Software documentation: Building and maintaining artefacts of communication.

Title: Software documentation: Building and maintaining artefacts of communication.
Authors: Forward, Andrew.
Date: 2002
Abstract: Software documentation is an important aspect of both software projects and software engineering in general. In fact, documentation engineering has become a popular sub-domain in the software engineering community. Unfortunately, the current perception of documentation is that it is outdated, irrelevant and incomplete. For the most part, this perception is probably true. Regrettably, the documentation concern cannot be resolved by simply mandating more and better documentation. This approach fails to resolve the problem as the solution ignores the fundamental goals of software engineering. The role of documentation in a software engineering environment is to communicate information to its audience and instill knowledge of the system it describes. Documentation should efficiently allow for future software development without hindering current progress. An engineered solution to the documentation problem would involve allocating appropriate resources to document adequate knowledge about the system to the extent that both current and future development will optimally benefit. Unfortunately, neither do we fully understand the impact of documentation on current or future development, nor what aspects of documentation contribute to its ability to communicate effectively. We do not really know to what extent we should document in order to balance the trade offs between, on the one hand, allocating too many resources for documentation thus hindering present development; and, on the other hand, not allocating enough resources and thus hindering future development. To complicate matters, increasing documentation resources does not necessarily improve future software development (the ultimate goal of documentation) because we do not really understand what defines documentation quality. Our research focuses on the issue of documentation quality. In particular, which attributes of documentation make it effective to the audience and how can this information be monitored and parameterized to provide a better perspective about the relevance of documentation in a software project.
CollectionTh├Ęses, 1910 - 2010 // Theses, 1910 - 2010
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