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Function Modeling & Information Flow

Information is transformed as it flows through a computerbased system. The system accepts input in a variety of forms; applies hardware, software, and human elements to transform it; and produces output in a variety of forms Structured analysis began as an information flow modeling technique. A rectangle is used to represent an external entity (software, hardware, a person) A circle (sometimes called a bubble) represents a process or transform that is applied to data (or control) and changes it in some way.

Function Modeling & Information Flow


An arrow represents one or more data items (data objects) and it should be labeled. All arrows on a data flow diagram should be labeled. The double line represents a data storestored information that is used by the software. First data flow model (sometimes called a level 0 DFD or context diagram) represents the entire system. It provides incremental detail with each subsequent level. It is important not to confuse a DFD with the flowchart.

Information Flow model

Data Flow Diagrams


A data flow diagram is a graphical representation that depicts information flow and the transforms that are applied as data move from input to output. The basic form of a data flow diagram is also known as a data flow graph or a bubble chart It enables software engineer to develop models of the information domain and functional domain at the same time. Data flow diagram may be used to represent a system or software at any level of abstraction

Notations in DFDs Data Flow Diagrams show the passage of data through the system by using fine basic constructs 1) Data Flow It shows flow of data from a source to a destination. It is shown with an arrowed line with the arrowhead showing the direction of flow.

name of flow It can move from an external entity to a process, from a process to another process, into and out of a store from a process, and from a process to an external entity as well.

2) Processes: These are transformations which change incoming data flow into outgoing data flow. They are drawn in circular boxes:
Process name

The name of the process should describe what may happen to the data as it passes through the process.

3) Data/Stores It is repository of data, that is, a file or database It is represented by two parallel lines and between those lines name of data store is mentioned
Data store name

4) External entities: They are external data processing units which represent some external process, outside of the regular data flow .They rely outside the system boundaries. 5) Resource store: It represents process with resource flow. It represents flow of material than data.

Information flow refinement

DFD Guidelines
Depict the system as single bubble in level 0. Primary input and output should be carefully noted Refine by isolating candidate processes and their associated, data objects and data stores Each of the bubbles may be refined or layered to depict more detail All arrows and bubbles should be labeled with meaningful names. Information flow continuity must be maintained from level to level. One bubble at a time should be refined.

Data flow models


A level 0 DFD, also called a fundamental system model or a context model, represents the entire software element as a single bubble with input and output data indicated by incoming and outgoing arrows. Level 0 DFD refinement into level 1 DFD with all relevant processes to the system. Level 1 DFD each processes can be refined into level 2 DFD. Refinement of DFD continues until each bubble performs a simple function.

Order processing DFD