Chapter Three Software: The Essence of Computers<br />“The number one benefit of information technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive. It lets people learn things they didn't think they could learn before, and so in a sense it is all about potential.” <br />Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft Corporation<br />
Unleashing Executive Brainpower</li></li></ul><li>Pressman:<br /> “Software is (1) instructions (computer programs) that when executed provide desired features, function, and performance; (2) data structures that enable the programs to adequately manipulate information; and (3) documents that describer the operation and use of the programs.”<br />Sommerville:<br /> “Computer programs and associated documentation. Software products may be developed for a particular customer or may be developed for a general market.”<br />What is software?<br />
<ul><li>Software is developed or engineered; it is not manufactured in the classical sense.</li></ul>The cost of developing software is focused in engineering process, so the software project cant be managed as in manufacturing project<br /><ul><li>Software doesn’t “wear out”.
Although the industry is moving toward component-based construction, most software continues to be custombuilt. </li></ul>a software component should be designed and implemented so that it can be reused.<br />Software Characteristic <br />
Operating System Tasks<br />Supports Other Programs. The operating system acts as the intermediary between the programs and hardware. For example, when a user requests a word processing program to list word processing document files available on the USB flash drive, it calls on the operating system to perform this task.<br />
Operating Systems<br /><ul><li>Operating System Types: Although Windows and its predecessor, DOS, have dominated the hospitality computer market, Unix and Linux are gaining in popularity due to their power, flexibility, and portability. Unlike Windows and DOS, Unix and Linux are based on open standards like the Internet, allowing them to run on virtually any computer. Click on this Video Link: Dell - Linux 101.
Customized Software<br />Software development has not been able to satisfy the demand for custom software. Consequently, most hospitality users rely on prepackaged business applications.<br />Hospitality vendors are now designing software programs to provide customizable screens, reports, menus, and user interfaces. Click on this Video Link: A discussion on creating customized solutions for restaurants.<br /> In 1920, it was predicted that every man, woman, and child would have to be a telephone operator by 1960 to accommodate people using telephones. Oddly enough, this became a reality because telephones were created that everyone could easily afford, understand, and operate. Likewise, future computer operators will begin to look more and more like programmers equipped with sophisticated tools allowing programs to be expeditiously created and modified with use. <br />Exciting developments are on the horizon where end-users will play an integral role in the reaching the next stage of the software revolution. <br />Example: MARSHA, HOLIDEX, OnQ<br />
Software Quality - FURPS<br />Usability Principles<br />Provides self-explanatory choices.<br />Information is presented in organized fashion allowing the user to quickly spot the appropriate command or choice.<br />Screen layouts are carefully formatted with appropriate font sizes and colors and not too much information. <br />Task and key descriptions are precisely defined and easily understood.<br />Related tasks are grouped together Tasks should also be grouped according to their sequence of use, frequency of use, function, and importance.<br />The user always know where he or she is located in the program.<br />The system keeps the user informed of system status and when problems are encountered.<br />The system responds to user requests within 10 seconds.<br />Task and keyboard/input definitions are consistent throughout the program.<br />Uses appropriate color combinations. <br />
Software Quality - FURPS<br /><ul><li>Reliability – Refers to the number of software defects or errors. Click on this Video Link: Troubleshooting software errors. A reliable program produces accurate information and provides the ability to quickly recover from software errors without jeopardizing the integrity of files. Click on this Video Link: Testing for software bugs.
Performance – Refers to program speed and response time. A front office program requiring a user to execute eight steps to print a guest folio impedes organizational efficiency and customer service.
Word Processing<br />Features<br /><ul><li>Spell Checker. Identifies misspelled words, typos, repeated words (e.g., from from) and incorrect capitalization (fFrom). Spell checkers contain over 400,000 words and frequently flag correctly spelled words. Dictionaries can be selected based on the target audience (e.g., British). Words not found can be added to the spell checker’s custom dictionary. It is important to remember that spell check does not replace good proofreading.
Aut0-Summarize. Identifies the key points in a document and creates a summary for others to read
Style Checker. Checks a document for readability. For example, a Hemingway short story is written at a fifth grade level according to one style checker.
Thesaurus. Suggest synonyms for any word. It is best to choose simple words.
