Why Do We Need Software Engineering?

To understand the necessity for software engineering, we must pause briefly to look back at the recent history of computing. This history will help us to understand the problems that started to become obvious in the late sixties and early seventies, and the solutions that have led to the creation of the field of software engineering. These problems were referred to by some as “The software Crisis,” so named for the symptoms of the problem. The situation might also been called “The Complexity Barrier,” so named for the primary cause of the problems. Some refer to the software crisis in the past tense. The crisis is far from over, but thanks to the development of many new techniques that are now included under the title of software engineering, we have made and are continuing to make progress.

In the early days of computing the primary concern was with building or acquiring the hardware. Software was almost expected to take care of itself. The consensus held that “hardware” is “hard” to change, while “software” is “soft,” or easy to change. According, most people in the industry carefully planned hardware development but gave considerably less forethought to the software. If the software didn’t work, they believed, it would be easy enough to change it until it did work. In that case, why make the effort to plan?

The cost of software amounted to such a small fraction of the cost of the hardware that no one considered it very important to manage its development. Everyone, however, saw the importance of producing programs that were efficient and ran fast because this saved time on the expensive hardware. People time was assumed to save machine time. Making the people process efficient received little priority.

This approach proved satisfactory in the early days of computing, when the software was simple. However, as computing matured, programs became more complex and projects grew larger whereas programs had since been routinely specified, written, operated, and maintained all by the same person, programs began to be developed by teams of programmers to meet someone else’s expectations.

Individual effort gave way to team effort. Communication and coordination which once went on within the head of one person had to occur between the heads of many persons, making the whole process very much more complicated. As a result, communication, management, planning and documentation became critical.

Consider this analogy: a carpenter might work alone to build a simple house for himself or herself without more than a general concept of a plan. He or she could work things out or make adjustments as the work progressed. That’s how early programs were written. But if the home is more elaborate, or if it is built for someone else, the carpenter has to plan more carefully how the house is to be built. Plans need to be reviewed with the future owner before construction starts. And if the house is to be built by many carpenters, the whole project certainly has to be planned before work starts so that as one carpenter builds one part of the house, another is not building the other side of a different house. Scheduling becomes a key element so that cement contractors pour the basement walls before the carpenters start the framing. As the house becomes more complex and more people’s work has to be coordinated, blueprints and management plans are required.

As programs became more complex, the early methods used to make blueprints (flowcharts) were no longer satisfactory to represent this greater complexity. And thus it became difficult for one person who needed a program written to convey to another person, the programmer, just what was wanted, or for programmers to convey to each other what they were doing. In fact, without better methods of representation it became difficult for even one programmer to keep track of what he or she is doing.

The times required to write programs and their costs began to exceed to all estimates. It was not unusual for systems to cost more than twice what had been estimated and to take weeks, months or years longer than expected to complete. The systems turned over to the client frequently did not work correctly because the money or time had run out before the programs could be made to work as originally intended. Or the program was so complex that every attempt to fix a problem produced more problems than it fixed. As clients finally saw what they were getting, they often changed their minds about what they wanted. At least one very large military software systems project costing several hundred million dollars was abandoned because it could never be made to work properly.

The quality of programs also became a big concern. As computers and their programs were used for more vital tasks, like monitoring life support equipment, program quality took on new meaning. Since we had increased our dependency on computers and in many cases could no longer get along without them, we discovered how important it is that they work correctly.

Making a change within a complex program turned out to be very expensive. Often even to get the program to do something slightly different was so hard that it was easier to throw out the old program and start over. This, of course, was costly. Part of the evolution in the software engineering approach was learning to develop systems that are built well enough the first time so that simple changes can be made easily.

At the same time, hardware was growing ever less expensive. Tubes were replaced by transistors and transistors were replaced by integrated circuits until micro computers costing less than three thousand dollars have become several million dollars. As an indication of how fast change was occurring, the cost of a given amount of computing decreases by one half every two years. Given this realignment, the times and costs to develop the software were no longer so small, compared to the hardware, that they could be ignored.

As the cost of hardware plummeted, software continued to be written by humans, whose wages were rising. The savings from productivity improvements in software development from the use of assemblers, compilers, and data base management systems did not proceed as rapidly as the savings in hardware costs. Indeed, today software costs not only can no longer be ignored, they have become larger than the hardware costs. Some current developments, such as nonprocedural (fourth generation) languages and the use of artificial intelligence (fifth generation), show promise of increasing software development productivity, but we are only beginning to see their potential.

Another problem was that in the past programs were often before it was fully understood what the program needed to do. Once the program had been written, the client began to express dissatisfaction. And if the client is dissatisfied, ultimately the producer, too, was unhappy. As time went by software developers learned to lay out with paper and pencil exactly what they intended to do before starting. Then they could review the plans with the client to see if they met the client’s expectations. It is simpler and less expensive to make changes to this paper-and-pencil version than to make them after the system has been built. Using good planning makes it less likely that changes will have to be made once the program is finished.

