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Title:Real Time Software Systems


Author:J E Cooling
Cost:: £24-95
Disk: CD included


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 in two. One half on Yourden and the other OMT. The remaining 5% is on “design” in SW engineering and why do it in the first place.

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 Mod2. There is not a lot of source code in the book and C people should have no trouble with the Mod2. The 250 pages contain 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 whitespace.

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 in the annex. 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 Win3.1 platform.

On the down side there are exercises with no answers. The author is an academic but does not give an email address. (One author, an ACCU member, always gives his email address and additional information to those on line)

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 SW 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.

NOTE The CASE tools are for non commercial use only.