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The importance of image capturing and illumination notwithstanding - the evaluation software as the 'byte-cast representation' of the inspection strategy is the heart of every vision system. A particular problem of evaluation software is that its development takes place through continuous interaction with external constraints like the characteristics of the test pieces, imaging and illumination conditions. In the development of image processing software, as in other areas of software technology, two trends can be observed in the attempt to cope with these problems: i) rapid prototyping ii) component-based development. An integrated image processing system gives to the application engineer the performance of dedicated libraries, combined with the comfortable graphical environment of rapid prototyping tools and the extensibility of component-based systems.