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Driving Success through Model-Driven Software Development

By CIOReview | Tuesday, January 17, 2017

An unprecedented proliferation of mobile applications is transforming processes across industries. Software developers are adopting application development approaches resulting in apps that are attuned to the market demands and emerging technologi`es. Earlier, Model-driven development (MDD) was a preferred approach for organizations looking to simplify the process of design while promoting code reuse and best practices in the area of application development. Enterprise software and mobile apps built through MDD has over the years turned into a purely technical process over time, making it difficult to communicate queries and feature proposals to the stakeholders during the design process.. Building a modern day MDD strategy today actively revolves around a pathway to streamline the communication between the various stakeholders during the software development process.

Where the Outdated MDD Falters

Although the model-driven software development methodology supports rapid and cost-effective implementation of software, it does not cater to the need of empowering all the stakeholders in an application/project. For instance, an early model tool such as Eclipse framework did not link with stakeholders outside the development team as it followed a flowchart approach with substantially lower levels of abstraction. With software development involving a multitude of stakeholders including the line departments who would be using the software along with the end users of the software, the MDD model today must facilitate effective stakeholder communications between the software architects and non-technical staff.

Also, MDD has to be executed based on abstract models that can be decomposed along with the design process in order to drive the efficiency of the software development. This decomposing of an application into a set of business-supporting functions would embody the goals set to achieve the desired benefits as envisioned by the senior management, line departments, and the end users. The failure to recognize the real-life scenarios or situations often renders the MDD approach less useful for the product development process.

Benefits of a MDD Strategy

MDD is widely known for its ability to bridge the gap between enterprise architect roles and the ongoing application lifecycle management processes. Enforcing a top-down development methodology, the goal of an effective MDD strategy entails decomposing applications into “externalized functions” which can be observed by a user. This is then followed by software-and-technology functions such as APIs, data models, and the coding part.  

The MDD approach is often preferred for the economic advantage it offers while building models that can be showcased before investors to attract funding for a project. While allowing the end-users to visualize the integrated end product, the MDD model significantly reduces the actual time spent on building the product. A flawlessly built model aids in the reduction of the number of iterations of the testing process, eventually creating quicker integrations.      

Looking Forward to a Revamped MDD Experience

Transcending the traditional role of facilitating “flowchart conversion into code”, the MDD approach today plays a pivotal role in connecting the front end of development to the resulting code. The future of modern MDD lies in a model-centric basis of development that incentivizes architect participation at lower levels in a development process. This will lead to increased and continuous interactions between enterprise architect and software architect roles throughout the development process. EA-centricity will be a key differentiator for the modern day model-driven software development in addition to dedicated support for engaging operating departments and senior management. Organizations equipped with formal EA models will be at advantage when adopting a modern MDD approach as having an existing framework will make it all the more easier to define higher layers of their MDD models. A resurgence of the MDD model has been predicted by the experts as it facilitates the development of applications that help enterprises achieve their business goals.