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EVVE: Environment for the Verification and Validation of Software Specifications

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ALARCOS QUALITY CENTER kicked off the project EVVE, an environment (methodological and instrumental) that provides companies that contract their software development and development departments and factories with an independent method to perform the verification and validation of software specifications.

Project Justification

Software specification validation and verification (V&V) activities are becoming more and more importance due to the birth of Model Driven Engineering (MDE; also known as Model Driven Development, MDD) has contributed considerably to shift the focus of V&V activities from the source code to software specifications, and particularly to software models. Therefore, with this approach, models are not just simple means to describe software, but the fundamental part in its development. Thus, the quality of the models plays a fundamental role, since it determines the quality of the implemented software products.

For this reason, it's very interesting for a company like AQC (dedicated to provide software quality assurance services to software factories and clients that outsource the development of their information systems) to have at its disposal an environment that, based on the latest research in Software Engineering, enables the V&V of software specification in a systematic and tool-supported fashion, ensuring the quality of the developed systems from the first stages.

Project Description

Even though the assessment of software code quality is a mature field, in which there are quality models (ISO  9126/25000, IEEE 1061-1998, etc.), inspection techniques, metric tools, etc., that have been being used for more than 20 years, it is not the same in the field of software specification quality, and more specifically, in UML model quality. The relevance of quality in modeling is also shown through the nomerous congress workshops and special sessions that have taken place in the main conferences about software modeling in the last years.

This is why the goal of the project EVVE is to create an environment for the verification and validation (V&V) of software specifications composed of a methodological component (developed along with researchers from the "Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha"), which consists of an specification assessment methodology (including techniques, quality indicators, and guidelines), and a technological component, which consists of (semi)automatic tools based on the Eclipse platform. This environment will be validated applying Empirical Software Engineering techniques.

Within this approach, one of the most important languages is the Unified Modeling Language (UML), which is gaining wide acceptance in the industry as "THE" standard modeling language for software modeling. Due to the project duration, the scope of EVVE will include only the main models used in software development: use case model, class model, and dynamic models (state diagram).

With the project EVVE we are trying to avoid the disconnection that usually exists between theoretical research and its practical application, so we will use the Action Research method as the next figure details.

Action-Researh is a collaborative method that enables the refinement of research results through the experience gained by applying those results in the environment of the client.

Project Participants

This project is being developed by the company Alarcos Quality Center along with the "Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha":

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Links and References

Papers and presentations:

  • EVVE kick-off presentation pdf icon
  • Torre, D., Blasco, B., Genero, M. y Piattini, M. (2009). CQA-ENV: An Integrated Enviroment for the Continuous Quality Assessment of  Software Artifacts. The 8th International Conference on Software Methodologies, Tools and Techniques (SoMeT).
  • Cruz-Lemus, J.A., Genero, M. y Piattini, M. (2009).Métodos de validación utilizados en la ingeniería del software. Capitulo 5 del Libro “Calidad del Producto y Proceso Software” (Calero, C., Moraga, M., y Piattini, M. (Eds.)).
  • Abrahao, S. y Genero, M. (2009). Calidad en el desarrollo dirigido por modelos. Capitulo 8 del Libro “Calidad del Producto y Proceso Software” (Calero, C., Moraga, M., y Piattini, M. (Eds.)).

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