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The Modular Structure of Complex Systems

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3 Author(s)
D. L. Parnas ; University of Victoria, Victoria, B.C., Canada, and the Computer Science and Systems Branch, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory ; P. C. Clements ; D. M. Weiss

This paper discusses the organization of software that is inherently complex because of very many arbitrary details that must be precisely right for the software to be correct. We show how the software design technique known as information hiding, or abstraction, can be supplemented by a hierarchically structured document, which we call a module guide. The guide is intended to allow both designers and maintainers to identify easily the parts of the software that they must understand, without reading irrelevant details about other parts of the software. The paper includes an extract from a software module guide to illustrate our proposals.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering  (Volume:SE-11 ,  Issue: 3 )