Within systems and software engineering, Computer-Aided Software Engineering (CASE) tools represent a major part of the supporting technologies used to develop and maintain information technology systems. Their selection must be carried out with careful consideration of both the technical and management requirements.
ISO/IEC 14102:2008 defines both a set of processes and a structured set of CASE tool characteristics for use in the technical evaluation and the ultimate selection of a CASE tool. It follows the software product evaluation model defined in ISO/IEC 14598-5:1998.
ISO/IEC 14102:2008 adopts the general model of software product quality characteristics and subcharacteristics defined in ISO/IEC 9126-1:2001 and extends these when the software product is a CASE tool; it provides product characteristics unique to CASE tools. This larger set of characteristics is then organized into four groups:
- characteristics related to life cycle process functionality;
- characteristics related to CASE tool usage functionality;
- general quality characteristics;
- general characteristics not related to quality.
This grouping provides a more manageable approach to the overall evaluation and selection process.
The technical evaluation can indicate how well a CASE tool meets its user's stated requirements. It can also indicate how well the tool meets its claimed functionality.
The objective of the technical evaluation process is to provide quantitative results on which the final selection can be based. Measurement assigns numbers (or other ratings) to attributes of entities; a major activity of evaluation is to obtain these measurements for use in selection. The final selection results should aim to achieve objectivity, repeatability and impartiality. These objectives and the confidence in the outcomes will in part depend on the resources allocated to the overall evaluation and selection process. The user of ISO/IEC 14102:2008 is asked to deal with these issues at an early stage.To be widely acceptable, these CASE tool evaluation and selection processes must be of value to the users of CASE tools, and to the suppliers of CASE to the community at large. The information outlined in ISO/IEC 14102:2008 should lead to more cost effective selections of CASE tools and to a greater uniformity in how CASE tool functions and features are described.