Category Archives: Software Engineering

Topic 15 – Advanced Software Design

Why do I need to learn about advanced software design?

I think that I already learned about software design in the Topic 12 – Introduction to Software Design.

Now your task is not just to build a house.  Your task is to build a city. 

The situation is similar to when you create complex software. Now, you are responsible for creating a software system containing about 10,000 classes for 5,000 people to use in 15 years. The maximum system downtime must be less than 5 minutes in 15 years.
Image that you have to create a system that serves millions of people simultaneously like Facebook or YouTube or Amazon or Office 365 or Gmail. Are you able to create it?
Image that you are tasked to create frameworks for developers to extend such as ASP.NET Web Forms or ASP.NET MVC or  Laravel or Yii. Are you able to create one?
If you are not sure how to fulfill these tasks then probably, you should learn how other people crafted similar systems and adapt their experiences to your case. Advanced software design knowledge will then be useful for you.

What can I do after finishing learning advanced software design?

You will know how to design a very complex software system that satisfies not only functional requirements but also security, modifiability, scalability, reusability, extensibility and reliability requirements.

That sounds interesting! What should I do now?

Advanced software design requires a lot of reading. Please do review your software design knowledge introduced in the Topic 12 - Introduction to Software Design first.
Because nowadays software can be applied to many fields, each of them requires specific advanced software design knowledge, in this topic, we only focus on enterprise software because of its popularity.
Before you design a complicated system you must thoroughly  understand its sophisticated requirements. This is a critical step when building a large system. Please read this "David C. Hay (2002). Requirements Analysis: From Business Views to Architecture" book to learn how to capture requirements for an enterprise system.
After that please read this "Deepak Alur et al. (2003). Core J2EE Patterns: Best Practices and Design Strategies" book this "Martin Fowler (2002). Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture" book.
After that please read 
- this "Eric Evans (2003). Domain-Driven Design: Tackling Complexity in the Heart of Software" book and
- this "Jimmy Nilsson (2006). Applying Domain-Driven Design and Patterns: With Examples in C# and .NET" book and 
- this "Scott Millett and Nick Tune (2015). Patterns, Principles, and Practices of Domain-Driven Design" book.
After that please read this "David Budgen (2011). Software Design" book.
After that please read this "Len Bass et al. (2012). Software Architecture in Practice" book, especially chapter 5, 8 and 11.
After that please read 
- this "Cloves Carneiro Jr. and Tim Schmelmer (2016. Microservices from Day One: Build robust and scalable software from the start" book and 
- this "Sam Newman (2016). Building Microservices: Designing Fine-Grained Systems" book.

After finishing the books please click Topic 16 – Calculus to continue.

Topic 13 – Software Project Management

Why do I need to learn about software project management?

Knowing how to create applications does not mean that you will create software SUCCESSFULLY. Creating software successfully means that you satisfy all customer's REQUIREMENTS on TIME and on BUDGET with high QUALITY while making both customer and yourself HAPPY. Especially, your software must create REVENUE for your customer.

Have you ever wondered why many software projects failed; why Google, Microsoft, IBM, etc. abandoned many projects? Software project management will provide you knowledge so that you could improve the success of your software projects and mitigate all the project risks.

What can I do after finishing learning about software project management?

You will know how to plan a project, including scoping, estimating time and resources, creating a schedule, identifying and responding to risks, etc. 

You will know how to create software following a methodology (i.e. waterfall, rational unified process, iterative and incremental development, agile method, Scrum method, extreme programming).

You will know how to manage project configurations, how to control project changes, how to report project status, how to control product quality, process quality.

You will know how to collaborate with others to create software, how to motivate your partners.

Uh-oh! I am a developer. I do not want to be a project manager. Do I really need to learn this topic?

If you have a doubt about its usefulness then please only return to this topic 
- when you are asked by your manager when you can finish your task and you do not know the answer or 
- when you cannot work with other team members together to finish a task requiring a collaboration to be done or 
- when you cannot complete a task on time due to incidents or 
- when you wonder why a project manager's salary is 3 times larger than yours.

Alright! What should I do now?

