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Module and Software Components in Software Engineering

In this article, we are going to study about the modules in a software, and also about other terms related to software components like interfaces, subprograms, subroutines, functions or methods, etc.
Submitted by Monika Sharma, on September 24, 2019

The module in software is a small part of the software that is responsible for performing any kind of functionality. Sometimes, the term sub-program is also used to refer to the term module.

If we try to define the term module (or a sub-program), then it can be defined in several different ways, like "a module is a FORTRAN subroutine", or like "a module is a work assignment for an individual developer", etc. But what all they mean is the same.

A module can be thought as a mini each which performs any of the specific tasks of the software, and the software consists of various such mini software, which can also be called as sub-programs. Each of these sub-programs is individually capable of delivering a piece of functionality independently, and these can be accessed by the users either directly or indirectly with the help of interfaces.

Modules are added into a software so that each of the functionalities can be easily identified and be understandable for other developers too. This type of Software building is known as component-based software. In this, there are different components of software and each of the components represents a modular, easy to debug and fix, and replaceable part of a system that wraps up and represents a set of interfaces.

The components based development of a software is a very effective way to develop software and has many benefits over developing the entire software under a single module. Some of the characteristics of a modular programming approach in software development are as follows:

Benefits of component based software development

  1. Each and every functionality of the software is present in a separate module (or component). This makes the code readable and easy to understand for the other co-developers too. Also, the error detection and maintenance of certain features can also be done in a much simpler and easier way.
  2. Code reusability: The components of software can be reused in other software as it is without having to code them again. Therefore, through modular programming, each module can be used again and again as it provides independent functionalities, and hence this implements reusability of code.
  3. For adding any new feature into the software (in the maintenance part), a new module for it can be created and integrated with the mainline program. This provides us with an easy to add supplement features in our application whenever required.

Drawbacks of component based software development

  1. It is easy to develop separate modules for different functionalities in a software, but it becomes extremely hard to integrate together so that they can function together under a single software. So, the integration part is a massive challenge in front of the developers.
  2. Even if a module may be able to independently display a feature from the system, but when integrated, it must have some dependencies on other components, like for getting the data or some sort of indicating signals. So, this relationship establishment between the modules takes extra lines of code and also extra time for processing.





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