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IDEF4, officially named Integrated DEFinition for Object-Oriented Design, is an object-oriented design modeling language for the design of component-based client/server systems. It has been designed to support smooth transition from the application domain and requirements analysis models to the design and to actual source code generation. It specifies design objects with sufficient detail to enable source code generation.

This method is part of the IDEF family of modeling languages in the field of systems and software engineering.

The IDEF3 method provides modes to represent both

  • Process Flow Descriptions to capture the relationships between actions within the context of a specific scenario, and
  • Object State Transition to capture the description of the allowable states and conditions.

This method is part of the IDEF family of modeling languages in the field of systems and software engineering.

IDEF4 method is a graphically oriented methodology for the design of object oriented software systems. The object oriented programming paradigm provides the developer with an abstract view of his program as composed of a set of state maintaining objects which define the behavior of the program by the protocol of their interactions. An object consists of a set of local state defining attributes and a set of methods (procedures) that define the behavior of that particular object and its relationship to the other objects that make up the system.

The development of IDEF4 came from the recognition that the modularity, maintainability and code reusability that results from the object oriented programming paradigm can be realized in traditional data processing applications. The proven ability of the object oriented programming paradigm to support data level integration in large complex distributed systems is also a major factor in the widespread interest in this technology from the traditional data processing community.

IDEF4 was developed as a design tool for software designers who use object-oriented languages such as the Common LISP Object System, Flavors, C++, SmallTalk, Objective C and others. Since effective usage of the object-oriented paradigm requires a different thought process than used with conventional procedural or database languages, standard methodologies such as structure charts, data flow diagrams, and traditional data design models (hierarchical, relational, and network) are not sufficient. IDEF4 seeks to provide the necessary facilities to support the object-oriented design decision making process.