A Systems Perspective on the Quality Description of Software Components
In this paper we present our rational for proposing a conceptual model for the description of quality attributes of software artifacts, in particular suited to software components. The scientific foundations for our quality description model are derived from researching systems science for its value to software engineering. In this work we realized that software engineering is concerned with a number of interrelated conceptual as well as concrete systems. Each of them exhibits the basic system theoretic principles and is strongly related to certain types of qualities. Such qualities receive particular attention in the context of large software systems, where systems are a combination of in-house and third party products and are increasingly integrated by means of software component technology. Consequently, a quality data sheet is needed by component users to gain trust in, and to evaluate the possible employment of, a candidate component. Interestingly, the concept of a software component appears in most of the aforementioned different types of systems. Hence, it is an excellent means to carry quality related information that belonged to different spheres up to now. The qualities range from those related to the development economics to those related to the execution performance. This paper is an extended version of the paper presented at the 6th World Multiconference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics (SCI2002), Orlando, July 14-18, 2002, Vol. VII, p. 250-255.