The realisation of JSD specifications in object oriented languages

Lewis, Colin T. (1991). The realisation of JSD specifications in object oriented languages. PHD thesis, Aston University.

Abstract

Jackson System Development (JSD) is an operational software development method which addresses most of the software lifecycle either directly or by providing a framework into which more specialised techniques can fit. The method has two major phases: first an abstract specification is derived that is in principle executable; second the specification is implemented using a variety of transformations. The object oriented paradigm is based on data abstraction and encapsulation coupled to an inheritance architecture that is able to support software reuse. Its claims of improved programmer productivity and easier program maintenance make it an important technology to be considered for building complex software systems. The mapping of JSD specifications into procedural languages typified by Cobol, Ada, etc., involves techniques such as inversion and state vector separation to produce executable systems of acceptable performance. However, at present, no strategy exists to map JSD specifications into object oriented languages. The aim of this research is to investigate the relationship between JSD and the object oriented paradigm, and to identify and implement transformations capable of mapping JSD specifications into an object oriented language typified by Smalltalk-80. The direction which the transformational strategy follows is one whereby the concurrency of a specification is removed. Two approaches implementing inversion - an architectural transformation resulting in a simulated coroutine mechanism being generated - are described in detail. The first approach directly realises inversions by manipulating Smalltalk-80 system contexts. This is possible in Smalltalk-80 because contexts are first class objects and are accessible to the user like any other system object. However, problems associated with this approach are expounded. The second approach realises coroutine-like behaviour in a structure called a `followmap'. A followmap is the results of a transformation on a JSD process in which a collection of followsets is generated. Each followset represents all possible state transitions a process can undergo from the current state of the process. Followsets, together with exploitation of the class/instance mechanism for implementing state vector separation, form the basis for mapping JSD specifications into Smalltalk-80. A tool, which is also built in Smalltalk-80, supports these derived transformations and enables a user to generate Smalltalk-80 prototypes of JSD specifications.

Divisions: Engineering & Applied Sciences > Computer science
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Institution: Aston University
Uncontrolled Keywords: object oriented paradigm,Jackson System Development,Smalltalk-80,transformations,implementation,followsets
Completed Date: 1991-07

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