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An Empirical Study of the LSS Specification Toolkit in Use

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-123
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Systems and Software
Volume42
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1998

Abstract

The Lightweight Specification System (LSS) 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 specification 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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