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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Flow Oriented Modeling - Creating a Data Flow Model

Flow models focus on the flow of data objects as they are transformed by processing functions. Derived from structured analysis,flow models use the data flow diagram, a modeling notation that depicts how input is transformed into output as data objects move through the system. Each software function that transforms data is described by a process specification or narrative. In addition to data flow, this modeling element also depicts control flow.

Data flow oriented modeling is the most widely used analysis notation. Flow oriented modeling focuses on structured analysis and design, follows a top to down methodology and uses a graphical technique depicting information flows and the transformations that are applied as data moves from input to output.

The modeling tools that are used to build a data flow oriented model include context diagrams, data flow diagrams, entity relationship diagram, control flow diagram, state transition diagram, data dictionary, process specification and control specification.

Steps to create a data flow model
- Diagram 0: develop a context diagram.
- Decompose the Process into high level processes.
- In parallel to this, develop data flow diagrams, entity relationship diagrams and state transition diagrams.
- Define data stores which includes normalization.
- Develop data dictionary.
- Finalize data flow diagrams, entity relationship diagram and state transition diagrams.
- Develop process specifications which includes PDL, decision tables or trees.
- Perform transformational analysis which includes developing structure charts.
Information flow continuity must be maintained as each data flow diagram level is refined. This means that input and output at one level must be the same as input and output at a refined level.

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