Advertisement

Specifying Structural Properties and Their Constraints Formally, Visually and Modularly Using VCL

  • Nuno Amálio
  • Pierre Kelsen
  • Qin Ma
Part of the Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing book series (LNBIP, volume 50)

Abstract

The value of visual representations in software engineering is widely recognised. This paper addresses the problem of formality and rigour in visual-based descriptions of software systems. It proposes a new language, VCL, designed to be visual, formal and modular, targeting abstract specification at level of requirements, and that aims at expressing visually what is not visually expressible using mainstream visual languages, such as UML. This paper presents and illustrates VCL’s approach to structural modelling based on the VCL notations of structural and constraint diagrams with a case study. VCL’s contributions lie in its modularity mechanisms, and the support for two alternative styles of visual constraint modelling (one closer to set theory expressions and based on Euler diagrams, the other closer to predicate calculus and based on object graphs).

Keywords

formal modelling visual languages 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Larkin, J.H., Simon, H.A.: Why a diagram is (sometimes) worth ten thousand words. Cognitive Science 11, 65–99 (1987)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Harel, D.: On visual formalisms. Commun. of the ACM 31(5), 514–530 (1988)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Sumner, M., Sitek, J.: Are structured methods for system analysis and design being used. J. of Systems Management 37(6), 18–23 (1986)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Anda, B., Hansen, K., Gullesen, I., Thorsen, H.K.: Experiences from introducing UML-based development in a large safety-critical project. Empirical Software Engineering 11(4), 555–581 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Amalio, N.: Generative frameworks for rigorous model-driven development. Ph.D. thesis, Dept. Computer Science, Univ. of York (2007)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Amálio, N., Polack, F., Stepney, S.: Frameworks based on templates for rigorous model-driven development. ENTCS 191, 3–23 (2007)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Evans, A., France, R.B., Lano, K., Rumpe, B.: The UML as a formal modelling notation. In: Bézivin, J., Muller, P.-A. (eds.) UML 1998. LNCS, vol. 1618, pp. 336–348. Springer, Heidelberg (1999)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Woodcock, J., Davies, J.: Using Z: Specification, Refinement, and Proof. PH (1996)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Jackson, D.: Software Abstractions: logic, language, and analysis. MIT Press, Cambridge (2006)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Cleland, G., MacKenzie, D.: Inhibiting factors, market structure and industrial uptake of formal methods. In: WIFT 1995, pp. 46–60. IEEE, Los Alamitos (1995)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Harel, D.: Biting the silver bullet: Toward a brighter future for system development. Computer 25(1), 8–20 (1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Amálio, N., Kelsen, P., Ma, Q.: The visual contract language: abstract modelling of software systems visually, formally and modularly. Tech. Report TR-LASSY-10-03, Univ. of Luxembourg (2010), http://bit.ly/9c5YwQ
  13. 13.
    Amálio, N., Kelsen, P.: VCL, a visual language for modelling software systems formally. In: Diagrams 2010. LNCS. Springer, Heidelberg (2010)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Amálio, N., Kelsen, P.: The abstract syntax of structural VCL. Tech. Report TR-LASSY-09-02, Univ. of Luxembourg (2009), http://bit.ly/4DHWky
  15. 15.
    Amálio, N., Polack, F., Stepney, S.: An object-oriented structuring for Z based on views. In: Treharne, H., King, S., C. Henson, M., Schneider, S. (eds.) ZB 2005. LNCS, vol. 3455, pp. 262–278. Springer, Heidelberg (2005)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Amalio, N.: ZOO specification of VCL model describing structural aspects of simple bank case study (2010), http://bit.ly/4yBrsW
  17. 17.
    Green, T.R.G., Petre, M.: Usability analysis of visual programming environments: a ‘cognitive dimensions’ framework. J. of Visual Languages and Computing 7(2), 131–174 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Amálio, N., Ma, Q., Glodt, C., Kelsen, P.V.: specification of the car-crash crisis management system. Tech. Report TR-LASSY-09-03, University of Luxembourg (2009), http://vcl.gforge.uni.lu/doc/vcl-cccms.pdf
  19. 19.
    Amálio, N., Stepney, S., Polack, F.: Formal proof from UML models. In: Davies, J., Schulte, W., Barnett, M. (eds.) ICFEM 2004. LNCS, vol. 3308, pp. 418–433. Springer, Heidelberg (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Kent, S.: Constraint diagrams: Visualizing invariants in object-oriented methods. In: Proc. of OOPSLA 1997, pp. 327–341. ACM Press, New York (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Fish, A., Flower, J., House, J.: The semantics of augmented constraint diagrams. J. of Visual Languages and Computing 16, 541–573 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Ehrig, K., Winkelmann, J.: Model transformation from visual OCL to OCL using graph transformation. ENTCS 152, 23–37 (2006)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Giese, H., Klein, F.: Beyond story patterns: Story decision diagrams. In: Proc. of Fujaba Days 2006, pp. 2–9 (2006)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Bottoni, P., Koch, M., Parisi-Presicce, F., Taentzer, G.: A visualisation of OCL using collaborations. In: Gogolla, M., Kobryn, C. (eds.) UML 2001. LNCS, vol. 2185, pp. 257–271. Springer, Heidelberg (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nuno Amálio
    • 1
  • Pierre Kelsen
    • 1
  • Qin Ma
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LuxembourgLuxembourg

Personalised recommendations