Cover by Joel Spolsky

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sixPAINLESS FUNCTIONAL SPECIFICATIONSPART 2: WHAT'S A SPEC?

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2000

I've been writing about functional specifications, not technical specifications. People get these mixed up. I don't know if there's any standard terminology, but here's what I mean when I use these terms:

A functional specification describes how a product will work entirely from the user's perspective. It doesn't care how the thing is implemented. It talks about features. It specifies screens, menus, dialogs, and so on.

A technical specification describes the internal implementation of the program. It talks about data structures, relational database models, choice of programming languages and tools, algorithms, etc.

When you design a product, inside and out, ...

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