Inventory p. its diagram is given the same number as that process • balancing of DFDs: all data flows entering and leaving a process must appear on the corresponding diagram which decomposes that process • external agents: are only included on the two diagrams which represent the entire system.

related groups of activities • minimise the data flows between them all parts of the system need not be decomposed to the same level 13 .1 1.Guidelines for Levelling DFDs balancing data flows: if data flows are decomposed at lower levels then the contents of the data flows across levels must be balanced sales order customer shipping details 1.2 Check stock available customer order items 1 out of stock notice Fill Sales Orders sales order = customer + shipping details customer order items Guidelines for Levelling DFDs The access to data stores across levels of diagrams must be consistent: •the direction of accesses must match and all accesses on higher level diagrams must appear on corresponding lower level diagrams •a data store is first shown on the highest level diagram where it is accessed by more than one process •it can then appear on all lower level diagrams where it is accessed 1 1.3 2 Guidelines for Levelling DFDs partition processes to: • form cohesive.1 Check shipping details shipping slip 1.2 1.

Level zero diagram Applicant Position Address 1 Accept Application Applicant name Line Manager Ackn’d Appn Position Spec 2 Evaluate Applicants Acknowledgement Decision Applicant Position Unsuccessfuls file Evaluation results Successful Applicant Payroll System 14 .Guidelines for Levelling DFDs How many levels should be in a set of DFDs? • each diagram usually has between 3 and 7 processes • level the diagrams until bottom level or primitive processes are reached primitive processes cannot be further decomposed as a data flow diagram An example .Context Diagram Applicant Address Applicant name Position Acknowledgement Employment System Successful Applicant Position Spec Line Manager Decision Position Payroll System An example .

Modern Systems Analysis and Design.1 Verify for Completeness Applicant name Verified Application 1. NY.3 Schedule Evaluation Decision Unsuccessfuls file Evaluation results Successful Applicant References WHITTEN. Irwin/McGraw-HilI.. GEORGE.Diagram 2 Ackn’d Appn Position Spec 2..2 Acknowledge Application Acknowledgement Acknowledged Application Level 1 . J.. and VALACICH (2005) 4th ed. J. J. Benjamin/Cummings.L. and DITTMAN.F.D.A. Chapters 8 HOFFER. BENTLEY.Level 1. Chapter 7 15 . New York.Diagram 1 Address Position 1.2 Reject Unsuitabl es 2.1 Screen Applicants unqualified applicant Qualified applicant Decision 2.C. K. Massachusetts. Systems Analysis and Design Methods. L.. (2001) 5th ed.

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