The capability to produce and quickly modify industrial control systems in a continuously changing environment is considered of vital importance for their success, specially when the industrial competition is strong. This experiment focuses on the design and testing phases of the software development cycle, with the aim to improve the characteristics of interoperability, maintainability and reliability of the produced software, that are recognised as the key features for real-time and distributed applications.
The experiment consists of the following improvement actions carried out around COSTAR (radio control system developed by LOG.IN and delivered to clients after customisation):
a) cultural transition from the proprietary architecture used by the original systems to an open-system architecture (greater interoperability);
b) adoption of a rigorous design methodology and a development environment consistent with the new platform (greater maintainability);
c) reinforcement of software testing internal capabilities and use of automated tools (greater reliability).
During the experiment some components of COSTAR, namely those related to the wide-area interconnection and supervision functions, will be redesigned in the light of the open-system concepts (a) and the new design methodology (b). The improved testing skills and tools (c) will be used to monitor the progress of the software development process, by measuring the quality characteristics assumed as target of the experiment.
4 people, out of 12 total employees, are directly involved in the experiment.
EXPECTED IMPACT AND EXPERIENCE
LOG.IN expects to gain know-how on developing real-time software systems. The migration to an on open-system architecture and the adoption of standard models and protocols for all the communications and supervisory functions will make them more attractive and competitive and will result in a reduction of their complexity (and cost). The training courses undertaken and the experience matured during the experiment should eliminate any weakness point in the design and test phase of the software development cycle. At the end of the experiment all the methodological activities that have been carried out for software development will be translated into written procedures for future reuse. This will contribute to increase the cultural baggage of the whole company.