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Advanced Interactive Development of Data-Intensive Applications

Objective

The DAIDA project aimed at the definition and prototype implementation of languages, methods, software tools, and environments to support the interactive development and maintenance of data-intensive information systems. Particular emphasis was placed on integrating all stages of the information systems development life-cycle with each other and with system maintenance. To achieve this goal, a knowledge-based management system (KBMS) perspective was taken as a basis for going beyond expert systems for software development. The evolving results of analysis, design and implementation were each treated as co-operating knowledge bases, rather than being under the control of existing external expert systems.
The overall aim of the project was to contribute to the definition and implementation of tools for the production of quality software products for data-intensive applications. Behind the chosen approach lay the conviction that the problem of software engineering is not solvable, in general, using current technology, and that the introduction of knowledge-based environments for all stages of the software life-cycle was needed.
The systems modelling language (SML) tool supports conceptual modelling of large information systems and knowledge bases. It supplies reasoning, inconsistency detection and prototyping capabilities to the user, including full explanation and graphical representation.
A prototype was made available on 08/31/89
The operating environment is as follows :
Hardware: SUN workstations \Operating system: UNIX \ Software: BIM-PROLOG

The project aimed at the definition and prototype implementation of languages, methods, software tools, and environments to support the interactive development and maintenance of data intensive information systems. Particular emphasis was placed on integrating all stages of the information systems development life cycle with each other and with system maintenance. To achieve this goal, a knowledge based management system (KBMS) perspective was taken as a basis for going beyond expert systems for software development. The evolving results of analysis, design and implementation were each treated as cooperating knowledge bases, rather than being under the control of existing external expert systems. Work progressed in parallel in a number of key project areas, including language design, functional analysis of the knowledge based tools, and design of the development support environments. The extensions from conceptual modelling language CML to a systems modelling language (SML) were established, and the implementation begun. A first tool development language (TDL) design was completed, largely satisfying the diverse requirements of compatibility with SML (designing from functional specifications in the context of a world model); with the database programming language (DBPL) (designing from modular relationally oriented database programming); and with Prolog (design into full functional prototypes). Preliminary prototypes of the mappings between the 3 layers mentioned above were demonstrated. The principles, methods, tools, etc, behind the prototyping activity (in Prolog) were also demonstrated. For database structure and transaction design and implementation, an environment for the database programming language DBPL was built. This included syntax oriented components as well as database and transaction design tools. Each level was equipped with knowledge based mapping assistants that support the realization of requirements set by the level above. A global knowledge base manager observed the development process and recorded information about the use of the development environments; this information subsequently facilitated efficient and consistent maintenance of the multilayered system representation.
After a preparatory phase, work progressed in parallel in a number of key project areas, including:
-language design (SML, TDL)
-functional analysis of the knowledge-based tools (mapping assistants, global KBMS)
-design of the DAIDA development support environments (prototyping, user interface questions, architectural integration of tools).
The main achievements of the project were as follows:
-The extensions from CML to a Systems Modelling Language were established, and the implementation begun.
-A first TDL design was completed, largely satisfying the diverse requirements of compatibility with SML (designing from functional specifications in the context of a world model); with DBPL (designing for modular relationally oriented database programmi ng); and with Prolog (design into full functional prototypes).
-Preliminary prototypes of the mappings between the three layers mentioned above were demonstrated (May 1988).
-The principles, methods, tools etc behind the prototyping activity (in Prolog) were also demonstrated (May 1988).
-For modelling and requirements specification, a System Modeling Language (SML) and a design support environment was developed. These included a SADT-like interface and PROLOG-based prototyping, and theorem-proving tools for validation and verification.-For logical system design, the TAXIS language was redesigned as a pure design language (TDL) with predictive specifications for transactions; the TDL environment included editors, viewing and prototyping.
-For database structure and transaction design and implementation, an environment for the database programming language DBPL was built. This was to include syntax-oriented components as well as database and transaction design tools.
Each level was equipped with knowledge-based mapping assistants that support the realisation of requirements set by the level above. A global knowledge-base manager observed the development process and recorded information about the use of the developmentenvironments; this information subsequently facilitated efficient and consistent maintenance of the multi-layered system representation.
The basis of SML, as well as of the global KBMS, was the Conceptual Modelling Language (CML). The hardware/software environment was based on advanced workstations (Sun-3 and Micro Vax), making intensive use of BIM-PROLOG.
Progress towards formulating concepts for a uniform design of the SML, TDL, and DBPL environments was substantial, and initial experiments with the existing components to be included were completed.
Work has been successfully completed in the three areas described. The DAIDA programmers' manual has been released and a DAIDA book prepared for publication.
Exploitation
The impact of using the techniques developed in this project could well be to increase the productivity and quality of the software products of the European IT industry.
The reaction to the DAIDA programmers' manual will provide first evidence of DAIDA's commercial viability. However, this complex set of concepts will require many refinements (mainly syntactical) before being ready for commercial exploitation.

Coordinator

BIM SA
Address
Kwikstraat 4B
3078 Everberg
Belgium

Participants (5)

FORTH-RESEARCH CENTER OF CRETE
Greece
Address
Daidalou P.o.box 1385
10 Iraklion
GROUPE FRANCAIS INFORMATIQUE
France
Address
1 Tour Neptune
92086 Paris La Defense
Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe-Universität Frankfurt
Germany
Address
Dantestraße 9
60325 Frankfurt Am Main
Scientific Control Systems Informationstechnik Gmbh
Germany
Address
Oehleckerring 40
22419 Hamburg
UNIVERSITÄT PASSAU
Germany
Address
Dr Hans-kapfinger-straße
94032 Passau