Functional Requirements Document in Java

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The next step is to build a functional requirements document from all this information and the user requirements The functional requirements document encapsulates everything in the user stories and the meeting notes In the case of our CyberCinema site, the core of this document must be the abstract requirements, which might look something like this: 1 Reviewers must be able to write reviews 2 Reviews can contain normal text features such as bold, italic, and underline 3 Reviews can include headings to delineate one section of a review from another 4 In reviews, actor names, movie names, and director names must be links to a search facility of some kind 5 Reviews can contain links to other reviews 6 Reviews can contain links to outside URLs 7 Reviews must be searchable by movie 8 Reviews must be searchable by director 9 Reviews must be searchable by actor 10 Reviews must be searchable by reviewer 11 Movies must be searchable by director 12 Movies must be searchable by actor For simplicity's sake, I've left out some requirements, but you get the idea One approach might be to present the requirements in the document within the context of the user story I recommend building a two-column document, with excerpts from the user story in the left column and corresponding requirements statements in the right column, as shown in Figure 3-1 Figure 3-1 Requirements document format
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You then might flesh out these requirements with annotated rough interface mockups like the one shown in Figure 3-2 Figure 3-2 Rough interface mockup example
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It's important not to get too specific about the user interface here For example, in Figure 3-2, I put in a box for "Navigation Area," but I haven't specified what will be in that area You're trying to get a rough idea of how the interface will work, not pin down every last detail (That's where you get into site design and information architecture, which are out of the scope of this book) If you're interested in these topics, I suggest you read Practical Information Architecture: A Hands-On Approach to Structuring Successful Websites by Eric L Reiss (2000) After the participants in the first meeting have signed off on this document, you're ready to go on to the next step, developing a technical requirements document
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Formal Use Case Analysis with Unified Modeling Language (UML)
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The approach I've described in this chapter is loosely based on UML's Use Case Analysis A more formalized approach to gathering requirements is to use formal Use Case Analysis, which is part of the Unified Modeling Language (UML) lexicon or tool chest So what is "formal use case analysis" Use case analysis just means analyzing
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requirements based on use cases What UML gives you is strict guidelines and rules for how to document use cases, what a use case is comprised of, and so on The use cases that I've used in this book (simple declarative sentences) are a rough equivalent to UML's "essential use case" Another kind of use case, called a "real use case," is more concrete and is oriented toward the particular business process you're building A real use case describes the specific input and output of a process (for example, a person assigned the role of fact checker takes a news article as an input, checks it, and returns a fact-checked news article as an output), the technologies involved (for example, a Web-based interface), the screen flow (for example, the users first see a list of articles to be checked, they choose an article to work on, they see another screen with the full text of the article they chose, and so on), and user interface elements (for example, the user clicks on an article title) The problem with UML and why many people find it impenetrable, is the wall of terminology that has been built up around it In this chapter, I've extracted some of the better ideas and presented them in a more humanistic way I also find that UML often neglects the human elements of requirements gathering in a rigorous attempt to codify UML often reduces the user to a faceless automaton, a part of a process description, without taking into account the human factors surrounding that user For instance, the types of services you would build for an end user might differ depending on whether the user is at work or at home If users are at work, they want quick transactions that accomplish one goal (like "check today's headlines") If they are at home, they may want other services that draw them into a longer transaction (like "show me all articles about Famke Janssen") Now think about all the new situations in which you can engage an end user with the growth of mobile devices (in the car, on the train, waiting in line at the bank), and you begin to see why understanding the context and mental state of the user is important Having said all that, however, there are enormous benefits to embracing the whole UML system of thought, especially because of UML-based tools, such as Rational Rose These tools enable you to model your entire application process from requirements capture to code design and implementation Thus you can look at a method of an object and trace it back to the original use case in the requirements definition that necessitated its existence UML is essential when you're working on a large application, with many developers working on different parts, especially if those developers are in different locations However, with small- to medium-sized projects, where you have a development team of,
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say, five people and the "client" is involved in the process of development, there's a law of diminishing returns with UML The more effort you put into it, the less value you proportionately get out of it A better approach with this size project is to pick and choose the pieces of UML that you think are going to help you the most and then apply them appropriately, which is what I've attempted to do here and in the next chapter Don't take my word for it Get a book on UML use case modeling a really good one is Use Case Driven Object Modeling with UML: A Practical Approach by Doug Rosenberg and Kendall Scott (1999) Read it and apply the parts of UML that you think will help the most If you want to get serious with UML, especially dealing with XML applications, read Modeling XML Applications with UML: Practical e-Business Applications by David Carlson (2001)
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