Function Point Analysis is a method for assessing the size of computer software in Function Points, Basically one of the practices for estimation.
The Five Components of Function Points
- Internal Logical Files
- External Interface Files
- External Inputs
- External Outputs
- External Inquiries
Internal Logical Files – The first data function allows users to apply data they are responsible for maintaining. For example, a pilot may enter navigational data through a display in the cockpit prior to departure. The data is stored in a file for use and can be modified during the mission. Therefore the pilot is responsible for maintaining the file that contains the navigational information. Logical groupings of data in a system, maintained by an end user, are referred to as Internal Logical Files (ILF).
External Interface Files – The second Data Function a system provides an end user is also related to logical groupings of data. In this case the user is not responsible for maintaining the data. The data resides in another system and is maintained by another user or system. The user of the system being counted requires this data for reference purposes only. For example, it may be necessary for a pilot to reference position data from a satellite or ground-based facility during flight. The pilot does not have the responsibility for updating data at these sites but must reference it during the flight. Groupings of data from another system that are used only for reference purposes are defined as External Interface Files (EIF).
The remaining functions address the user’s capability to access the data contained in ILFs and EIFs. This capability includes maintaining, inquiring and outputting of data. These are referred to as Transactional Functions.
External Input - The first Transactional Function allows a user to maintain Internal Logical Files (ILFs) through the ability to add, change and delete the data. For example, a pilot can add, change and delete navigational information prior to and during the mission. In this case the pilot is utilizing a transaction referred to as an External Input (EI). An External Input gives the user the capability to maintain the data in ILF’s through adding, changing and deleting its contents.
External Output – The next Transactional Function gives the user the ability to produce outputs. For example a pilot has the ability to separately display ground speed, true air speed and calibrated air speed. The results displayed are derived using data that is maintained and data that is referenced. In function point terminology the resulting display is called an External Output (EO).
External Inquiries – The final capability provided to users through a computerized system addresses the requirement to select and display specific data from files. To accomplish this a user inputs selection information that is used to retrieve data that meets the specific criteria. In this situation there is no manipulation of the data. It is a direct retrieval of information contained on the files. For example if a pilot displays terrain clearance data that was previously set, the resulting output is the direct retrieval of stored information. These transactions are referred to as External Inquiries (EQ).