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Effective Use of Open Source for Standardizing ReqIF

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Situation

The standardization of the Requirements Interchange Format (ReqIF) by OMG in 2011 was a significant step towards interoperability of requirements between software tools. All important tool vendors added support of ReqIF to their tools, which clearly showed that the standard was accepted.

But supporting a standard does not equal interoperability. It has to be ensured that the tool supports the standard correctly. This was the motivation behind the creation of the  ReqIF Implementor Forum by ProSTEP. Representatives of tool vendors, users and service providers were present in this group. Participants included companies like IBM, PTC, Daimler, Continental, and many more. Formal Mind also became a member of the Implementor Forum.

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Challenge

For our work in the Forum, test data and validation tools were required. Therefore, Formal Mind took on the role of an internal service provider, in addition to the role of a tool vendor.

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Solution

Formal Mind used the Eclipse Requirements Modeling Framework to generate test data and to provide tooling. As this is an open source tool, the results were publicly accessible (even outside the Forum). We developed synthetic test data, as well as Consequent, our ReqIF Validator.

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Results

By using open source, the neutrality of the results was ensured. Further, rights were unambiguously managed, and intellectual property management was backed by the Eclipse Foundation. Even more important: By placing the results with the Eclipse Foundation (and not ProSTEP), the results were freely available beyond the circle of Implementor Forum members.

This has been particularly visible with Consequent, which is being downloaded over a thousand times each month, to validate ReqIF files. With this, Formal Mind contributed significantly to the spread and acceptance of the ReqIF standard.