Estimating Component Integration Efforts A Neural Network-Based Approach

5.1 Introduction

Integration is one of the most promising or important tasks for Component-Based Development (CBD). The Commercial off the Shelf (COTS) Component is selected to satisfy the system requirements and after selection these components should be integrated to form the required system. Component integration is vital to the Component Selection process, so the efforts invested in integrating these components must be calculated. This chapter gives a model for estimating the efforts invested in integrating these components. The CBD process can be divided into two parts: Component Selection and Component Integration. The total efforts invested in CBD can be estimated by adding these two efforts.

COTS Components are black box entities. An application may be developed by integrating these components. COTS products are in demand today, because developers believe that system quality is high and development time is low. COTS-Based Systems (CBS) have their own problems, e.g., selection of application component, integrating components, and maintenance. Due to all these advantages, companies are unable to find time and resources to reflect market-testing capabilities because CBS are expensive and difficult to manufacture, field, and support. There is an important reason for such difficulties in constructing these systems, as organizations ignore the point of proper integration of COTS components and assume that they work by throwing different components together. Their traditional engineering skills and processes can be thrown or drawn. These things do not constitute a COTS-based system.

A solution to these problems may be illustrated by answering the following types of questions:

  • (1) How we can find the most appropriate COTS product from the market?
  • (2) To select the most suitable software component according to our requirements we have to follow these three steps:

Formulation

  • (1) To establish a transparent and controlled process.
  • (2) To define the standard element for which vendors and products should be measured.
  • (3) To establish an evaluation model with weight measurements, and identify vendors and their products.

Conduct

Vendors need to be actively involved in the conduct phase - they must complete the questionnaire and participate in a conference room pilot (CRP) session. Once evaluation of the questionnaire in finished, qualified vendors should be invited to participate in the CRP. Set aside a few days for this process and make sure the product displays are relatively close. Develop a tool to capture the final vendor and product evaluation. To facilitate consideration, consider building one or more XY-graphs to describe each vendor/product's final evaluation and the relative position of each other. To facilitate observation, also consider using bar-diagrams to capture the assessment in each element. The spreadsheet should contain the details of a specific assessment and comments on the assessment to make it easier to remember the argument. Alternatively, the spreadsheet should have autonomy.

Report

The report phase consists of finalizing the report, the method used and the conclusions agreed in your group. Additional work with vendors may also be included in the report phase.

How to integrate these COTS products into the system?

COTS integration is all about binding different components together to form a system. In software engineering, the focus shifts from one of legacy system architecture and building to the requirement of considering system context (system attributes as schedule, requirements, support and operating set-ups, cost, etc.), better products and feasible specification of products.

 
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