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Constructing for verification

Constructing for verification means building software in such a way that faults can be ferreted out readily by the software engineers writing the software, as well as during independent testing and operational activities. Specific techniques that support constructing for verification include following coding standards to support code reviews, unit testing, organizing code to support automated testing, and restricted use of complex or hard-to-understand language structures, among others.

Standards in construction

Standards that directly affect construction issues include Use of external standards. Construction depends on the use of external standards for construction languages, construction tools, technical interfaces, and interactions between Software Construction and other software engineering. Standards come from numerous sources, including hardware and software interface specifications such as the Object Management Group (OMG) and international organizations such as the IEEE or ISO.

Use of internal standards. Standards may also be created on an organizational basis at the corporate level or for use on specific projects. These standards support coordination of group activities, minimizing complexity, anticipating change, and constructing for verification.

Managing construction

Construction models

Numerous models have been created to develop software, some of which emphasize construction more than others.

Some models are more linear from the construction point of view, such as the waterfall and staged-delivery life cycle models. These models treat construction as an activity which occurs only after significant prerequisite work has been completed - including detailed requirements work, extensive design work, and detailed planning. The more linear approaches tend to emphasize the activities that precede construction (requirements and design), and tend to create more distinct separations between the activities. In these models, the main emphasis of construction may be coding.

Other models are more iterative, such as evolutionary prototyping, Extreme Programming, and Scrum. These approaches tend to treat construction as an activity that occurs concurrently with other software development activities, including requirements, design, and planning, or overlaps them. These approaches tend to mix design, coding, and testing activities, and they often treat the combination of activities as construction.

Consequently, what is considered to be “construction” depends to some degree on the life cycle model used.

Construction planning

The choice of construction method is a key aspect of the construction planning activity. The choice of construction method affects the extent to which construction prerequisites are performed, the order in which they are performed, and the degree to which they are expected to be completed before construction work begins.

The approach to construction affects the project’s ability to reduce complexity, anticipate change, and construct for verification. Each of these objectives may also be addressed at the process, requirements, and design levels - but they will also be influenced by the choice of construction method.

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Source:  OpenStax, Software engineering. OpenStax CNX. Jul 29, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10790/1.1
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