Thursday, June 06, 2002

Building Things. Mike introduced me to component-based development last summer. It's a subject that interests him, and also piqued my interest. However, the book he recommended at the time, titled Component Based Software Engineering: Putting the Pieces Together, was overwhelming at 800+ pages. However, I recently came across Component-Based Development: Principles and Planning for Business Systems, which at 224 pages is a more realistic introduction. This book is an excellent and clearly written introduction to component-based development from business and software engineering process perspectives.

It does not contain technical information for developing components in various environments, nor does it go into the relative merits of component-based development from the viewpoint of any vendor. What it does contain is a tutorial on component-based development as a software engineering discipline, and makes a strong business case for adopting this approach to software development.

If you're expecting an end-to-end life cycle you may be somewhat disappointed because the book only covers the design through build phases of development. However, since this book is more about showing the value of components this scope is more than sufficient. If, on the other hand, you are evaluating component-based development as a business strategy you'll like the details about the value and underlying processes, and how this approach differs from more traditional software development. In particular you'll like the way the author goes into organizational issues (who owns the process), and the unique requirements of component-based development (such as strict configuration control and reuse strategies, and cataloging and certifying components). The case study at the end of the book pulls the preceding 13 chapters together and provides a realistic view of the strengths and weaknesses of components.

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