Title: Towards a comparative evaluation of text-based specification formalisms and diagrammatic notations

Authors: Kobamelo Moremedi; John Andrew Van Der Poll

Addresses: School of Computing, University of South Africa, P.O. Box 392, Florida, South Africa ' Graduate School of Business Leadership (SBL), University of South Africa, Midrand, South Africa

Abstract: Specification plays a pivotal role in software engineering to facilitate the development of highly dependable software. Various techniques for specification work have been developed to provide for precise and unambiguous specifications. Z is a formal specification language that is based on a strongly-typed fragment of Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory and first-order logic to provide for provably correct specifications. While diagrammatic specification languages may lack precision, they may, owing to their visual characteristics be a lucrative option for advocates of semi-formal specification techniques. In this research, we investigate the extent to which diagrammatic notations may capture the essence of, e.g., a Z specification. Several diagrammatic notations are considered and combined for this purpose. A case study is employed towards the end to evaluate the utility of the diagrammatic notation developed in this article. Comparisons on the merits of a diagrammatic notation are presented to further determine their feasibility.

Keywords: case study; diagrammatic notation; formal specification; Euler diagrams; set theory; spider diagrams; Venn diagrams; pierce diagrams; Z.

DOI: 10.1504/IJDMMM.2019.100386

International Journal of Data Mining, Modelling and Management, 2019 Vol.11 No.3, pp.259 - 283

Published online: 28 Jun 2019 *

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