Software Engineering-Process, Methods, and Tools


Software engineering is a layered technology. Any engineering approach (including software engineering) must rest on an organizational commitment to quality. Total quality management and similar philosophies foster a continuous process improvement culture, and this culture ultimately leads to the development of increasingly more mature approaches to software engineering. The bedrock that supports software engineering is a quality focus.

The foundation for software engineering is the process layer. Software engineering process is the glue that holds the technology layers together and enables rational and timely development of computer software. Process defines a framework for a set of key process areas  that must be established for effective delivery of software engineering technology. The key process areas form the basis for management control of software projects and establish the context in which technical methods are applied, work products (models, documents, data, reports, forms, etc.) are produced, milestones are established, quality is ensured, and change is properly managed. Software engineering methods provide the technical how-to's for building software. Methods encompass a broad array of tasks that include requirements analysis,design, program construction, testing, and support. Software engineering methods rely on a set of basic principles that govern each area of the technology and include modeling activities and other descriptive techniques.

Software engineering tools provide automated or semi-automated support for the process and the methods. When tools are integrated so that information created by one tool can be used by another, a system for the support of software development, called computer-aided software engineering, is established. CASE combines software, hardware, and a software engineering database (a repository containing important information about analysis, design, program construction, and testing) to create a software engineering environment analogous to CAD/CAE (computer-aided design/engineering) for hardware.
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