Rationale and Software Maintenance
Software maintenance can be very expensive part of the software development process. Anyone working in the software industry during the years leading up to the year 2000 (Y2K) is all too familiar with the often unexpectedly long life-span of many software systems. The difficulties of maintaining these systems are acerbated because the original developers are often not available. Software Engineering Rationale (SER) would provide insight into why the system is the way it is by giving the reasons behind the decisions made during design and implementation. Rationale could help to indicate where changes might be needed during maintenance if design goals change and help the maintainer avoid repeating earlier mistakes by explicitly documenting alternatives that were tried earlier that did not work. In this chapter we will look at these and other ways that rationale can assist with software maintenance.
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