The "how" of software development


The requirements for a software can be compared to the sales prospectus of a house. From the customer’s requirements, the software developer creates the functional specification. Similar to the architect’s technical drawing and the building description, it describes how the software is to be created. In addition to technical aspects, the appearance of the software plays an overriding role here.

While the requirement profile contains the scope of services of a software to be developed individually, the requirement specification describes how the software is to be created. “Requirements specification” and “realization concept” are terms to be used synonymously in this connection. Both documents describe the technical implementation of the software.

This rather general part is followed by the concrete details. Almost every software requires a user login. Here, the specifications describe how the user logs on to the software, what happens in the event of incorrect logons, and what roles and rights the software distinguishes.

All other program functions depend on the specific use case. For example, if there are customers in the software, then a separate chapter will cover the following topics:

  • Displaying a customer list.
  • Adding customers.
  • Editing customers.
  • Deleting customers.

For each of the topics, the functional specification will describe the following functional requirements:

Wireframe or mockup showing a view of the web page or form to display and edit the data.
Data origin description. This is a description of how the displayed input and display elements of the interface are connected to data fields and tables in the database.
Description of validation rules. The validation rules are validity checks that are performed when data is entered and edited. Saving the data is usually possible only when all validity rules are fulfilled.
For example, if a table or list is displayed, then the specification contains the columns to be displayed in the list, the sort order, and the options for filtering the list (search).
As a rule, the specification also contains a description of the interfaces of the software to be created as well as the reports and evaluations to be output. Special attention is paid to the database model. It contains all database tables and fields in which the software can store information. This also includes the relational links between the database tables.

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