What is Object-Oriented Analysis & Design?

Instructor: Elizabeth Wamicha

Elizabeth teaches undergraduate courses in Business and Information Technology for the last 7 years. She is currently on course to completing a Doctorate in Information Systems

This lesson provides an overview of what object oriented analysis and design is and its use in the domain of software engineering. The lesson also briefly describes basic principles in the area of object oriented programming.

Object Oriented Analysis and Design

Have you ever wondered how that really efficient piece of software on your mobile device was developed or what process a programming team followed to develop an idea or concept into a fully functional system? Well, object oriented analysis and design (OOAD) can actually help answer these questions.

Developing great software is never an easy process, especially if you are trying to figure out the best place to start. When developing software, you need to be able to understand what your end product (that's your software) is actually supposed to do and what sequence of steps you need to take in order to achieve this end goal.

This is where OOAD comes in. OOAD is often used in the area of object oriented programming (OOP). OOP aims to produce software that is efficiently written with few instances of duplicated code (not to mention code that is flexible and robust). The OOP approach also helps develop code that we can easily relate to the physical world we know and live in.

Before we get into the details of OOAD, let's briefly look through some concepts and terminologies around OOP.

OOP Concepts and Terminologies

The following are the most common concepts and definitions found in the area of OOP:

  • Objects: concrete things that are found in the real world, such as a student, a customer or a product

Two Students

Fig 1: Students are an example of concrete things found in the real world

  • Functions or behaviors: define actions that will usually have some outcome; for example, a student will provide a name and unique admission number

Functions

Fig 2: Student function or behavior includes providing their name and ID/admission number

  • Classes: describe objects into groupings that have some common functions or behaviors; for example, Ann and Tom are students or belong to the student class

Classes

Fig 3: Ann and Tom can be generated from the student class

  • Instantiation: An object is described as a real life representation of a given class; in other words, think of a class as the mold from which several objects can be generated (this process of generation is termed as instantiation); for example, when Ann is admitted into a school or university with students, she becomes an instantiation of the class student

inst

Fig 4: This figure shows the process by which Ann becomes a student object for a given university.

Alright then. That was just a snapshot of concepts critical to OOP. Let's now look at the OOAD process or sequence of steps.

The OOAD Process

The OOAD process is a sequential set of steps that begin with gaining a clear understanding of the needs and requirements of the customer and ends with a final blueprint or design of the application that matches, as closely as possible, the requirements of the customer. The framework is divided into four distinct phases, which include planning, requirements gathering, construction and transition.

1. Planning: where we determine the scope of the project; what we plan to do versus what we don't plan to do. Some of the outcomes of this phase include a vision and mission document and a brief initial overview of the customer's requirements.

2. Requirements gathering: a successful application depends largely on how well you are able to understand the requirements of your customer or target audience and how well you are able to transfer these into a working application. This phase focuses on collecting relevant information from future users of the system (and other important stakeholders such as top management) in order to establish what problems exist and how a software can help solve these problems.

3.Construction/Execution: made up of two parts:

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