Re: Developer docs on existing code and systems

Subject: Re: Developer docs on existing code and systems
From: "Anthony Markatos" <tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: salan -at- home -dot- com, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 1999 09:45:38 PST

Salan asked how to document database [schemes], code, etc. after the product has already been created. He states that a primary reason for doing such is to bring new developers quickly up-to-speed.

Tony Markatos resonds:

Creating data flow diagrams and entity relationship diagrams (or their object-oriented equivalents) and other system documentation is accomplished in the same manor for existing systems as for yet-designed systems. When documenting exising systems, you may do little (if any) end user interviewing - and a lot more developer interviewing; however, the same techniques apply. There are no seperate after-the-fact techniques.

Be aware of what is probably happening here: The developers were supposed to have created such documentation. They need to do such to ensure that their design is efficient and effective. The fact that the creation of such documentation has been delayed until now means that this documentation is going to be much more complex: ad-hoc design always results in overly complex software - often hoplessly overcomplex software. (I have experienced more than one situation where trying to document software after-the-fact is like trying to document the wind.)

CAUTION: If you are the first person to perform a disciplined systematic analysis of the product, what out! You will find all kinds of inefficiences (and plain-old errors). The designers may not appreciate these being brought to their attention late in the cycle.

Tony Markatos
(tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com)

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