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9IPT: Visualising Systems

posted Oct 8, 2012, 1:45 PM by Eddie Woo
Welcome to Term 4! Today we'll be looking at some new and old tools for visualising systems, because they are an important part of the design stage in the SDLC. Those tools are: context diagrams, data dictionaries, data flow diagrams and system flowcharts.

It's always easiest to understand things like this in concrete rather than abstract terms. Therefore we're going to consider these visualising tools by remembering an example system from last term - the fictional company "Pet Buddies". Here is an overview of the company and their information system: 
  • Pet buddies provides professional confidential expert home care services to breeders and keepers of birds, reptiles, fish, dogs and cats. Many of their customers are professional large-scale breeders who maintain extensive animal collections. The value of their customer's collections range from $5000 up to $10 million, the average value being approximately $40,000.
  • The information system used by Pet Buddies has the following purposes:
    • Automate the generation and distribution of activity reports
    • Personalise contact between customers and experts during home care services
    • Improve the accuracy of quotations for home care services
Now complete the following tasks:
  1. On the first side of the worksheet (figures 11.2 and 11.3), use the context diagram and data dictionary together to fill in the other's gaps. (In the context diagram, you need to label the unlabelled dataflows.)
  2. Use the information from the A5 handout to fill out the data flow diagram and the system flowchart. (The system flowchart focuses on process 4 of the data flow diagram.)