Unfortunately, until several years ago no good method of representation existed to describe satisfactorily systems as complex as those that are being developed today. The only good representation of what the product will look like was the finished product itself. Developers could not show clients what they were planning. And clients could not see whether what the software was what they wanted until it was finally built. Then it was too expensive to change.

Again, consider the analogy of building construction. An architect can draw a floor plan. The client can usually gain some understanding of what the architect has planned and give feed back as to whether it is appropriate. Floor plans are reasonably easy for the layperson to understand because most people are familiar with the drawings representing geometrical objects. The architect and the client share common concepts about space and geometry. But the software engineer must represent for the client a system involving logic and information processing. Since they do not already have a language of common concepts, the software engineer must teach a new language to the client before they can communicate.

Moreover, it is important that this language be simple so it can be learned quickly.

All About Software Engineering And Development

Software engineering, known as SE, is the development, design, maintenance and documentation of software by applying practices and various technologies from fields such as computer science, engineering, application domains, project management, digital asset management and interface design.

The conception, development and verification of a software system is what software engineering is all about. It is necessary to identify, define, realize and verify the resultant software’s required characteristics. Necessary testing is required for attributes such as reliability, functionality, testability, maintainability, ease of use, availability and portability. In software engineering, software can be verified to meet these requirements by having design and technical specifications prepared and implemented correctly. The characteristics of the software development process are also important in software engineering. Development itself, development duration and risks in software development are examples of such characteristics.

A computer uses software as part of its system that allows the hardware to operate properly. Software can be system software or application software. System software includes the main operating system and a variety of other utilities that enable the computer and its applications to run. Application software includes the computer programs and relevant documentation responsible for end-user data processing tasks. This kind of software is developed for such tasks as word processing, payroll, inventory and production control.

Software Development

A series of processes undertaken systematically to improve a business through using computerized information systems is what is known as software development. There are two major components to software development, which are systems analysis and design.

Systems analysis is the specification of what exactly the system is required to do, or the main objective. Design is about how to make the system do what is required of it. For system analysis, it is required to study the current system by certain procedures in order to gather and interpret data and facts, identify any problems and use this data to improve the system currently in use. System design refers to the process of developing a new system, concentrating heavily on the technical specifications and other specifications that make the system operations.

Software Development Life Cycle

Software Development Life Cycle, or SDLC, is a sequence of events done by designers, analysts and users to develop and execute an information system. There are a number of stages to this practice, which can overlap. The stages are Preliminary investigation (which is feasibility study), Determination of system requirements (which is analysis), Design of system, Development of software, System testing, System Implementation and System Maintenance in that order.

Inventory Software Will Allow You To Maximize Costumer Service – Follow These Steps To For Success

The last thing any business wants to do is take on any expensive they feel they are not going to need. This is one of the primary reasons why a lot of business, especially those that are just starting or are smaller, will decide to go without an effective inventory management system that is implemented by means of inventory software.

These businesses will try to do things the hard way. The hard way equals a business having to invest more time, which of course is going to mean more money.

In order to convince you of how beneficial it would be for you business to have inventory software, we need to discuss the overall value it is going to provide you with moving forward.

The one aspect we can focus on is the lifeblood of your business, and that is going to be making sure your customers are satisfied. Now you might have a good product or products.

You might have friendly staff who answer the problems of customers. You might run a pretty efficient business. However, without inventory software you are not doing all you can to make sure you are maximizing customer service.

Why do you think this is? Well, without the right tools at your disposal to make inventory management more efficient you are going to run into problems such as inaccurate customer forecasts.

This means you are going to underestimate or overestimate the amount of software you need. How much do you believe this is going to cost you in the long run? Then you have issues such as various changes that can happen to original customer orders.

When this happens it can throw everything into a tail spin. Let’s not forget the overall lack of account management your business might have.

All of these things combined make for poor customer service performance in regards to on time delivery, not suppliers and not purchasing. What do you believe is going to happen because of this?

You are likely going to end up carrying a lot of excess inventory or not enough. This is going to lead to inventory write offs.

You are going to end up having higher product costs, which is going to mean lower profit margins for you. Inventory software is going to enable you to solve all of these problems without hassle.

There are many reasons why inventory software will help you make more profits at the end of the day. For instance, right now you probably have a good idea of how many sales you can expect to get for a given product at a given time of the year.

You might have taken the time to put this information together and it has worked out well for you. However, without inventory software there is a chance you are opening yourself up to a huge forecast error.

You want the individual product sales forecast for your business to be as accurate as possible. The more accurate the product sales forecasting is the smaller the forecast error will be.

This means you are not going to need that much inventory to make sure that you are able to maintain a specific level of costumer service. There are other benefits as well.

Your most likely use machines in your business if you carry a lot of inventory. Not carrying excess inventory means you will not have to worry about over using machines you might have when it comes to producing products.

You will not build products before they are needed, and as a result you are not going to have to commit capacity of your machines too early.

Inventory software which is another term for logistics software, is a tool no business can afford to be without if they want to run a sound inventory management program.