Structured system analysis: a new technique

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With OO, Data and Functions is integrated whereas with other methodologies, Data and Functions are considered separately. This is very much an OO approach which is extended to allow the commercialization of software components. Components comprise OO objects and other components. Having studied and used both IE and TSM, having been on numerous OO courses, and having done personal research on CB development, I can with certainty state that the difference between these 4 types of analysis approaches are significant, although not wholly unrelated. Each of these approaches builds on the concepts and successes of the previous one, subscribing to the sequence as listed above.

Take a guess why not. There is a plethora of modelling techniques out there, but to save you some time I will just mention the most popular. You can really go bonkers here! In the next couple of posts, we will re-visit modelling techniques with some case studies that suggests how best to go about selecting the techniques to work with. You can go crazy while going bonkers with these! In order to remain sane amidst the chaos, it would be wise for you to hang on to the fundamentals by constantly sharpening a specific type of thinking.

Chapter 11 compares advantages and disadvantages of output, including Web displays, audio, DVD, and electronic output such as email and RSS feeds. Designing a Web site for e-commerce purposes is emphasized, and output production and XML is covered. Chapter 12 includes innovative material on designing Web-based input forms, as well as other electronic forms design. Also included is computer-assisted forms design.

Chapter 12 features in-depth coverage of Web site design, including guidelines on when designers should add video, audio, and animation to Web site designs. The chapter also covers uses of Web push and pull technologies for output designs. There is detailed consideration of how to create effective graphics for corporate Web sites and ways to design effective onscreen navigation for Web site users.

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Coverage of intranet and extranet page design is also included. Consideration of database integrity constraints has been included as well, in addition to how the user interacts with the computer and how to design an appropriate interface. The importance of user feedback is also found in these topics. How to design accurate data entry procedures that take full advantage of computer and human capabilities to assure entry of quality data is emphasized here.

Students are shown the relevance of database design for the overall usefulness of the system, and how users actually use databases. It introduces HCI, discussing its importance in designing systems that suit individuals and assisting them in achieving personal and organizational goals through their use of information technology.

Structured Anlysis Process Modeling (OO Systems Analysis Appendix A)

The concepts of usability, fit, perceived usefulness, and perceived ease of use are introduced, as is the Technology Acceptance Model TAM , so that systems students can knowledgeably incorporate HCI practices into their designs. Chapter 14 also features material on designing easy onscreen navigation for Web site visitors. The chapter presents innovative approaches to searching on the Web, highlights material on GUI design, and provides innovative approaches to designing dialogs.

Chapter 14 articulates specialized design considerations for ecommerce Web sites. Mashups, new applications created by combining two or more Web-based application programming interfaces, are also introduced. Chapter 14 also includes extensive coverage on how to formulate queries, all within the framework of HCI.

System Analysis and Design – Is it Science, Art or both?

Chapters 15 and 16 concludes the tutorial. Chapter 15 focuses on designing accurate data entry procedures and includes material on managing the supply chain through the effective design of business-to-business B2B ecommerce.


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Chapter 16 emphasizes taking a total quality approach to improving software design and maintenance. In addition, material on system security and firewalls is included. Testing, auditing, and maintenance of systems are discussed in the context of total quality management. This chapter helps students understand how service-oriented architecture SOA and cloud computing are changing the nature of information systems design.

In addition, students learn how to design appropriate training programs for users of the new system, how to recognize the differences among physical conversion strategies, and how to be able to recommend an appropriate one to a client. Chapter 16 also presents techniques for modeling networks, which can be done with popular tools such as Microsoft Visio. Material on security and privacy in relation to designing ecommerce applications is included. Coverage of security, specifically firewalls, gateways, public key infrastructure PKI , secure electronic translation SET , secure socket layering SSL , virus protection software, URL filtering products, email filtering products, and virtual private networks VPN , is included.

