Use Case Design for Websites, Part 2 - Maintenance
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Most websites built today are constantly being expanded and changed. Businesses are always working on new ways to electronically communicate with customers and automate their business, which often flows through their website. Use Case implementation can often simplify maintenance as well as first pass implementation. By Use Case implementation or iterative implementation, I mean the process of implementing Use Case by Use Case. Build one Use Case, test it, and then move on to the next Use Case. This does not mean a programmer canít re-use code previously built in a new Use Case; rather, it means that each interaction line is built straight through from beginning to end. This focuses the programmer on that specific interaction thread and makes for more cohesion along each interaction.
When a programmer implements along Use Case lines, he often programs one specific user interaction at a time. This builds the website up, task by task. However, this also makes it much simpler to add or change one of those tasks later. By implementing Use Case by Use Case, the barriers that normally arise after implementation due to bad design and implementation without future additions in mind often go away. The programmer has been forced throughout the process of implementation to build the website such that is simple to add new tasks, since that is exactly what he or she has been doing throughout the entire first pass implementation.
This also makes returning to a project after it has been completed and tweaking a certain Use Case much simpler, for the same reason. Maintenance after a software project has been completed is often one of the most difficult and annoying tasks that a programmer has to undertake. It requires the programmer to completely re-learn the architecture of a project as well as re-interpret old code and then modify or add to it. However, if this process is made simpler by keeping Use Cases that explain in detail a specific interaction, a programmer can relearn much of the basic workings of a system without having to rely solely on relearning old code.
The same is true for adding new tasks to a website. When a site was built iteratively originally, it is a much simpler task for a programmer to add a new task to an already built website, again without as much relearning of old code.
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