ASSIGNMENT No. 1 Note: All Questions Carry Equal Marks. Q.1 What are the differences between generic software product development and custom software development? Q.2 What are the four important attributes which all software products should have?
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Answer to What is the most important difference between generic software product development and custom software development?.
Suggest four other attributes that may sometimes be significant. Q.3 Describe the main activities in software development process and output of these activities. Use a diagram to justify your answer. Q.4 Explain why programs that are developed using evolutionary development are likely to be difficult to maintain.
Q.5 Explain the purpose of software project management activities. How it is related to software development.
Firstly in defining the differences between generic and custom software it is important to define what generic and custom software actually is; according to Dr A Capiluppi (2008, slide 5) generic software can be defined as: ‘stand-alone systems produced for an open market – production controlled by the development organisation’, whereas custom software can be defined as: ‘commissioned systems by a particular customer – production controlled by the customer organisation’. Now that these two types of software have briefly been defined, a comparison between them is that; generic software development differs from custom software development mainly in the intended users and functions for those users that will be contained within the software.
Generic software has to include as many functions as possible as it will have a very wide use base, and will need to provide functionality and usability to that wider range of users. However because of the wide use base of generic software it also needs to be quite concise with the functions that are included; as having too many functions available to users, who may not be the best experts on computers, would probably affect the ease of use of the software. Generic software also has to be developed to be very reusable and have components that can be easily modified or added to at a later date, making the software as upgradable as possible so it can have a longer useful lifetime. The development of custom made software differs from this because the uses of the software are for a lot more specific of a customer base, and usually would include components that would need to be freshly written for the software; as if generic components already existed to perform the requirements of the users then they would have brought off the shelf software. Custom software development is usually a lot more based around communication with the specific needs of the users the software is being created for, to insure the finish product will meet the needs of the end user, whilst still being made of separate components that make the software as upgradable as possible.
However as custom software is usually developed by one company/group of developers for a specific user, the upgradability and maintainability of the software will always be limited as if the knowledge from the original creators is lost, possibly through hiring of new IT support staff, then the new staff would take a long time to get to grips with the custom software and would risk damage to it when making modifications or upgrades to it at a later date. Reference: Dr Andrea Capiluppi.
Lecture 01- Characteristics of Software. Online University of Lincoln blackboard site.
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