Sunday, March 04, 2012

Perhaps the nicest feature of WIGGLE charts is the way they can be used with just about anybody's diagrammatic technique.
The following figure shows a Hierarchic WIGGLE, or a WIGGLE Visual Table of Contents (WVTOC) for use with a HIPO system. In this application of the WIGGLE the overall size of the boxes can be used to indicate (roughly) how big an effort we anticipate in building this box. Alternatively, it can be used to approximate how much execution time or other resource we expect to be consumed here.

A WIGGLE visual table of contents from a HIPO system (Each box has input on left end, output on right.)

Figure 27 shows a Nassi-Shneiderman WIGGLE. In this chart, the size of the wiggles in the diagram indicates roughly how uncertain we are of the particular part of the design. 
Figure 27. A Nassi-Shneiderman WIGGLE
The vertical loop wiggle is quite small, perhaps indicating we're not sure if the loop is to be done N or N+1 times. Similarly, the slanted wiggles on the decision are small, indicating perhaps we don't yet know just where the "equal" case will go. But the large wiggles dividing the right branch of the decision into three boxes are very large, indicating great uncertainty about the functions to be performed here.
All these conventions may be applied to sides of boxes, regardless of the shape of the box, as well as to arrows or other lines connecting boxes. Each of these charts should be sufficiently "clear"—as sketches—to readers who can read the original, unwiggled, chart. Just for completeness, Figure 28 shows a key to the use of the WIGGLE. Using this figure, you should be able to begin sketching your favorite design pictures using the WIGGLE, even if you're still in love with good old flowcharts.
Figure 28. The WIGGLE system condensed to a few simple rules applicable to any graphic scheme


This material on WIGGLE charts is adapted from my book, Rethinking Systems Analysis and Design.


Shannon Severance said...

Jerry, I'm not seeing figure 27 or figure 28. Mac OS X 10.6, Safari 5.1.2. I can see the picture of the cover page of Rethinking Systems Analysis and Design.

Gerald M. Weinberg said...

Shannon, I don't know what happened to the figures. They're present on the copy I publish, but seem to disappear when the post goes up. I tried fixing it, but the same thing happens (that it, doesn't happen) - Jerry