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Arcadia, a software development environment research project

  • Author(s): Taylor, Richard N.
  • Clarke, Lori
  • Osterweil, Leon J.
  • Wileden, Jack C.
  • Young, Michal
  • et al.
Abstract

The research objectives of the Arcadia project are two-fold: discovery and development of environment architecture principles and creation of novel software development tools, particularly powerful analysis tools, which will function within an environment built upon these architectural principles.

Work in the architecture area is concerned with providing the framework to support integration while also supporting the often conflicting goal of extensibility. Thus, this area of research is directed toward achieving external integration by providing a consistent, uniform user interface, while still admitting customization and addition of new tools and interface functions. In an effort to also attain internal integration, research is aimed at developing mechanisms for structuring and managing the tools and data objects that populate a software development environment, while facilitating the insertion of new kinds of tools and new classes of objects.

The unifying theme of work in the tools area is support for effective analysis at every stage of a software development project. Research is directed toward tools suitable for analyzing pre-implementation descriptions of software, software itself, and towards the production of testing and debugging tools. In many cases, these tools are specifically tailored for applicability to concurrent, distributed, or real-time software systems.

The initial focus of Arcadia research is on creating a prototype environment, embodying the architectural principles, which supports Ada1 software development. This prototype environment is itself being developed in Ada.

Arcadia is being developed by a consortium of researchers from the University of California at Irvine, the University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, TRW, Incremental Systems Corporation, and The Aerospace Corporation. This paper delineates the research objectives and describes the approaches being taken, the organization of the research endeavor, and current status of the work.

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