- To introduce software engineering and to explain its importance
- To set out the answers to key questions about software engineering
- To introduce ethical and professional issues and to explain why they are of concern to software engineers.
- Figure 1.1 Frequently asked questions about software
|What is software?||Computer programs and associated documentation. Software products may be developed for a particular customer or may be developed for a general market.|
|What are the attributes of good software?||Good software should deliver the required Functionality and performance to the user and should be maintainable, dependable, and usable.|
|What is software engineering?||Software engineering is an engineering discipline that is concerned with all aspects of software production.|
|What are the fundamental software engineering activities?||Software specification, software development, Software validation and software evolution.|
|What is the difference between software Engineering and computer science?||Computer science focuses on theory and fundamentals; software engineering is concerned with the practicalities of developing and delivering useful software.|
|What is the difference between software Engineering and system engineering?||System engineering is concerned with all aspects of computer-based systems development including hardware, software, and process engineering. Software engineering is part of this more general process.|
|What are the key challenges facing software Engineering?||Coping with increasing diversity, demands for reduced delivery times, and developing trustworthy software.|
|What are the costs of software engineering?||Roughly 60% of software costs are development costs; 40% are testing costs. For custom software, evolution costs often exceed development costs.|
|What are the best software engineering techniques and methods?||While all software projects have to be professionally managed and developed, different techniques are appropriate for different types of system. For example, games should always be developed using a series of prototypes whereas safety critical|
|What is control systems?||control systems require a complete and analyzable specification to be developed. You can‘t, therefore, say that one method is better than another.|
|What differences has the Web made to software engineering?||The Web has led to the availability of software Services and the possibility of developing highly distributed service-based systems. Web-based systems development has led to important advances in programming languages and software reuse.|
Software engineers are concerned with developing software products (i.e., software which can be sold to a customer). There are two kinds of software products:
- Generic products : These are stand-alone systems that are produced by a development Organization and sold on the open market to any customer who is able to buy them. Examples of this type of product include software for PCs such as databases, word processors, drawing packages, and project-management tools. It also includes so-called vertical applications designed for some specific purpose such as library information systems, accounting systems, or systems for maintaining dental records.
- Customized (or bespoke) products: These are systems that are commissioned by a particular customer. A software contractor develops the software especially for that customer. Examples of this type of software include control systems for electronic devices, systems written to support a particular business process, and air traffic control systems.
An important difference between these types of software is that, in generic products, the organization that develops the software controls the software specification. For custom products, the specification is usually developed and controlled by the organization that is buying the software. The software developers must work to that specification. However, the distinction between these system product types is becoming increasingly blurred. More and more systems are now being built with a generic product as a base, which is then adapted to suit the requirements of a customer. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, such as the SAP system, are the best examples of this approach. Here, a large and complex system is adapted for a company by incorporating information about business rules and processes, reports required, and so on.
Essential attributes of good software
|Maintainability||Software should be written in such a way so that it can evolve to meet the changing needs of customers. This is a critical attribute because software change is an inevitable requirement of a changing business environment.|
|Dependability and security||Software dependability includes a range of characteristics including reliability, security, and safety. Dependable software should not cause physical or economic damage in the event of system failure. Malicious users should not be able to access or damage the system.|
|Efficiency||Software should not make wasteful use of system resources such as memory and processor cycles. Efficiency therefore includes responsiveness, processing time, memory utilization, etc.|
|Acceptability||Software must be acceptable to the type of users for which it is designed. This means that it must be understandable, usable, and compatible with other systems that they use.|
Software engineering is an engineering discipline that is concerned with all aspects of software production from the early stages of system specification through to maintaining the system after it has gone into use. In this definition, there are two key phrases:
- Engineering discipline Engineers make things work. They apply theories, methods, and tools where these are appropriate. However, they use them selectively and always try to discover solutions to problems even when there are no applicable theories and methods. Engineers also recognize that they must work to organizational and financial constraints so they look for solutions within these constraints.
- All aspects of software production Software engineering is not just concerned with the technical processes of software development. It also includes activities such as software project management and the development of tools, methods, and theories to support software production.
Engineering is about getting results of the required quality within the schedule and budget. This often involves making compromises—engineers cannot be perfectionists. People writing programs for themselves, however, can spend as much time as they wish on the program development. In general, software engineers adopt a systematic and organized approach to their work, as this is often the most effective way to produce high-quality software. However, engineering is all about selecting the most appropriate method for a set of circumstances so a more creative, less formal approach to development may be effective in some circumstances. Less formal development is particularly appropriate for the development of web-based systems, which requires a blend of software and graphical design skills.
Software engineering is important for two reasons:
- More and more, individuals and society rely on advanced software systems. We need to be able to produce reliable and trustworthy systems economically and quickly.
- It is usually cheaper, in the long run, to use software engineering methods and techniques for software systems rather than just write the programs as if it was a personal programming project. For most types of systems, the majority of costs are the costs of changing the software after it has gone into use.
The systematic approach that is used in software engineering is sometimes called a software process. A software process is a sequence of activities that leads to the production of a software product. There are four fundamental activities that are common to all software processes. These activities are:
- Software specification, where customers and engineers define the software that is to be produced and the constraints on its operation.
- Software development, where the software is designed and programmed.
- Software validation, where the software is checked to ensure that it is what the customer requires.
- Software evolution, where the software is modified to reflect changing customer and market requirements.
