RE: software life cycle

Subject: RE: software life cycle
From: Megan Golding <mgolding -at- secureworks -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2001 14:06:06 -0500

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ardene Whittlesey [mailto:twriter40 -at- yahoo -dot- com]
[snip]
> Also, are use cases the same as test cases?
[snip]
----------------------------

According to _Software Requirements_ by Karl E. Wiegers, a "use case" is "a
sequence of interactions between a system and an external 'actor' that
results in the actor accomplishing a task that provides benefit to someone.
An actor is a person, another software application, a piece of hardware, or
some other entity that interacts with the system to achieve some goal."

You can think of use cases as a general flow of how two pieces "talk" to
each other. Use cases do not focus on implementation details but instead
they focus on higher-level interactions.

Use cases are one method of writing software requirements. This is a
technique that allows non-developers to state their requirements in a way
that makes sense to them. I believe use cases are the software developer's
equivalent of writing a document that is task-oriented.

Test cases, on the other hand, describe how a system will be tested for QA
purposes. Unlike use cases, test cases focus on details. I think the key
difference is that a use case is stated as a requested feature while a test
case is stated as something the system is expected to do.

For more understanding of the software development lifecycle, I highly
recommend:
[book] _Software Project Survival Guide_ by Steve McConnell
[web] http://www.worthy.com/~kcc/kccspec.html (How to Write a Software Spec)

Regards,
Megan Golding
SecureWorks, Inc.
(mgolding -at- secureworks -dot- net)

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