Prototyping Methods

Authored by: Paul W. Parry

Encyclopedia of Software Engineering

Print publication date:  November  2010
Online publication date:  November  2010

Print ISBN: 9781420059779
eBook ISBN: 9781351249270
Adobe ISBN:

10.1081/E-ESE-120044314

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Abstract

Determining the requirements for a proposed software system is a notoriously difficult activity. Problems stemming from the lack of stakeholder activity, the difficulty of discussing software features that do not yet exist, and the complexities inherent in the requirements-gathering process, to name but a few, can conspire to adversely affect the outcome of this critical stage of a software development project. To this end, software prototyping is advocated as a means to overcome these difficulties. Developing a model or mock-up of the proposed feature set provides a risk-free, low-cost focal point for discussion and repeated experimentation. This entry explores this widely used software development technique. It provides a rationale for prototyping and the ideas that underpin it. It also presents some of the more widely used prototyping methods employed in software development projects today. In doing so, the processes, advantages, and drawbacks of these methods are described.

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