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Cohesion, as the name suggests, is the adherence of the code statements within a module. It is a measure of how tightly the statements are related to each other in a module.Structures that tend to group highly related elements from the point of view of the problem tend to be more modular. Cohesion is a measure of the amount of such grouping.

Cohesion is the degree to which module serves a single purpose. Cohesion is a natural extension of the information-hiding concept. A cohesive module performs a single task within a software procedure, requiring little interaction with procedures being performed in other parts of a program. There should be always high cohesion.

Cohesion: modules should interact with and manage the functions of a limited number of lower-level modules.

There are various types of cohesion

Functional Cohesion

Sequential Cohesion

Communicational Cohesion

Procedural Cohesion

Temporal Cohesion

Logical Cohesion

Coincidental Cohesion

Functional Cohesion

Functional cohesion is the strogest cohesion. In a functionally bound module, all elements of the module are related to erpforming a single function. Function like "computer square root" and "sort the away" are clear examples of functionally cohesive modules.

How does one determine the cohesion level of a module? There is no mathematical formula that can be used. We have to use our judgement for this. A useful technique for determining if a module has a functional cohesion is to write a sentence that describes, fully and accurately, the function or purpose of the module. The following test can be made.

  1. If the sentence must be compound sentence, if it contains comma, or has more than one verb, the module is probably performing more than one function, and probably has sequential or communicational cohesion.

  2. If the sentence contains words relating to time like "first", "next", "when", "after", etc. Then the module probably has sequential or temporal cohesion.

  3. If the predicate of the sentence does not contain a single specific object following the verb (such as "edit all data"). The module probably has logical cohesion.

  4. Words like "Initialize and setup" imply temporal cohesion.

Sequential Cohesion

When the elements are together in a module because the output of one forms the input to another, we get sequential cohesion. Here it doesn't provide any guidelines on how to combine them into modules.

P and Q modules show sequential cohesion
Fig 6.4 - P and Q modules show sequential cohesion

In terms of DFD, this combines a linear chain of successive transformations. This is acceptable.


  2. Update the current inventory record and write it to disk

Communicational Cohesion

A module with communicationl cohesion has elements that are related by a reference to the same input or output data. That is, in a communicationl bound module, the elements are together because they operate on the same input or output data. An example of this could be a module to "print and puch record". Communicational cohesive modules may be performing more than one function. However, communicational cohesion is sufficiently big so as to be generally acceptable if alternate structures with higher cohesion cannot be easily identified.

Communicational cohesivemodule consists of all processing elements, which act upon the same input data set and/or produce the same output data set.

Communicational Cohesion
Fig 6.5 - Communicational Cohesion

P and Q form a single module.

Module is defined in terms of the problem structure as captured in the DFD. It is commonly found in business or commercial applications where one asks what are the things that can be done with this data set.

Procedural Cohesion

A procedurally cohesive module contains elements that belong to a common precedural limit. For example: a loop or a sequence of decision procedurally cohesive modules often occur when module structure is determined from some form to flowchart, procedural cohesion, often cuts accross functional lines. A module with only procedural cohesion may contain only part of a complete function, or parts of a several functions.

Procedural Cohesion
Fig 6.6 - Procedural Cohesion

Often found when modules are defined by cutting up flowcharts or other procedural artifacts. There is no logical reasoning behind this. Fig 6.6 illustrates this. In this all the elements that are being used in the procedure 2 are put in the same module. It is not acceptable. Since elements of processing shall be found in various modules in a poorly structured way.

Temporal Cohesion

Temporal cohesion is the same as logical cohesion, except that the elements are also related in time, and are executed together. Modules that perform activities like "initigation", "clean-up", and "termination" are usually temporarilly bound. Eventhough the elements in a temporally bound module are logicaly related, temporal cohesion is higher than logical cohesion, since the elements are all executed together. This will avoid the problem of passing the flag, and the code is usually simpler.

Logical Cohesion

A module has logical cohesion if there is some logical relationship between the elements of a module, and the elements perform function that fall in the same logical class. In general, logically cohesive modules should be avoided, if possible.

Logical Cohesion is module formation by putting together a class of functions to be performed. It should be avoided. For example, Display_error on file, terminal, printer, etc.

Logical Cohesion
Fig 6.7 Logical Cohesion

Fig 6.7 shows logical cohesion. Here function Display_error is for files, terminals, and printers. Since the function is to display error, all three functions are put into same modules.

Coincidental Cohesion

Coincidental Cohesion is module formation by coincidence. Same code is recognized as occurring in some other module. Pull that code into a separate module. This type of cohesion should be avoided since it does not reflect problem structure. Coincidental cohesion can occur if an exixting program is "modularized" by chopping into pieces and making different pieces of modules.

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