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(5) Transaction Functions - External Inquiries (EQ's)

The last transactional function is referred to as an EQ, or External Inquiry. The IFPUG definition of an EQ is as follows:

An external inquiry (EQ) is an elementary process that sends data or control information outside the application boundary. The primary intent of an external inquiry is to present information to a user through the retrieval of data or control information from an ILF of EIF. The processing logic contains no mathematical formulas or calculations, and creates no derived data. No ILF is maintained during the processing, nor is the behavior of the system altered.

Examples of EQs include:

  1. Reports created by the application being counted, where the report does not include any derived data.
  2. Other things known as "implied inquiries", which unfortunately, are a little out of scope for this paper.

Function point counts resulting from EQ's

Allocating an FP count to EQs is very similar to the process for EIs and EOs. Again, you perform your lookup using DETs and FTRs, with a resulting Low/Average/High complexity.

As an example, suppose that you have a process that you've identified as being an EQ, and it has 20 DETs and references 4 FTRs. You would go into the following table looking for the complexity of an EI that has 20 DETs and 4 FTRs. As you'll see from the table below, this EQ is considered a "High" complexity EQ. 

FTRs Data Element Types (DETs)
  1-5 6-19 20+
0-1 L L A
2-3 L A H
4 or more A H H

Table 10: EQ complexity matrix Weights:

Carrying our EQ example forward, you'll find from the table below that a High complexity EQ is worth 6 FPs.

Complexity Points/Weight
Low 3
Average 4
High 6

Table 11: EQ weights