Design Components Review
As already explained, design consists of four major ingredients. They are ERD and table design, program specifications, codification scheme and input & output layouts. We will now have a look at these individual design elements for their review procedures.
1. Review of ERD & Table Design
The review starts with checking the syntactical rules drawing the ERD. It then finds out whether all the user requirements are reflected in the ERD and tables. ERD needs to be in harmony with the tables.
The rules for normalization and primary as well as foreign keys also come under the lens. Of deviations are observed, they need to be substantiated with practical justifications. Reasonableness of fields about their compute-or-store dilemma has to be ensured.
Consistency of similar fields/attributes is to be examined. If one of the address fields/attributes is specified with a width of 50 characters, all the addresses in the database should follow the suit.
An exceptional case is one more point to be noted. If there are some out-of-box entries or records, they must be either taken out of the automation preview or else accommodated in the system design that mar the implementation due to lack of discretion in computers.
2. Program Specifications
The program specifications have to be looked at for their exhaustiveness, so that nothing is left out and user requirements are not kept hanging.
Secondly all the programs taken together must project an overall functionality of the proposed system, implying the need for a neat (either serial or parallel) path of execution in terms of one program after other.
Thirdly, each program specification should be presented in a uniform manner. For example, starting with the program name, it should go ahead with the purpose explained in a small paragraph, the positioning of the program in the whole system, the run time inputs it excepts from the users, the files it handles with their respective read/write/re-write/view/print mode, reports it throws out, etc.
3. Codification Scheme
Codes are to be inspected on various counts. Firstly, the new code insertion should be as minimal as possible. Secondly, the codes should be meaningful and simple to use without any burden on the users to remember. Codes should help in sorting and re-shuffling of the data files. Future scope for expansion is one more feature of the codes.
4. Input & Output Layouts
Input and Output layouts pose a sizeable task for review. There are some common features to both inputs and outputs like their user friendliness, mapping well with the erstwhile patterns to facilitate the ease of use, concise & crisp layout, simplicity in reading navigation and avoiding the cluttered view.
Specific points about input are that input forms should be well mappable with the paper form providing effortless feeding operations, ample notes and prompts for users to fill up, clipping/file margins on left margin, meaningful and yet short titles of the form, etc. for electronic forms, some more features are to be ensured, like continuous guiding and prompting to users with messages on the last line on the screen, context sensitive help, validation at the field and/or file level, etc.
Outputs must be adhere to the common sense rules like printing data, time, location, the name of the user generating the report, totals of relevant numeric items at the page-end, group-end and report-end, etc. Programs for printed reports should prompt the users to load appropriate stationary like pre-printed forms, multi-part paper with carbon inserted, etc. Likewise, programs for on-screen report should look into screen specific GUI standard described elsewhere.
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