Monday, March 20, 2017

IEEE January/February Issue, Blog, and SE Radio Summary

Associate Editor: Brittany Johnson (@brittjaydlf)

The January/February issue of IEEE Software continues to deliver new and exciting things happening in the software world. This issue covers a few different of topics, such as global software engineering and software requirements, but focuses on software engineering for the internet of things. A large subset of the articles in this issue

This issue features an article on requirements engineering titled "Guidelines for Managing Requirements Rationale" by Anil Kumar Thurimella, Mathias Schubanz, Andreas Pleuss, and Goetz Botterweck. In this article, the authors discuss both the challenges involved in requirements rationales along with detailed guidelines for creating them. Based on the article, the guidelines presented are best suited for organizations that require both transparency and well thought out decisions.

Most of the papers in this issue discuss challenges and concerns that need to be addressed when software engineering for the Internet of Things (IoT). Aside from the introduction to this issue's focus, titled "Software Engineering for the Internet of Things" by Xabier Larrucea, Annie Combelles, John Favaro, and Kunal Taneja, this issue features the following articles on the IoT:

Some articles provide general suggestions for IoT software engineering. For example, in "Scalable-Application Design for the IoT", Vankatesh and colleagues propose a modular approach to designing and implementing context-aware IoT applications. Given the dynamic nature of IoT applications and large amounts of raw data produced, scalability becomes an important issue to address early on in the design of IoT applications. The authors propose and analyze an approach that uses context engines, or small and simple functional units, to improve scalability in context-aware IoT applications.

In "Key Abstractions for IoT-Oriented Software Engineering", Zambonelli presents common feature across IoT software and applications to determine the important abstractions for engineering IoT software. The common features he discusses come from existing IoT research on designing and developing IoT systems. Based on the common features, such as "things" and software infrastructure "glue", the author identified the following key abstractions to consider during analysis, design, and development of IoT systems: Stakeholders and Users (Analysis), Requirements (Analysis), Groups and coalitions (Design), Avatars (Design and Development), and Smart Things (Development).

With any growth and change come challenges that must be overcome. In the article "A Roadmap to the Programmable World: Software Challenges in the IoT Era", Taivalsaari and Mikkonen provide a forward-looking roadmap to a programmable world and discuss some of the challenges software developers may face along the way.  The authors highlight the differences between IoT and typical software development, such as the system of devices that comprise an IoT application, and implications of these differences along with possible challenges. Some of the challenges highlighted in this article include considerations for multi-device programming, security of IoT systems, and dealing with the distributed, dynamic, and potentially migratory nature of IoT software.

IEEE Software Blog

The blogs posts from the past couple months continue to reflect on and discuss the state of software development and provide insights into new technologies and approaches relevant to the work we do. January's blog posts focus on recent innovations in new and old technologies. Most interesting is a new tool introduced called the Unified ASAT Visualizer (UAV) which is used for comparing multiple static analysis tools on a given project. This aims to developers decide whether the costs for using more than one tool (i.e. FindBugs + Checkstyle) are worth it. February touches on the theme from the IEEE Software focus topic, Internet of Things, but also discusses other topics such as rethinking the role of developers in OSS and sustainable software design.

SE Radio

Featured on SE Radio this issues is a range of topics. Most of the episodes in this issue focus on software integrity, from testing and dealing with bugs and failures to dealing with the challenges in debugging distributed systems. Invited guests include Florian Gilcher, Gerald Weinberg, James Whittaker, Donny Nadolny, Alexander Tarlinder, John Allspaw, and James Cowling. Also, SE Radio welcomed a new member to the SE Radio Team, Edaena Salinas

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