Additionally, current topics of interest to designers of ecommerce applications, including the development and posting of corporate privacy policies, are covered. Important coverage of how the analyst can promote and then monitor a corporate Web site is included in this section, which features Web activity monitoring, Web site promotion, Web traffic analysis, and audience profiling to ensure the effectiveness of new ecommerce systems.

Techniques for evaluating the completed information systems project are covered systematically as well. Table of Contents The key to success in business is the ability to gather, organize, and interpret information. Structured analysis typically creates a hierarchy employing a single abstraction mechanism.

The structured analysis method can employ IDEF see figure , is process driven, and starts with a purpose and a viewpoint. This method identifies the overall function and iteratively divides functions into smaller functions, preserving inputs, outputs, controls, and mechanisms necessary to optimize processes. Also known as a functional decomposition approach, it focuses on cohesion within functions and coupling between functions leading to structured data. The functional decomposition of the structured method describes the process without delineating system behavior and dictates system structure in the form of required functions.

The method identifies inputs and outputs as related to the activities. One reason for the popularity of structured analysis is its intuitive ability to communicate high-level processes and concepts, whether in single system or enterprise levels. Discovering how objects might support functions for commercially prevalent object-oriented development is unclear.

Structured analysis views a system from the perspective of the data flowing through it.

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The function of the system is described by processes that transform the data flows. Structured analysis takes advantage of information hiding through successive decomposition or top down analysis. This allows attention to be focused on pertinent details and avoids confusion from looking at irrelevant details.

As the level of detail increases, the breadth of information is reduced. The result of structured analysis is a set of related graphical diagrams, process descriptions, and data definitions. They describe the transformations that need to take place and the data required to meet a system's functional requirements. De Marco's approach [11] consists of the following objects see figure : [10]. Hereby the data flow diagrams DFDs are directed graphs. The arcs represent data , and the nodes circles or bubbles represent processes that transform the data.

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A process can be further decomposed to a more detailed DFD which shows the subprocesses and data flows within it. The subprocesses can in turn be decomposed further with another set of DFDs until their functions can be easily understood. Functional primitives are processes which do not need to be decomposed further. Functional primitives are described by a process specification or mini-spec. The process specification can consist of pseudo-code, flowcharts , or structured English.

The DFDs model the structure of the system as a network of interconnected processes composed of functional primitives. The data dictionary is a set of entries definitions of data flows, data elements, files, and databases. The data dictionary entries are partitioned in a top-down manner. They can be referenced in other data dictionary entries and in data flow diagrams.

Context diagrams are diagrams that represent the actors outside a system that could interact with that system. This type of diagram according to Kossiakoff usually "pictures the system at the center, with no details of its interior structure, surrounded by all its interacting systems, environment and activities. The objective of a system context diagram is to focus attention on external factors and events that should be considered in developing a complete set of system requirements and constraints". System context diagrams can be helpful in understanding the context in which the system will be part of software engineering.

A data dictionary or database dictionary is a file that defines the basic organization of a database. Most database management systems keep the data dictionary hidden from users to prevent them from accidentally destroying its contents. Data dictionaries do not contain any actual data from the database, only bookkeeping information for managing it.

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System Analysis and Design – Is it Science, Art or both?

Without a data dictionary, however, a database management system cannot access data from the database. Database users and application developers can benefit from an authoritative data dictionary document that catalogs the organization, contents, and conventions of one or more databases. There is no universal standard as to the level of detail in such a document, but it is primarily a distillation of metadata about database structure , not the data itself.

A data dictionary document also may include further information describing how data elements are encoded. One of the advantages of well-designed data dictionary documentation is that it helps to establish consistency throughout a complex database, or across a large collection of federated databases. A data flow diagram DFD is a graphical representation of the "flow" of data through an information system.

It differs from the system flowchart as it shows the flow of data through processes instead of computer hardware. Data flow diagrams were invented by Larry Constantine , developer of structured design , based on Martin and Estrin's "data flow graph" model of computation.

It is common practice to draw a system context diagram first which shows the interaction between the system and outside entities.

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