Sprechen Sie deutsch? Or: How to make this blog as useful to you as possible

This is actually the 50th post to the Formal Mind blog. A reason to celebrate, but also a reason to reflect. The goal of this blog is to inform our readers on science in systems engineering.  Are we doing a good job?

To find out, we created a short one-page survey on the content of this blog.  In particular, we have a lot of readers in Germany, so we'd like to hear from you whether it is worth the while to offer a German translation of the blog articles.

Filling out this anonymous survey should take less than five minutes, so:

Please help us and fill out this short one-page survey

Do you have colleagues or friends concerned with systems engineering, who may be interested in our blog? If so, please spread the word and forward this message to them.

[Deutsch: ] ReConf: Visualisierung von Anforderungen (English)

Für unsere deutschen Leser gibt es eine Zusammenfassung des Vortrags "Visualisierung von Anforderungen", den Michael Jastram im Wissenschaftstrack der ReConf vortragen wird.  Dieser ist als Gastbeitrag im Blog von Andrea Herrmann veröffentlicht worden.

Die ReConf findet vom 16.-19. März 2015 in München statt.  Wir würden uns freuen, Sie an unserem Stand begrüßen zu dürfen.

Eclipse RMF Release 0.12.0 coming up

Good news for those users who consume the Eclipse sources directly. The official release of 0.12.0 is planned for mid March 2015.

Our own distribution, formalmind Studio, is based on a snapshot of the development sources.  Therefore, the features described here have been available to Studio users for a while now.  For the rest, here is a summary of the improvements since the last version (warning - this is rather technical):

  • The documentation has been migrated from the Wiki to a separate repository, providing more flexibility and better quality.
  • The infrastructure for context-sensitive help in dialogs has been created and some help content provided.
  • Several features from the ProStep ReqIF Implementor Guide have been implemented, including:
    • Color-coding attributes with the prefix "ReqIf.".
    • Support of Conversation ID in Tool Extensions.
  • Last-Change attribute is now properly maintained.
  • Search and Replace features:
    • Implementation of search infrastructure.
    • Basic dialog for composing search (and replace) queries.
    • User-friendly search dialog.
    • Quicksearch (search-as-you-type).
  • Dealing with large cells in AgileGrid.
  • Providing a "unified column" to improve the look from Specifications from DOORS.
  • Ensuring compatibility for Eclipse 3.8 - 4.4 (this applies to the RMF update site)
  • Improving rendering of HTML view (now includes images from XHTML).
  • Several Bug Fixes (Bugzilla query).
  • Better renderers and editors (e.g. for date fields and enumerations).
  • Roughly doubled unit test coverage (to ~900 automated tests).
  • Improved separation of core and front end, in particular with respect to the registration of factories and ItemProviders.

We hope that you find these improvements useful.


 Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Visualize your requirements (and see the talk at ReConf 2015)

Requirements require some effort to read and understand. But what if you could bring them to life? This is possible, and you can see this at this year's ReConf at the science track on Monday, March 16 2015.

Visit our booth us at ReConf 2015.  Please contact us to receive a discount code.

No matter how requirements are captured, there are usually two drawbacks about them: (1) They don't look like the "real thing", and (2) they are inanimate.

The first can be corrected to a degree by simply including images into your requirements document.  In fact, sometimes the marketing department will deliver some of the artwork.  The second is what can be fixed as described here, and what we will present at ReConf 2015.

Best of Eclipse RMF in 2014

As newspapers and TV stations get ready to publish their annual reviews and retrospectives of 2014, they are bound to forget to report the remarkable progress that has been made on the Eclipse Requirements Modeling Framework this year.  But no fear, we shall now remedy this. Below you will find the RMF highlights from 2014. We also include an outlook for 2015.

New Stuff: New Committer, New Product, New Importer, New Release

We haven't written in a while, and, as a consequence, there is plenty of news that we would like to share.

Axiom – ReqIF-based requirements exchange

Don't worry: We will still provide plenty of technical insights on requirements and Eclipse in this newsletter.  But we also want to tell you about our new product, Axiom, which we launched this week.

We announced a while ago that we were working on an extension to support the exchange of requirements between two parties.  We are now making Axiom, a component for ReqIF exchange, publicly available.  We would like to thank all the beta testers who provided us with valuable feedback.

You may wonder what the problem is we're trying to solve. After all, formalmind Studio uses ReqIF natively, and even makes creating ReqIFz-Archives easy.  The problem is that a regular exchange needs an intelligent update.

formalmind Studio & ProR improvements - and beta program about to start

We just uploaded a new version of formalmind Studio on our servers.  If you are already using formalmind Studio, it should offer by itself to update, or check manually via Help | Check for Updates. So, what's new?

