Change Management

Designing for Maintenance

Role of CASE

Computer Aided Software Engineering (CASE) tools are critical to maintaining applications at the functional level rather than at the code level. The argument for CASE runs something like this. The 40-20-40 rule applies to software engineering application development. The rule states that 40% of the work is performed during feasibility, analysis, and design; 20% is during coding; and the remaining 40% is during testing (see Figure 18-3).

The 80-20 rule also applies (see Figure 18-3). According to this rule, 20% of the development work is performed during the original application development. The other 80% is performed during maintenance. This ratio holds because maintenance is a much longer period of an application's life. 

Putting these two rules together, to gain substantive productivity increases we need to reduce time spent on coding, testing, and maintenance more than we need to reduce the time spent on analysis and design. CASE that covers analysis and design only reduces the time spent on documentation and maintenance of documents. CASE that includes database schema generation and code generation further reduces the coding, testing, and maintenance activities. Fully integrated CASE tools, I-CASE (see Chapter 3 and Automated Tools section of this chapter), that interface with code generators, support all of these productivity improvements. With I-CASE tools, maintenance changes are reflected in the requirements for an application. The requirements are, in turn, used to regenerate the database schemas and code for the application. Thus, the changes take place at the logical level and are automatically generated by the CASE tool at the physical level. The capability to do all application maintenance in this way is not here yet but should be before the new century.

FIGURE 18-3 Application Life Cycle Time Distribution

A more futuristic feature of CASE tools will be the ability of the tool to recognize reusable analysis and design fragments, rather than relying on humans to recognize reusable code fragments. Purchasable options of the CASE tools will include intelligent options to detect feature and function similarities across applications. The fragments would then be imported from the original library to the using application library (or repository). Very intelligent CASE will be able to recognize a design fragment, logically link to the base definition of the reused item, and use already operational code modules. This level of intelligent CASE that could manage the use of reusable code may surface in our lifetimes, but not soon.