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Understanding formal specifications through good examples

Conference paper
Authors Alex Gerdes
John Hughes
Nicholas Smallbone
Stefan Hanenberg
Sebastian Ivarsson
Meng Wang
Published in Proceedings of the 17th ACM SIGPLAN International Workshop on Erlang
ISBN 978-1-4503-5824-8
Publisher ACM
Place of publication New York, NY, USA
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Computer Science and Engineering (GU)
Language en
Keywords Formal specification, QuickCheck, examples, property-based testing
Subject categories Computer Science

Abstract

Formal specifications of software applications are hard to understand, even for domain experts. Because a formal specification is abstract, reading it does not immediately convey the expected behaviour of the software. Carefully chosen examples of the software’s behaviour, on the other hand, are concrete and easy to understand—but poorly-chosen examples are more confusing than helpful. In order to understand formal specifications, software developers need good examples. We have created a method that automatically derives a suite of good examples from a formal specification. Each example is judged by our method to illustrate one feature of the specification. The generated examples give users a good understanding of the behaviour of the software. We evaluated our method by measuring how well students understood an API when given different sets of examples; the students given our examples showed significantly better understanding.

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Denna text är utskriven från följande webbsida:
http://www.gu.se/english/research/publication/?publicationId=274453
Utskriftsdatum: 2019-12-12