Beta Test of Exchange Component has started

We just launched a beta test of our new Exchange Component that will go on sale very soon. This component allows the exchange of requirements between two (or more) parties, with selective updating of information.  How this is intended is described in the HIS-Process, which has its origins in the automotive industry.  There is still time to sign up for the beta test for free, before you will have to pay for it. Sign Up >>

Search-as-you type

In August, we already gave a sneak preview on the search-as-you-type feature, shown to the right.  When you open a specification, you can simply start typing.  matching rows will be shown, others will collapse.

Learn about Requirements and Systems Engineering

With the free formalmind Studio, it is finally possible to do professional requirements engineering, without having to invests thousands in a tool that offers far more than the typical user needs.  While we're working on improving the documentation, getting started can be a challenge.  But fear not, help is on the way.

Canceled Free Workshop: Pragmatic Requirements Engineering (Munich, October 14, 2014, in German)

Together with our partner MixedMode, Dr. Michael Jastram will hold a free workshop on requirements engineering.  It covers the basics - why are requirements needed, and how can they be elicited?  Using a hands-on example, and ProR/formalmind Studio as the tool, participants will learn about the management of requirements, traceability and change management.

Sign up here >>

EclipseCon Europe: Eclipse for Teaching Systems Engineering (Ludwigsburg, October 28-30)

System Engineering is taught, both in industry and academia. The availability of open source tools creates a lot of interest for using those tools in teaching. But, to date, initiatives have not been coordinated.  At EcipseCon Europe in Ludwigsburg, near Stuttgart, Michael Jastram will talk about Eclipse in Systems Engineering.

Model-driven Systems Engineering with Eclipse (Bremen, November 12, 2014, in German)

As part of the "System Engineering Day" by the German chapter of Incose ("Tag des System Engineering"), Dr. Michael Jastram will offer a tutorial on Systems Engineering with Eclipse.  Eclipse is now a mature systems engineering environment that is used in production environments.  The major components for Systems Engineering in the Eclipse Ecosystem will be presented, loosely aligned with the V-Model. There will be a focus on ProR (requirements) and Papyrus (UML/SysML) as examples of mature components.

As a visitor of the conference, the tutorial is free.

Open Up: How the ReqIF Standard for Requirements Exchange Disrupts the Tool Market

If you don't have time to visit either of the above events, we can offer you at least some free reading: The free RE-Magazine from IREB just published an article by Michael Jastram on the history and impact of the ReqIF-Standard.  If there are questions about the ReqIF Standard that you always wanted to ask, but never dared, you may find the answers in this article.

Read now >>

The HIS Exchange Process for Requirements–all you ever wanted to know

Have you heard of the HIS Process? Do you know what it is? In a nutshell, it is a detailed process description, developed by the automotive industry for exchanging requirements.  You can download it here. The process has nothing to do with ReqIF per se, but ReqIF is well-suited to be used for the transport layer.  Read on if you would like to learn more about the HIS Process.

Rodin Handbook Now Available in Print

A while ago, we supported the EU project Deploy and produced a handbook for the Rodin platform, a tool for creating formal specifications using the Event-B method.  This book was a great success, but only available electronically (for free, licensed under a Creative Commons license).

Due to high demand, in particular from universities teaching formal methods, we decided to produce a print version of the handbook.  We are pleased to announce the availability of the Rodin Handbook in print - you can buy your copy at Amazon - of course, the electronic version will always be free.

ProR 0.10.0 Available Via formalmind Studio - Download Now!

You may have noticed that a lot of time has passed since the last release or ProR, which was 0.9.0.  Be assured that we've been busy behind the scenes: The next release, 0.10.0, will comply with the Eclipse Release Process.  And this is a lot of work.

What we published so far were not "releases", but "snapshots" or "milestones", according to the official definition of the Eclipse Foundation.  This was a pragmatic choice: This allowed us to give users early access to ProR, without having to worry about the relatively steep overhead that Eclipse requires.

Traceability between UML and Requirements with ProR

Working with Requirements should not be an isolated activity - they interact with many aspects of the development process: progress is tracked by checking how many requirements have been implemented; tests demonstrate that requirements are correctly implemented; elements of the system specification show how requirements will be realized; and much more.

Our Blogs

We want to share our latest insights regarding formal methods and requirements as well as the latest developments regarding our OpenSource tools, ProB and ProR.  We will post new information roughly twice a month, so you won't be overwhelmed.  You can either subscribe via email (below), subsribe to our RSS Feed or visit this page.

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