A WWW Software Development Environment to Support Cooperative and Spread Working Groups

Paper: 166
Session: E (talk)
Speaker: Maidantchik, Carmen, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
Keywords: development environments, object-oriented methods, system management, world-wide collaboration, WWW applications

A WWW Software Development Environment to Support Cooperative
and Spread Working Groups


Federal University of Rio de Janeiro - COPPE
Caixa Postal 68.511
21945-970 - Rio de Janeiro - Brazil

(300-500 words summary which highlights
the scope and significance of the paper
including a statement of the current status of the work)

The ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC Apparatu Software is very complex due to the
fact that it has to cope with a new era of detectors for the LHC. The software development
process must lead to the production of reliable programs and the adding of new capabilities to an
existing piece of software should be an easy task. The ATLAS software teams develop,
maintain, modify and use programs and related documents produced and stored at various sites.
This article presents a software development environment based on hypertext techniques to
support an object-oriented software construction performed by cooperative working groups
spread all over the world.

Software engineers are simultaneously integrating into their software development practice the
advances of three research areas: object-oriented technology, hypertext systems
and software
project management. Object-oriented methods provide a unifying paradigm to tie together the
phases of a software development. However, the resulting documents of one phase
contain references to classes and objects that are mentioned in other documents.
Hypertext provides a powerful method of implementing cross references among documents
through hypertext links. However, like a text editor cannot guide an author on which words
to write in a document, a hypertext system cannot guide the software developer which
documents should be linked for cross reference. Software project management defines all
activities to be performed throughout the phases and identifies intermediate products that should
be generated at each phase. The progress and quality of these products have to be
monitored continuously. Nevertheless, the task of organizing, scanning and understanding large
amounts of software documents is not trivial.

This project aims to provide a framework that coordinates an object-oriented software process,
cross referencing the results of all activities, allowing the access to different views of the
same object, reached by hypertext links among various abstract levels of the software
components and by management features. The activities of the software life-cycle and the resulting
products are defined through a hypertext guideline. Within the framework, the object representation
can be textual or graphical, horizontal (i.e. constant level of abstraction) or vertical
(i.e. from the concept to its implementation). The system designer can use cross reference information
to make sure that the interactions at a particular level of abstraction meet the requirements
and constraints imposed by the higher levels of abstraction. The system maintainer can use the
information to see how a change in representing or implementing a concept will interact with other concept's
representations and implementations. The software project manager can use cross reference
information to certify that all requirements were respected and not forgotten.

A prototype of this software development environment runs on UNIX and uses World-Wide Web that
merges the techniques of networked information and hypertext to make an
easy but powerful global information system. It is composed by: a set of HTML forms,
that organizes the software development process into a hierarchical structure; an object-database,
that contains the objects that compose the system; and a design rationale
database, where incomplete definitions, decisions taken, the solution strategy, foreseeable
modifications and enhancements are registered.

T. Korson, J. McGregor,
Object-Oriented: A Unifying Paradigm, Communications of the ACM, Sept./1990.

M. Bieber, C. Kacmar, Designing Hypertext
Support for Computational Applications, Communications of the ACM,

European Space Agency, ESA Software Engineering Standards PSS-05-0 Issue 2, Feb./1991.
February 1991. , 8-10, rue Mario-Nikis, F-75738 Paris Cedex.

World Wide Web Consortium