Software engineering is related to both computer science and systems engineering:
- Computer science is concerned with the theories and methods that underlie computers and software systems, whereas software engineering is concerned with the practical problems of producing software. Some knowledge of computer science is essential for software engineers in the same way that some knowledge of physics is essential for electrical engineers. Computer science theory, however, is often most applicable to relatively small programs. Elegant theories of computer science cannot always be applied to large, complex problems that require a software solution.
- System engineering is concerned with all aspects of the development and evolution of complex systems where software plays a major role. System engineering is therefore concerned with hardware development, policy and process design and system deployment, as well as software engineering. System engineers are involved in specifying the system, defining its overall architecture, and then integrating the different parts to create the finished system. They are less concerned with the engineering of the system components (hardware, software etc.).
General Issues that affect many Software
There are many different types of software. There is no universal software engineering method or technique that is applicable for all of these. However, there are three general issues that affect many different types of software:
- Heterogeneity increasingly, systems are required to operate as distributed systems across networks that include different types of computer and mobile devices. As well as running on general-purpose computers, software may also have to execute on mobile phones. You often have to integrate new software with older legacy systems written in different programming languages. The challenge here is to develop techniques for building dependable software that is flexible enough to cope with this heterogeneity.
- Business and social change Business and society are changing incredibly quickly as emerging economies develop and new technologies become available. They need to be able to change their existing software and to rapidly develop new software. Many traditional software engineering techniques are time consuming and delivery of new systems often takes longer than planned. They need to evolve so that the time required for software to deliver value to its customers is reduced.
- Security and trust As software is intertwined with all aspects of our lives, it is essential that we can trust that software. This is especially true for remote software systems accessed through a web page or web service interface. We have to make sure that malicious users cannot attack our software and that information security is maintained.
This radical change in software organization has, obviously, led to changes in the ways that web-based systems are engineered. For example:
- Software reuse has become the dominant approach for constructing web-based systems. When building these systems, you think about how you can assemble them from pre-existing software components and systems.
- It is now generally recognized that it is impractical to specify all the requirements for such systems in advance. Web-based systems should be developed and delivered incrementally.
- User interfaces are constrained by the capabilities of web browsers. Although technologies such as AJAX (Holdener, 2008) mean that rich interfaces can be created within a web browser, these technologies are still difficult to use. Web forms with local scripting are more commonly used. Application interfaces on web-based systems are often poorer than the specially designed user interfaces on PC system products.
Software engineering ethics
- Confidentiality You should normally respect the confidentiality of your employers or clients irrespective of whether or not a formal confidentiality agreement has been signed.
- Competence You should not misrepresent your level of competence. You should not knowingly accept work that is outside your competence.
- Intellectual property rights You should be aware of local laws governing the use of intellectual property such as patents and copyright. You should be careful to ensure that the intellectual property of employers and clients is protected.
- Computer misuse You should not use your technical skills to misuse other people‘s computers. Computer misuse ranges from relatively trivial (game playing on an employer‘s machine, say) to extremely serious (dissemination of viruses or other malware).
ACM/IEEE Code of Ethics
- The professional societies in the US have cooperated to produce a code of ethical practice.
- Members of these organizations sign up to the code of practice when they join.
- The Code contains eight Principles related to the behavior of and decisions made by professional software engineers, including practitioners, educators, managers, supervisors and policy makers, as well as trainees and students of the profession.
Code of ethics – preamble
The short version of the code summarizes aspirations at a high level of the abstraction; the clauses that are included in the full version give examples and details of how these aspirations change the way we act as software engineering professionals. Without the aspirations, the details can become legalistic and tedious; without the details, the aspirations can become high sounding but empty; together, the aspirations and the details form a cohesive code. Software engineers shall commit themselves to making the analysis, specification, design, development, testing and maintenance of software a beneficial and respected profession. In accordance with their commitment to the health, safety and welfare of the public, software engineers shall adhere to the following
Eight Principles of software engineers:
- PUBLIC — Software engineers shall act consistently with the public interest.
- CLIENT AND EMPLOYER — Software engineers shall act in a manner that is in the
Best interests of their client and employer consistent with the public interest.
- PRODUCT — Software engineers shall ensure that their products and related
Modifications meet the highest professional standards possible.
- JUDGMENT — Software engineers shall maintain integrity and independence in their Professional judgment.
- MANAGEMENT — Software engineering managers and leaders shall subscribe to and promote an ethical approach to the management of software development and maintenance.
- PROFESSION — Software engineers shall advance the integrity and reputation of the profession consistent with the public interest.
- COLLEAGUES — Software engineers shall be fair to and supportive of their colleagues.
- SELF — Software engineers shall participate in lifelong learning regarding the practice of their profession and shall promote an ethical approach to the practice of the profession.
. Ethical dilemmas
- Disagreement in principle with the policies of senior management.
- Your employer acts in an unethical way and releases a safety critical system without finishing the testing of the system.
- Participation in the development of military weapons systems or nuclear systems.
The three types of systems that I use as case studies are:
- An embedded system This is a system where the software controls a hardware device and is embedded in that device. Issues in embedded systems typically include physical size, responsiveness, power management, etc. The example of an embedded system that I use is a software system to control a medical device.
- An information system This is a system whose primary purpose is to manage and provide access to a database of information. Issues in information systems include security, usability, privacy, and maintaining data integrity. The example of an information system that I use is a medical records system.
- A sensor-based data collection system This is a system whose primary purpose is to collect data from a set of sensors and process that data in some way. The key requirements of such systems are reliability, even in hostile environmental conditions, and maintainability. The example of a data collection system that I use is a wilderness weather station.
- Study Three types of case studies (Ref: software engineering , Ian Sommerville)
- Make Groups (4 Members) and Give a presentation on your selected topics on next class! .