Using conceptual models to illustrate software
I want to remind you that for this course when we’re talking technology we’re primarily concerned with software elements of ebusiness so for our purposes we can worry less about hardware just now. While there are different types of software (system software, embedded software, etc….) we will be primarily concerned with Application Software.
Software is a fascinating technology. It’s intangible of course so you should think of it more as pure content, a concept, a product manual, or even better - a process. Software doesn’t exist in any tangible sense yet it can be very elaborate and complex. This makes it difficult, at first, to describe. In order to communicate the nature of software, say in describing how it works or in how it contains a defect, we use conceptual models. A conceptual model is like a map or an architect’s drawings. Other words like architecture, view, drawing or design are used interchangeably with conceptual model. There are all kinds of different approaches to describing software and conceptual model is just a blanket term for an abstract visual representation of something more elaborate, detailed, or complex. Through illustration, they allow us to set a context for and hone in on the area we’re concerned with and to see past less important details.
Here are just a few examples...
Conceptual modeling is really just illustrating a concept and there really are no set rules. Notice that in these examples there are elements of hardware mixed in. Even though we aren't focused on hardware their physical nature can help us to represent the distributed elements of a software system.
Posted by Mark Hemphill on February 2, 2004 | Permalink
I think that the more you can break down a process into ideas without attachments to hardware or physical things the easier it is to think and discuss the task at hand. The real root of sucess in a program or web site is what need it fofills and the characteristics it needs to do that... the details such as hardware are irrelevent in the first and most important stage of developement which is the formation of an idea for something that fills a need.
Posted by: Mike | Nov 24, 2004 2:15:47 PM
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