Lightweight analysis of software design models at the whiteboard

Author(s): Alfredo Motta, Nicolas Mangano, Andre van der Hoek
Venue: Modeling in Software Engineering (MiSE 2013)
Date: 2013


This paper attempts to add lightweight analysis and feedback to sketching tools like Calico. The main focus is on early analysis of performance of a design. Performance is analyzed by looking at activity diagrams.

There are a few additional elements to add to each node in order to determine the performance of the design. The user must give a range of inputs that will be going through the node. These numbers do not need to be exact, but rough magnitude of expected inputs helps assess performance. The node must also be tagged with what processes it will be using such as a CPU operation, Database access, network operation, etc. The last metric it uses to assess performance is how many paths there are through the node.

The paper used a program called Calico in order to apply their theory to a real sketching program. The paper then looked at an example of an e-commerce website. Some examples of nodes were: authorize payment, store transaction, is in stock, send email, write log, etc. Paths were then drawn between these nodes and performance tags given as indicators of performance.

The paper concluded by saying there is much more research and studies to be done to determine if this technique will be helpful to developers. They would like to compare this tool to other tools and practices and also do a formal study of users. They hope this will encourage doing design work earlier in the software development process and help find performance issues before implementation.