A Formal Modeling Tool for Exploratory Modeling in Software Development

Tomohiro ODA  Keijiro ARAKI  Peter GORM LARSEN  

Publication
IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Information and Systems   Vol.E100-D   No.6   pp.1210-1217
Publication Date: 2017/06/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1361
DOI: 10.1587/transinf.2016FOP0003
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Section on Formal Approach)
Category: Formal tools
Keyword: 
lightweight formal methods,  formal specification,  VDM,  integrated development environment,  

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Summary: 
The software development process is front-loaded when formal specification is deployed and as a consequence more problems are identified and solved at an earlier point of time. This places extra importance on the quality and efficiency of the different formal specification tasks. We use the term “exploratory modeling” to denote the modeling that is conducted during the early stages of software development before the requirements are clearly understood. We believe tools that support not only rigorous but also flexible construction of the specification at the same time are helpful in such exploratory modeling phases. This paper presents a web-based IDE named VDMPad to demonstrate the concept of exploratory modeling. VDMPad has been evaluated by experienced professional VDM engineers from industry. The positive evaluation resulting from such industrial users are presented. It is believed that flexible and rigorous tools for exploratory modeling will help to improve the productivity of the industrial software developments by making the formal specification phase more efficient.