Design Guidelines

Design Guidelines

There is no magic formula for software design. Design is a creative process that can be  guided and directed but it  can never be reduced to  an algorithmic procedure. The design of real time  system is a much  different  application. The following guidelines do not   constitute a design methodology but  rather  provide some  guidance for   organizing the  activities of software design:

1. Review the  requirement specification . in particular study the desired functional  characteristics and performance attributes of the system.

2. Review and expand the external interfaces, user dialogues and report formats developed during  requirements analysis.

3. Review and refine the data flow diagrams developed during requirements analysis and external design. Identify internal data stores and elaborate the processing  functions.

4. Indentify function  abstraction and data abstraction. Record them using a design notation.

5. Define the visible interfaces for each functional  abstraction and each data abstraction. Record them using a design notation.

6. Define the modularization criteria to be used in establishing system structure.

7. Apply the techniques of your particular design method to establish system structure.  For example  derive a system  structure that maximizes  information hiding.

8. Iterate step 4 and 7 and as necessary steps 1 through 7 until a suitable structure is achieved.

9. Verify that the resulting system structure satisfies the requirements.

10. Develop interfaces specification for the procedures in each module.

11. Conduct the preliminary design review. The  level of detail should be inclusive of  levels 1 and  2 of the procedure templates.

12. Develop concrete data representation for the data stores and data abstractions.

13. Expand the procedure templates to include the information inlevel3.

14. Specify algorithmic details for the body of each procedure in the system using  successive refinements, HIPO diagrams pseudo code, structured English and  structured flowcharts. Develop concrete data representations and interconnection between data structures and algorithms.

15. Conduct the  critical design review.

16. Redesign  as necessary.

The major difficulties in software design are caused by inadequate requirements, failure to consider alternative design strategies and the temptation to provide too much detail too  soon. A great deal of iteration among the various design steps is to be expected as understanding the problem and various possibilities for solutions improvement.

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