Date of Original Version
VDM'91: Formal Software Development Methods. Lecture Notes in Computer Science 551, Springer-Verlag (October 1991).
Abstract or Table of Contents
An important goal of software engineering is to exploit commonalities in system design in order to reduce the complexity of building new systems, support large-scale reuse, and provide automated assistance for system development. A significant roadblock to accomplishing this goal is that common properties of systems are poorly understood. In this paper we argue that formal specification can help solve this problem. A formal definition of a design framework can identify the common properties of a family of systems and make clear the dimensions of specialization. New designs can then be built out of old ones in a principled way, at reduced cost to designers and implementors. To illustrate these points, we present a formalization of a system integration technique called implicit invocation. We show how many previously unrelated systems can be viewed as instances of the same underlying framework. Then we briefly indicate how the formalization allows us to reason about certain properties of those systems as well as the relationships between different systems.