Software Engineering-A Framework for Web Applications


As WebApps evolve from static, content-directed information sources to dynamic, user-directed application environments, the need to apply solid management and engineering principles grows in importance. To accomplish this, it is necessary to develop a WebE framework that encompasses an effective process model, populated by framework activities4 and engineering tasks. A process model for WebE is suggested in figure.

The WebE process begins with a formulation—an activity that identifies the goals and objectives of the WebApp and establishes the scope for the first increment. Planning estimates overall project cost, evaluates risks associated with the development effort, and defines a finely granulated development schedule for the initial WebApp increment, with a more coarsely granulated schedule for subsequent increments. Analysis establishes technical requirements for the WebApp and identifies the content items that will be incorporated. Requirements for graphic design (aesthetics) are also defined.

The engineering activity incorporates two parallel tasks illustrated on the right side of figure. Content design and production are tasks performed by nontechnical members of the WebE team. The intent of these tasks is to design, produce, and/or acquire all text, graphics, audio, and video content that are to become integrated into the WebApp. At the same time, a set of technical design tasks  are conducted.

Page generation is a construction activity that makes heavy use of automated tools for WebApp creation. The content defined in the engineering activity is merged with the architectural, navigation, and interface designs to produce executable Web pages in HTML, XML, and other process-oriented languages (e.g., Java). Integration with component middleware (i.e., CORBA, DCOM, or JavaBeans) is also accomplished during this activity. Testing exercises WebApp navigation; attempts to uncover errors in applets, scripts, and forms; and helps ensure that the WebApp will operate correctly in different environments (e.g., with different browsers).

Each increment produced as part of the WebE process is reviewed during customer evaluation. This is the point at which changes are requested (scope extensions occur). These changes are integrated into the next path through the incremental process flow.
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