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    Software Engineering | Function Oriented Design

    Difficulty Level : Medium

    Last Updated : 27 Mar, 2019

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    The design process for software systems often has two levels. At the first level the focus is on deciding which modules are needed for the system on the basis of SRS (Software Requirement Specification) and how the modules should be interconnected.

    Function Oriented Design is an approach to software design where the design is decomposed into a set of interacting units where each unit has a clearly defined function.Generic Procedure:

    Start with a high level description of what the software / program does. Refine each part of the description one by one by specifying in greater details the functionality of each part. These points lead to Top-Down Structure.

    Problem in Top-Down design method:

    Mostly each module is used by at most one other module and that module is called its Parent module.

    Solution to the problem:

    Designing of reusable module. It means modules use several modules to do their required functions.

    Function Oriented Design Strategies:

    Function Oriented Design Strategies are as follows:

    Data Flow Diagram (DFD):

    A data flow diagram (DFD) maps out the flow of information for any process or system. It uses defined symbols like rectangles, circles and arrows, plus short text labels, to show data inputs, outputs, storage points and the routes between each destination.

    Data Dictionaries:

    Data dictionaries are simply repositories to store information about all data items defined in DFDs. At the requirement stage, data dictionaries contains data items. Data dictionaries include Name of the item, Aliases (Other names for items), Description / purpose, Related data items, Range of values, Data structure definition / form.

    Structure Charts:

    It is the hierarchical representation of system which partitions the system into black boxes (functionality is known to users but inner details are unknown). Components are read from top to bottom and left to right. When a module calls another, it views the called module as black box, passing required parameters and receiving results.

    Pseudo Code:

    Pseudo Code is system description in short English like phrases describing the function. It use keyword and indentation. Pseudo codes are used as replacement for flow charts. It decreases the amount of documentation required.

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    Function Oriented Design

    Function Oriented design is a method to software design where the model is decomposed into a set of interacting units or modules where each unit or module has a clearly defined function. Thus, the system is designed from a functional viewpoint.

    Design Notations

    Design Notations are primarily meant to be used during the process of design and are used to represent design or design decisions. For a function-oriented design, the design can be represented graphically or mathematically by the following:

    Data Flow Diagram

    Data-flow design is concerned with designing a series of functional transformations that convert system inputs into the required outputs. The design is described as data-flow diagrams. These diagrams show how data flows through a system and how the output is derived from the input through a series of functional transformations.

    Data-flow diagrams are a useful and intuitive way of describing a system. They are generally understandable without specialized training, notably if control information is excluded. They show end-to-end processing. That is the flow of processing from when data enters the system to where it leaves the system can be traced.

    Data-flow design is an integral part of several design methods, and most CASE tools support data-flow diagram creation. Different ways may use different icons to represent data-flow diagram entities, but their meanings are similar.

    The notation which is used is based on the following symbols:

    The report generator produces a report which describes all of the named entities in a data-flow diagram. The user inputs the name of the design represented by the diagram. The report generator then finds all the names used in the data-flow diagram. It looks up a data dictionary and retrieves information about each name. This is then collated into a report which is output by the system.

    Data Dictionaries

    A data dictionary lists all data elements appearing in the DFD model of a system. The data items listed contain all data flows and the contents of all data stores looking on the DFDs in the DFD model of a system.

    A data dictionary lists the objective of all data items and the definition of all composite data elements in terms of their component data items. For example, a data dictionary entry may contain that the data grossPay consists of the parts regularPay and overtimePay.

    grossPay = regularPay + overtimePay

    For the smallest units of data elements, the data dictionary lists their name and their type.

    A data dictionary plays a significant role in any software development process because of the following reasons:

    A Data dictionary provides a standard language for all relevant information for use by engineers working in a project. A consistent vocabulary for data items is essential since, in large projects, different engineers of the project tend to use different terms to refer to the same data, which unnecessarily causes confusion.

    The data dictionary provides the analyst with a means to determine the definition of various data structures in terms of their component elements.

    Structured Charts

    It partitions a system into block boxes. A Black box system that functionality is known to the user without the knowledge of internal design.

    Structured Chart is a graphical representation which shows:

    System partitions into modules

    Hierarchy of component modules

    The relation between processing modules

    Interaction between modules

    Information passed between modules

    The following notations are used in structured chart:


    Pseudo-code notations can be used in both the preliminary and detailed design phases. Using pseudo-code, the designer describes system characteristics using short, concise, English Language phases that are structured by keywords such as If-Then-Else, While-Do, and End.

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