Software project management requires a lot of reading. At this point you need to read at least 7 books about software project management.
In order to get familiar with software project management please read this "Andrew Stellman and Jennifer Greene (2005). Applied Software Project Management" book first.
After that please read this "Frederick P. Brooks Jr. (1995). The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering" book to learn the timeless principles of software project management.
After that please read this "Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister (2013). Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams" book to learn how to deal with human side of software project management.
After that please read this "Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister (2003). Waltzing With Bears: Managing Risk on Software Projects" book to learn how to deal with software project risks.
After that please read this "Philippe Kruchten (2003). The Rational Unified Process: An Introduction" book and this "Per Kroll et al. (2003). The Rational Unified Process Made Easy: A Practitioner's Guide to the RUP" book to learn how to develop software using a managed process.
After that please read this "Scott W. Ambler et al. (2005). The Enterprise Unified Process: Extending the Rational Unified Process" book.
After that please read this "Steve McConnell (2006). Software Estimation: Demystifying the Black Art" book to learn how to estimate effort, time and cost for a software project.
After that please read 
- this "Ken Schwaber (2004). Agile Project Management with Scrum. Microsoft Press" book and
- this "Jonathan Rasmusson (2010). The Agile Samurai: How Agile Masters Deliver Great Software. Pragmatic Bookshelf" book and
- this "Kenneth S. Rubin (2012). Essential Scrum A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process. Addison-Wesley Professional" book and
- this "Mike Cohn (2010). Succeeding with Agile - Software Development Using Scrum. Addison Wesley" book and
- this "Kent Beck and Cynthia Andres (2004). Extreme Programming Explained Embrace Change. 2nd Edition. Pearson Education" book and
- this "James Shore and Shane Warden (2008). The Art of Agile Development. O'Reilly" book.
After that please read this "Mike Cohn (2005). Agile Estimating and Planning" book.
After that please read this "Project Management Institute (2017). A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge" book.
 After finishing the books please click Topic 14 - Introduction to Database Design to continue.

Topic 12 – Introduction to Software Design

Why do I need to learn about software design?

What will you do if you are tasked to build a house. You will need to sketch its first and build the house based upon the sketch. Otherwise you may build a house that may collapse in a few weeks or cannot be decorated due to errors.

The situation is similar when you create software. You need to plan how you will build it first by deciding how many components and objects will be used and what are their responsibility, how they work together, how data will be organized, how data will be flowed within your application, how users will interact with the application, etc.

Software design knowledge will show you how to do these tasks.

What can I do after finishing learning software design?

You will know how to create a design for an application including static and dynamic structure, data organization, business processing workflows, etc.

Is is really useful? I feel that you can write the code right after having the requirements and I could refactor my code when needed.

That's great if you can do it like that. Just return to this topic
(i) when you do not know how to write the code for a feature or 
(ii) when you cannot refactor your code because only a small change breaks the whole application or 
(iii) when you write a software system together with 20 other developers and you do not know how to integrate results of all developers into one solution or 
(iv) when you software system serves 20 users simultaneously very well but it stops when serving 2,000 users simultaneously and you do not know how to fix it.

Alright! What should I do now?

Software design requires a lot of reading. Each application type (enterprises, games, desktop, web, mobile, security, etc.) require specific design knowledge. At this point we focus only on the basic elements of software design.
In order to get familiar with software design please read these 3 below books in parallel:
- Grady Booch et al. (2005). Unified Modeling Language User Guide.
- Craig Larman (2004). Applying UML and Patterns: An Introduction to Object-Oriented Analysis and Design and Iterative Development.
- Robert C. Martin and Micah Martin (2006). Agile Principles, Patterns, and Practices in C#.
After that please read this "Erich Gamma et al. (1994). Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software" book. Please focus on the Motivation section of each pattern. You can skip a pattern if the problem presented in its Motivation section is not relevant to your situation.
After that please read this "Frank Buschmann et al. (1996). Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture Volume 1: A System of Patterns" book.
After that please read this "Bertrand Meyer (1997). Object-Oriented Software Construction" book and this "Grady Booch et al. (2007). Object-Oriented Analysis and Design with Applications" book.
After finishing the books please click Topic 13 - Software Project Management to continue.

Topic 11 – Software Testing

Why do I need to learn about software testing?

Just image that a user installs your application, opens it and "BOOM!", it crashes. Is it good?
An even worse case is when your software operating an airplane suddenly hangs up while the airplane is still flying in the sky. Can you image what may happen?

How do you ensure that your application solves your customer's problems? How do you know if your software meets its users' requirements? How do you give your users' confidence about the correctness, reliability and security of your software?

In order to answer these questions adequately you need to learn about software testing.

What can I do after finishing learning software testing?

You will know how to design and write a test case, how to prepare test data, how to test software structurally and correctly, how to automate testing tasks, how to report bugs.

I am a programmer. I am not a tester. Do I really need to know how to test software?

