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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:
Real Time Software Systems
Author:
J E Cooling
ISBN:
1 85032 274 0
Publisher:
ITP
Pages:
463pp+CD
Price:
£24-95
Reviewer:
Chris Hills
Subject:
real time; object oriented; embedded systems
Appeared in:
10-2
I am not sure I agree with the title for this book. The subtitle is more accurate - 'an introduction to structured and OO design'. Yes, it does touch on real time but 95% of the book is split between Yourden and OMT. The remaining 5% covers design in software engineering.

The design section is a short but fascinating text on what design is and why diagramming is used in design. When to start diagrams (as opposed to text), how much to put in a single diagram. It is almost philosophical in places but is very practical and not appertaining to any particular method. This is a very useful chapter that should be in all books of this type. Analysis and Design are a state of mind; the method is the tool.

Despite what many OO pundits would have us believe structured methods are still alive and used with languages like C and in this book Modula 2. There is not much source code in the book and C people should have no trouble with the Modula 2. The 250 pages cover all aspects of (Yourden) structured design, including the (Ward-Mellor&Hatly) real time extensions.

The OO (OMT) section is smaller at 150 pages but it all seems to be there. The language used for examples is C++.

The text is obviously written by an academic who has seen all the mistakes made before. So this book, whilst not patronising, would be suitable as an introductory text. All the examples are control systems and of a real time nature. The pages are well packed with little white- space.

At the end of both sections is a major design example. A chilled water controller. It is the same for both sections and they use the same system description. This enables a direct comparison to be made between the methods.

The CD contains both the Yourden and the OMT Standard Edition CASE tools from Select. These are industrial strength tools. For example the Select Yourden tool is currently in use at the company I work for. The OMT tool is as good as any other for the PC platform. NB both tools are for the PC Win31 platform and are for non-commercial use only.

On the down side there are exercises with no answers. The author is an academic but does not give an email address.

I recently reviewed another book that I said was worth the money just for the CD. The same is true in this case but unlike the other book this book is also worth the money for the content of the book alone. A must for all software engineering students who need to learn a methodology and those at home who thought they could never afford a CASE tool. One book covers the lot.