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Construction planning also defines the order in which components are created and integrated, the software quality management processes, the allocation of task assignments to specific software engineers, and the other tasks, according to the chosen method.

Construction measurement

Numerous construction activities and artifacts can be measured, including code developed, code modified, code reused, code destroyed, code complexity, code inspection statistics, fault-fix and fault-find rates, effort, and scheduling. These measurements can be useful for purposes of managing construction, ensuring quality during construction, improving the construction process, as well as for other reasons.

Practical considerations

Construction is an activity in which the software has to come to terms with arbitrary and chaotic real-world constraints, and to do so exactly. Due to its proximity to real-world constraints, construction is more driven by practical considerations than some other KAs, and software engineering is perhaps most craft-like in the construction area.

Construction design

Some projects allocate more design activity to construction; others to a phase explicitly focused on design. Regardless of the exact allocation, some detailed design work will occur at the construction level, and that design work tends to be dictated by immovable constraints imposed by the real-world problem that is being addressed by the software. Just as construction workers building a physical structure must make small-scale modifications to account for unanticipated gaps in the builder’s plans, software construction workers must make modifications on a smaller or larger scale to flesh out details of the software design during construction.

Construction languages

Construction languages include all forms of communication by which a human can specify an executable problem solution to a computer.

The simplest type of construction language is a configuration language, in which software engineers choose from a limited set of predefined options to create new or custom software installations. The text-based configuration files used in both the Windows and Unix operating systems are examples of this, and the menu style selection lists of some program generators constitute another.

Toolkit languages are used to build applications out of toolkits (integrated sets of application-specific reusable parts), and are more complex than configuration languages. Toolkit languages may be explicitly defined as application programming languages (for example, scripts), or may simply be implied by the set of interfaces of a toolkit.

Programming languages are the most flexible type of construction languages. They also contain the least amount of information about specific application areas and development processes, and so require the most training and skill to use effectively.

There are three general kinds of notation used for programming languages, namely:

  • Linguistic
  • Formal
  • Visual

Linguistic notations are distinguished in particular by the use of word-like strings of text to represent complex software constructions, and the combination of such word-like strings into patterns that have a sentence-like syntax. Properly used, each such string should have a strong semantic connotation providing an immediate intuitive understanding of what will happen when the underlying software construction is executed.

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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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