Many application capabilities must be tested by a programmer.
Many software testing tasks can only be done by a programmer.
Therefore you have to master software testing knowledge.

Alright! What should I do now?

Please read 
- this "Cem Kaner et al. (1999). Testing Computer Software. 2nd Edition. Wiley" book and 
- this "Lee Copeland (2004). A Practitioner's Guide to Software Test Design. Artech House" book.

After finishing these books please click Topic 12 - Introduction to Software Design to continue.

 

Topic 10 – Software Construction

Why do I need to learn about software construction?

Knowing how to write code does not mean that you know how to create real-world software. In real world, you will need to know how to manage your code, how to read the existing code, how to write code following standard styles, how to ensure that your code is working, how to automate your code building and deployment, how to handle error in your applications, how to optimize your code for speed, how to write secure code, how to avoid code duplication, how to create readable code, how to create code faster, etc. That's why you need to learn about software construction.

What can I do after finishing learning software construction?

You will know how to create a real world application.

Hmm! Is it really useful?

If you have a doubt about its usefulness then you can delay learning it until you are tasked to create a software system and you complete a half of it and are stuck there because when you add one more feature you will get tons of bugs due to the new code. After you finish fixing 1 bug, you get 3 other bugs due to the modified code that fixes the bug.
Another scenario is that when it takes another person 6 months to read and understand the code that you wrote in 3 months in order to fix a bug or to add a new feature.

Alright! What should I do now?

Software construction requires a lot of reading. In order to get familiar with software construction you will need to read at least below books.

Please get this "Steve McConnell (2004). Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction" book and read it first.

After that please read this "Jon Loeliger and Matthew McCullough (2012). Version Control with Git: Powerful Tools and Techniques for Collaborative Software Development" book.
Alternatively, you can read  this "Ben Collins-Sussman et al. (2011). Version Control with Subversion" book.

After that please read this "Continuous Integration: Improving Software Quality and Reducing Risk" book.

After that please read this "Kent Beck (2002). Test Driven Development: By Example" book. This is an important book in this topic. Please read this book carefully.

After that please read this "Martin Fowler (1999). Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code" book. This book is very important for software construction. Please read it carefully.

After that please read this "Diomidis Spinellis (2003). Code Reading: The Open Source Perspective" book.

After that please read this "Michael C. Feathers (2004). Working Effectively with Legacy Code" book.

After that please read this "Suhas Chatekar (2015). Learning NHibernate 4" book.

After that please read this "Matt Perdeck (2010). ASP.NET Site Performance Secrets" book.
After finishing the books please click Topic 11 - Software Testing to continue.

 

Topic 9 – Software Requirements

Why do I need to learn about software requirements?

Your software can only be successful if it helps people do their work better, or faster, or with a lower cost. In order to achieve this objective, it must fulfill the need of various users.

To fulfill users' needs you need to be able to identify their context, problems and desires, then propose software solutions for their issues.
Your software solutions must be built based on its users' requirements. So you need to be able to collect, document, manage and validate their requirements. Software requirements engineering will provide you knowledge for completing these tasks.

Do not waste your time to create software that NO ONE will use. Your software will only become useful if its requirements are correctly engineered.

What can I do after finishing learning software requirements engineering?

You will know how to elicit, document, manage and validate software requirements so that they can be used for creating your software.

Hmm! Is it really useful?

If you have a doubt about its usefulness then you can delay learning it until you are tasked to create a software system but you do not know where to begin or what are the inputs for your coding.
Another scenarios that may suggest that you should come back to this topic is when you will have created an application but then you, unfortunately, find that no one wants to use it.

Alright! What should I do now?

Please read this "Suzanne Robertson and James Robertson (2012). Mastering the Requirements Process: Getting Requirements Right" book.

After that please read this "Karl Wiegers and Joy Beatty (2013). Software Requirements" book.

After that please read this "Joy Beatty and Anthony Chen (2012). Visual Models For Software Requirements. Microsoft Press" book.

After that, please read this "Alistair Cockburn (2001). Writing Effective Use Cases. Addison-Wesley" book.

Then please review this "ISO/IEC/IEEE 29148:2011(E)" standard so that you could create a quality software requirements specification.

After that, please read this "Mike Cohn (2004). User Stories Applied: For Agile Software Development. Addison-Wesley Professional" book.

After that, please read this "Jeff Patton and Peter Economy (2014). User Story Mapping. O'Reilly Media" book.
After finishing the books please click Topic 10 - Software Construction to continue.