The University of Edinburgh -
Division of Informatics
Forrest Hill & 80 South Bridge

Research Paper #791

Title:An Empirical Study of the Lss Specificiation Toolkit in Use
Date:Feb 1996
Presented:Submitted to the 8th International Conference on Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering
Abstract:The LSS (Lightweight Specification System) toolkit assists in the development of logic programs, using a variety of high level specification methods. Many other high level specification systems impose a single, uniform view of how specifiction should proceed. In practice, there is normally no single understanding of how to describe specifications - there are instead a variety of different forms of description which have evolved from the work practices of various domains. Any attempt to disturb these work practices in a radical way will, naturally, meet with resistance unless those who must be educated in new methods can see clearly that they will benefit (soon) from their efforts. LSS addresses this problem by providing a collection of comparatively simple independent tools, each of which is directed at a particular community of users who might reasonably be expected to adjust to the tool without excessive effort. In this sense, LSS is lightweight - it is intended to be easy to pick up. Communication between LSS tools is achieved by using Horn Clause logic as a standard language, although users of some of the tools are buffered from the logical details by interfaces targeted at the appropriate group of users. This allows the products of specification from some of the tools to be used as the basis for more detailed specification (perhaps by other people) using other tools. This paper summarises the current LSS system and describes the results of an experiment in applying it to a substantial software engineering task : the specification of one of its own tools.

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