A Support Tool for Specifying Requirements Using Structures of Documents

Tomofumi UETAKE  Morio NAGATA  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Information and Systems   Vol.E81-D   No.12   pp.1429-1438
Publication Date: 1998/12/25
Online ISSN: 
Print ISSN: 0916-8532
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Issue on Knowledge-Based Software Engineering)
Category: Application
CASE,  software engineering,  SGML,  requirement acquisition,  hypertext,  

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The software requirements specification process consists of three steps; requirements capture and analysis, requirements definition and specification, and requirements validation. At the beginning of the second step which this paper focuses on, there have been several types of massive documents generated in the first step. Since the developers and the clients/users of the new software system may not have common knowledge in the field which the system deals with, it is difficult for the developers to produce correct requirements specification by using these documents. There has been few research work to solve this problem. The authors have developed a support tool to produce correct requirements specification by arranging and restructuring those documents into clearly understandable forms. In the second step, the developers must specify the functions and their constraints of the new system from those documents. Analyzing the developers' real activities for designing the support tool, the authors propose a model of this step as the following four activities. To specify the functions of the new system, the developers must collect the sentences which may suggest the functions scattering those documents. To define the details of each function, the developers must gather the paragraphs including the descriptions of the functions. To verify the correctness of each function, the developers must survey all related documents. To perform above activities successfully, the developers must manage various versions of those documents correctly. According to these four types of activities, the authors propose the effective ways to support the developers by arranging those documents. This paper shows algorithms based on this model by using the structures of the documents and keywords which may suggest the functions or constraints. To examine the feasibility of their proposal, the authors implemented a prototype tool. Their tool extracts complete information scattering those documents. The effectiveness of their proposal is demonstrated by their experiments.