Software Engineering-Object Oriented Paradigm


For many years, the term object oriented (OO) was used to denote a software development approach that used one of a number of object-oriented programming languages (e.g., Ada95, Java, C++, Eiffel, Smalltalk). Today, the OO paradigm encompasses a complete view of software engineering. Edward Berard notes this when he states :

The benefits of object-oriented technology are enhanced if it is addressed early-on and throughout the software engineering process. Those considering object-oriented technology must assess its impact on the entire software engineering process. Merely employing object-oriented programming (OOP) will not yield the best results. Software engineers and their managers must consider such items as object-oriented requirements analysis (OORA), object-oriented design (OOD), object-oriented domain analysis (OODA), object-oriented database systems (OODBMS) and object-oriented computer aided software engineering (OOCASE).

A reader who is familiar with the conventional approach to software engineering (presented in Part Three of this book) might react to this statement with a shrug: “What’s the big deal? We use analysis, design, programming, testing, and related technologies when we engineer software using the classical methods. Why should OO be any different?” Indeed, why should OO be any different? In short, it shouldn’t!

We discussed a number of different process models for software engineering. Although any one of these models could be adapted for use with OO, the best choice would recognize that OO systems tend to evolve over time. Therefore, an evolutionary process model, coupled with an approach that encourages component assembly (reuse), is the best paradigm for OO software engineering. Referring to figure, the component-based development process model (Chapter 2) has been tailored for OO software engineering.

The OO process moves through an evolutionary spiral that starts with customer communication. It is here that the problem domain is defined and that basic problem classes  are identified. Planning and risk analysis establish a foundation for the OO project plan. The technical work associated with OO software engineering follows the iterative path shown in the shaded box. OO software engineering emphasizes reuse. Therefore, classes are “looked up” in a library (of existing OO classes) before they are built. When a class cannot be found in the library, the software engineer applies object-oriented analysis (OOA), object-oriented design (OOD), object-oriented programming (OOP), and object-oriented testing (OOT) to create the class and the objects derived from the class. The new class is then put into the library so that it may be reused in the future.

The object-oriented view demands an evolutionary approach to software engineering. As we will see throughout this and the following chapters, it would be exceedingly difficult to define all necessary classes for a major system or product in a single iteration. As the OO analysis and design models evolve, the need for additional classes becomes apparent. It is for this reason that the paradigm just described works best for OO.
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