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Views

A software system can be viewed from different perspectives. Each view or perspective highlights certain features or aspects of the system, while ignoring or de-emphasizing others. A process model, such as the venerable flowchart, handily conveys the structure of algorithms but shows little or nothing of data. A domain model effectively represents object classes and their relationships but is useless for screen layout. That the common models employed in software engineering are so focused on specific aspects is not a failing but a strength. Each view simplifies the system for some purposes, making it easier for developers to talk about and think about a particular issue or kind of problem in the course of producing the software.

The user interface itself is just one view of software, representing the software as actually seen by end users. A content model provides another view of the user interface as seen from the designer's point of view, modeling its contents apart from their visual appearance or manifestation within any actual graphical user interface (Constantine 1998). A context navigation map provides a representation of all the component parts of the user interface along with their interrelationships. (For more about content and navigation models, see Chapter 44.)


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