Software engineering is becoming increasingly complex. Information technology, particularly in industrial applications, is increasingly distinguished by integrated solutions that connect systems at multiple levels. Its applications range from low-level process control to high-level management and logistics of multiple independent companies.
Due to the inherent complexity of distributed systems in industrial environments, specific software engineering methods are required for their design and complexity. New methods and tools based on the component-oriented software development paradigm, role-based programming, and design patterns have been developed to meet these challenges in recent years.
New methods for integrating heterogeneous systems are also available. These methods are based on generic application protocols (for example, Web Services) that can be tailored to a specific application. Typically, customization includes the definition of terms from the application context (e.g., product or service names, attributes, etc.). This effort is aided by formal approaches (Ontologies), which facilitate term agreement and reduce the possibility of misunderstandings.
Key nodes in a distributed environment are information systems that manage a variety of data types, including relational and non-relational data. These information systems must enable quick access to and analysis of stored data. New methods such as OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) and vector databases are increasingly being used alongside traditional technologies based on relational and object-oriented databases.
On the application side, such a system must support the business processes of the organizations involved (e.g. SAP, Navison). A system must support the logistical part of these processes in addition to other functions. This includes resource management as well as activity planning and monitoring. Automatic planning methods must be used to support activity planning (e.g. search and constrained-based methods, genetic algorithms, and simulation).