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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:
Essential System Requirements
Author:
Bill Wiley
ISBN:
0 201 61606 8
Publisher:
Addison-Wesley
Pages:
250pp
Price:
£26-99
Reviewer:
Roger N Lever
Subject:
writing solid code; management
Appeared in:
13-4
This book targets the discovery and definition of critical system requirements in the analysis phase of systems development by the use of business events. Business events are described within the book and just to ensure that there is no confusion these are specifically not the events a programmer might assume (form load, focus shift, button click...). Business events are effectively a business task (create a transaction record, show all products...).

The book itself is something of an eclectic collection of techniques that the author has found useful and applied for software development structured around eliciting and defining business events. For example parts of the book deals with the project procedure for event partitioning, system behaviour, system data, system process, data/process interaction and physical design. Others deal with the overall project in terms of object partitioned response to events (class operations and interactions) and also function point estimates for the project. Throughout the text the author adds various project management tips based on his experience.

I am ambivalent as to the value of the book and the target audience. According to the author; 'It also provides an introduction to an event driven strategy for managers and users. This is a practical approach to analysis for project managers, project leaders, analysts, designers and analyst/programmers who must be productive as well as effective and who are not tolerant of thousands of pages of methodology manuals.'

On the one hand there is a useful collection of techniques described, at a guidance/overview level rather than instructional. It is also potentially useful to design systems around the concept of business events. On the other hand, those wishing to learn may find a lack of depth in the material. Those who are already familiar with analysis and design may find some useful nuggets but possibly not enough substance and those at the development end will dislike the lack of a coded example. Given these comments this is a book that needs to be thoroughly browsed by the potential reader before purchase.