Other Features. These programs can create watermarks (e.g., confidential appears in the background on each page), visible and invisible digital signatures, multicolumn documents, and the automatic generation of indexes and tables of content. They enable the insertion of graphics, video clips, sound files, charts, and illustrations to grab the reader’s attention. They can do equation editing, drawing, and mail merges, the combining of names and addresses with a form letter. Mail merge, for example, can be used to personalize e-mail newsletters by inserting each contact’s first and last name at a designated point in the e-mail. </li></li></ul><li>Word Processing<br />Features<br /><ul><li>Desk Top Publishing. Since word processors can merge text and graphics on the same page, they can do basic desk top publishing, an inexpensive production system for generating typesetting quality text and graphics. A word processing program can efficiently create a five-page newsletter or a simple brochure with only a few graphics.
Multiple Views. For example, a document can be viewed in a number of different ways in MS Word 2007. The “Outline View” shows the structure of the document, enabling the user to rearrange content by clicking and dragging content to new locations. To check through a document quickly, the user may either select a “Draft View,” which hides images and graphics, or a “Full Screen Reading View,” which displays two pages of the document at a time. The “Web Layout” view displays the document as if it were an online document. </li></li></ul><li>Electronic Spreadsheet<br />Click here to see Microsoft Excel Tutorial<br /> Row<br />Features (Click on this Video Link: Overview of Microsoft Office Excel 2007)<br /><ul><li>Function Formulas. A spreadsheet provides a number of ready made formulas for performing a series of operations on a specified range of cells. Formulas have been developed for database functions, date and time functions, financial functions, logical functions, mathematical functions, statistical functions, etc. To identify which cells are used in a formula, Excel 2007 provides a “Formula Auditing” tool that draws blue arrows from the current cell to all of the cells on the worksheet involved in the calculation.
“What if” Analysis: Once data is entered into the spreadsheet, the user can modify the spreadsheet without reentering the data and manipulate the numbers to project various situations such as: “ What if we increase our menu prices by 5%.”
Electronic Spreadsheet<br />Features<br /><ul><li>Naming Function. This feature enables the user to name a cell (or range of cells) that can be referenced in a formula (e.g., +A1*markup rate). Referring to a cell by a name, rather than by the cell location, also makes reading, constructing, and debugging formulas far easier.
Move and Copy. Spreadsheet data can be moved from one place to another as well as duplicated, including formulas.
Links Spreadsheets/Worksheets. This is useful for consolidating data from multiple spreadsheets (e.g., master consolidated sales volume spreadsheet for a restaurant chain), creating different views of the data, and streamlining complex models (e.g., breaking down a complex spreadsheet into smaller, interdependent spreadsheets saves time and memory). </li></li></ul><li>Electronic Spreadsheet<br />Features <br /><ul><li>Macros. A mini programming language that enables a user to store a list of commands in a template executed by one key stroke, automating tedious and frequently repeated tasks such as a weekly labor analysis.
Database Software<br />Employee Directory Table<br />Column = Field<br />Row= Record<br />Features<br /><ul><li>Different Structures. There are a number of different ways to structure databases.
Some can manipulate a collection of data just a table at a time: This is called a flat-file database. The classic example of a flat-file is a database consisting of a small, fixed number of fields such as name, address, and phone number.
A relational databaseallows data to be retrieved or updated from several tables at once. For example, when the reservation record for Don Shula is completed, the VIP and guest history files will be updated.
An object-oriented database does not store data in tables but as objects, such as customers, suppliers, and reservations. An object is a single entity combining data (e.g., customer photograph) and methods (e.g., print photograph). These reusable, self-contained program units can communicate with each other (e.g., customer object sends a message to a reservation object). A key advantage of this database structure for some applications is that it can significantly increase the speed of information retrieval. In 2006, Starwood Hotels and Resorts deployed an object-oriented database for its central reservation system. This significantly increased the throughput of reservation inquiries. As a result, room prices could be adjusted in real time according to supply and demand to improve occupancy and yield rates. </li></li></ul><li>Database Software<br />Features<br /><ul><li>Report Generator. Enables users to design comprehensive reports.
Select templates appropriate to the message and image and enhance readability. Use the same colors and fonts throughout the presentation. </li></li></ul><li>Integrated Software<br /> Integrated software is an effort by the software industry to combine a number of software capabilities into a single package with a common set of commands and rules for its use. This allows a user to perform a variety of tasks without having to switch programs or learn different commands and procedures to run each one of them.<br />
Integrated Software<br />Microsoft Office is an example of an integrated software package. It includes:<br /><ul><li>Microsoft Word – A word processing application