Why to prepare the Application Software Documentation?
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For every software development or Application Software development a documentation phase is necessary to for following reasons:
- Narrow down the communication gaps among the users, designers an management.
- Provide the necessary information to develop training program for operators and users.
- Create a vehicle of information to provide evidence of progress in the development process and to monitor the process.
- Provide a means to determine in advance what will occur and when.
- Make system modifications and implementation easier.
- Make conversion of a system from one machine to another machine easier.
The main characteristics of a good Application Software documentation should have a purpose to:
- Availability: It should be accessible to those for whom it is intended.
- Objectivity: It must be clearly stated in the language that is easily understood.
- Cross-referable: It should be possible to refer to other documents.
- Easy to maintain: When the system gets modified it should be easy to update the documentation.
- Completeness: It should contain everything needed, so that those who are reading it care¬fully understand the system.
The various levels of Application Software documentation are:
Documentation for management: This includes systems proposal covering the following:
- Concepts — architectural design
- Functional design — functional requirements
- Resources required
- Development schedule
- Cost-benefit analysis
Documentation for user: For smooth operation of the system it is essential that the user understands the system fully and is aware of what is expected of him to make it work successfully. It should:
- Explain in non-technical terms all aspects of the system from user’s point of view.
- Explain how the system will operate once it is fully installed.
- Include a.sample of each input document and instructions for using it.
- Indicate operating schedules.
- Cover file layouts and file relation details.
- Highlight the limitations of the system.
- State the input document coding procedure and also the coding structure for various fields and related tables.
Documentation for system’s designers:
- System Flowchart.
- Input from layouts.
- Output report layouts.
- Layouts of Master files.
- Layouts of intermediate files.
- Implementation plans.
- Copy of program specifications.
- Input / Output Schedules.
Documentation for programmers:
- Program specifications, Input / Output layouts.
- Changes in specification, during program.
- Development or system test run.
- Source program listings.
- Test data listing.
- Test results.
- Program logic flowchart.
- Usage of any special technique.
Documentation for operational personnel: It has three subgroups of :
Data preparations: The documentations should provide samples of all input documents, card layouts, record layouts, special instruments for data preparations, retention schedules for data.
- System Flow.
- Detailed instructions for each step
- File retention schedules.
- Interrupt / Restart procedures.
- Processing schedules.
- Document receipt details.
- Quality control checking procedures for each step.
- Dispatching report details.