Operational Specifications for Rapid Prototyping  

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Operational Specifications for Rapid Prototyping


Reference /Scacchi, 2001/ Process Models in Software Engineering
The operational approach to software development assumes the existence of a formal specification language and processing environment that supports the evolutionary development of specifications into an prototype implementation /Bauer, 1976/, /Balzer, 1983/, /Zave, 1984/. Specifications in the language are coded, and when computationally evaluated, constitute a functional prototype of the specified system. When such specifications can be developed and processed incrementally, the resulting system prototypes can be refined and evolved into functionally more complete systems. However, emerging software systems are always operational in some form during their development. Variations within this approach represent either efforts where the prototype is the end sought, or where specified prototypes are kept operational but refined into a complete system.

The specification language determines the power underlying operational specification technology. Simply stated, if the specification language is a conventional programming language, then nothing new in the way of software development is realized. However, if the specification incorporates (or extends to) syntactic and semantic language constructs that are specific to the application domain, which usually are not part of conventional programming languages, then domain-specific rapid prototyping can be supported.

An interesting twist worthy of note is that it is generally within the capabilities of many operational specification languages to specify "systems" whose purpose is to serve as a model of an arbitrary abstract process, such as a software process model. In this way, using a prototyping language and environment, one might be able to specify an abstract model of some software engineering processes as a system that produces and consumes certain types of documents, as well as the classes of development transformations applied to them. Thus, in this regard, it may be possible to construct operational software process models that can be executed or simulated using software prototyping technology. Humphrey and Kellner describe one such application and give an example using the graphic-based state-machine notation provided in the STATECHARTS environment /Humphrey, 1989c/.

Rationales The author classifies the "Operational Specifications for Rapid Prototyping" as one of the Operational Process Models

See also

Operational Process Models

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