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Managing Change and Complexity: The reality of software development

This session will build on the method used to describe different forms of systems developed in the previous session. It will introduce some new terms, review the ways in which the approach to designing software has changed over time and discuss what is meant by a methodology.

Managing Change and Complexity - a summary

This session begins by introducing three important terms: reality, representations and descriptions, which are used to describe the transition from the initial specification to the final software. Together with the terms closed and complete from the previous session, these terms will be used as the basis for the classificatory system for methodologies that we will use for the rest of this module.

We the return to the history of computing and look at the way in which the approach to creating software has changed over time. In particular, we examine (a) the structured approach to software design that was dominant in the 1970's and 1980's and (b) the object oriented approach that followed it. We focus on what developers view as the biggest problems when developing software and observe that for structured methods validation is a problem where as for object oriented approaches the key problem is verification. We then use these observations together with the notions of closure and completeness to elaborate the four way description of systems we derived from theory in the previous session.

The session concludes with a brief examination of what is meant by the term methodology as it is applied to software design, and why we might want to use one when developing software.




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Lecture notes

The notes for this session are available as a presentation (in pdf format) - lecture notes for session 2

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