RE: Usable Specs?

Subject: RE: Usable Specs?
From: "Anthony Markatos" <tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: BillDB -at- ILE -dot- com, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Sat, 23 Oct 1999 09:25:48 PDT

Tony Markatos said:

From an academic perspective, software requirements specs ARE supposed to be task oriented and discuss the WHAT.

Bill Burns asks:

From an academic perspective based on what discipline? Tech comm? Software engineering?

Tony Markatos responds:

Software engineering; I do not know of any TW oriented literature on software requirements specification. I am a big fan of Ed Yourdon & friends. He is really big on task oriented specs.

(Note: Where as Yourdon would call "Remove the Staples" a function and Hackos would call the same a task, they are both the same thing -- noun/verb comibinations describing WHAT is being done within the manual and/or computerized system under consideration.)

Bill Burns asks

And at what level do specs need to be task based?

Tony Markatos responds:

All levels. At the higher levels, the tasks descriptions are more abstract (less concrete), but they still need to be highly task oriented.

Bill Burns said:

We often see one spec for the code and one for the UI. One describes how the software works behind the UI. We don't use this much. The other describes each feature of the UI.

Tony Markatos responds:

I must admit, I have not seen nor do I know about an animal called a UI spec. Having said that, a spec that (only) describes how the software works behind the UI (the other spec that you mention) will not be effective because it is not end user focused.

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