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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Title:
Practical Software Maintenance
Author:
Thomas Pigoski
ISBN:
0 471 17001 1
Publisher:
Wiley
Pages:
382pp
Price:
£34-95
Reviewer:
Roger N Lever
Subject:
re-usable code; management; writing solid code
Appeared in:
10-5
Anyone who works in the Software Industry knows of, or has been involved in, Software Maintenance. However, what is probably less well known is that there is a 'standard' (ISO/IEC 12207) which can be usefully applied. The author, clearly experienced, presents a multitude of ideas and practices for implementing and using a software maintenance process.

The author draws his experience from his work on large military software systems but what he has to say is generally applicable. The introductory sections provide an overview of software maintenance, why it is expensive and an abbreviated evolution of software development models. The heart of the book, which examines the ISO/IEC 12207 standard within a practical context, follows this. Subjects that he covers in sufficient detail that one could actually 'do something' include:

  1. Pre-Delivery Software Maintenance Activities
  2. Maintenance Concept, Plan and Resources
  3. Transition, from development to maintenance
  4. Organisation, Tools, Environment, Metrics, Education and Training
The text is clear, easy to read and provides real world experience tips - the sort of gotchas that can be avoided if you know what to look for. Each chapter is organised around a theme and contains examples, a summary and some further questions, which betrays the fact that the author also has some experience in teaching. For C/C++ developers, there is general background information and little tips that might prove useful, for example, the rule of thumb that states that it takes one full-time maintenance person for every 20K LOC. The book is well laid out and there is a logical progression of ideas - in short it is well worth reading for those who are interested in establishing, or using, a process for software maintenance.