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Thursday, June 14, 2012

What is meant by Domain engineering? What activities are involved in domain engineering?

Domain engineering is nothing but also known as product line engineering. This article is focussed up on the domain engineering and the activities that are involved with it. 

About Domain Engineering

- This is the process that re- utilises the entire domain knowledge in the production of the new software systems or applications.
- The domain engineering is an important concept under the systematic re- use of the software systems and applications. 
- There is a domain by the name of “application domain” consisting of the systems that share commonalities.

You must be wondering how it is possible to cater to the varying needs of the customers by working with just a few domains. 
- The developers make it possible by repeatedly building similar software systems or applications in one domain with many variations to cater to the wide needs of the customers and clients.
- They do not develop a new system starting again and again from the scratch. 
- Effective development is achieved by re- using the portions of the already existing software system or application in the domain. This way time is also saved.
- One of the activities in domain engineering is domain analysis and it involves:
  1. Identifying domains
  2. Bounding the identified domains
  3. Discovering commonalities and variabilities among all the systems in a particular domain.

Purpose of Domain Engineering

- Domain engineering aims at improving the quality of the software systems and applications through the re- cycling of the already existing software artifacts. 
- Thus, the new software systems and applications developed with the domain engineering are not actually new as a whole but are variants of the other systems and applications within the same domain that were built earlier. 
- Domain engineering has helped in maximizing the business profits and a reduction in the time to market has been observed. 
- The overall cost of the project is also reduced and is evident in the implementation phase of the domain engineering. 
- With the domain specific languages, the code size can be restricted both in the terms of numbers and methods. 
- In the domain engineering the developers are forced to use their knowledge that they gathered during the previous software engineering processes. 
- With the development of the re- usable artifacts, the cost of the software is reduced and the quality is improved. 

Domain engineering consists of three phases and the above principle applies well to all these three phases.

1. Domain Analysis 
- This phase involves defining the domain and collecting information about it and produce model based on the collected info. 
- With such a model, the common points as well as variant points of the domain are identified and thus the development of configurable requirements is facilitated.
- Domain analysis is not be confused with the requirements engineering.
- The effectiveness of the domain engineering stays only when the re- use of the software artifacts is deployed in the earlier phases of the software development life cycle of that software product. 
- Potential sources of the domain analysis include:
(a)  Design documents
(b)  User manuals
(c)   Requirements documents
(d)  Standards and
(e)  Customers as well.

     2. Domain Design 
   - This phase makes of the domain model produced in the first phase and produces a generic architecture appropriate for this model and to which all the systems within the domain can adhere to. 
    - With the configurable requirements produced in the previous phase, a standardized solution is obtained. 
  - The solution that is generated in this phase is common for all the systems within that particular domain.

     3. Domain Implementation
     - This phase involves creation of a customized program in that domain. 

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