Formal specification documents can be used to specify items in a complete and clear way. A given type of formal specification document is used to specify a given category of items or to specify certain aspects of items that belong to a given category. Formal specification document types and instances of such document types can be published on a formal specification document repository. The repository adds navigation and categorization services to this information.
A formal specification document repository is a collection of textual showrooms that can be viewed, retrieved and interpreted both by humans and by automates.
Formal specification documents repositories offer a generic answer to the following questions:
· How do I reach yet unknown clients with formally structured information?
· Where do I publish my formal specification documents?
· Where and how do I find formally structured information that is of my interest?
· How can I automatically utilize arbitrary or specific formal specification documents?
· What protocol must be used to exchange formal specification documents?
· How can I manually browse or query formal specification documents repositories?
· What tools can I use to generate, publish or retrieve formal specification documents?
· How can I construct tools that operate on arbitrary formal specification documents?
· How can I construct tools that operate on specific types of formal specification documents?
Formal specification document repositories can be publicly available on the Internet or they can be available to a restricted community on the Intranet, a LAN or on a local file system.
Apart from formal specification documents, these repositories may also contain non-formal specification documents, utilities and services. The formal specification documents and all other elements of the repositories are made accessible via a navigation and categorization service that is an integral part of the repository.
The technology applied conforms to worldwide-accepted standards and is platform independent.
Web services technology is developed to serve the need of potential clients for publicly accessible services. Discovery and UDDI are services that enable users to find the location of service providers. In a similar way, formal specification document repositories serve the need of potential clients to find and use formally specified information.
A single toolkit can perform all the basic tasks:
· Creating new document types
· Creating new instances of document types
· Viewing and editing documents
· Exporting documents to a repository
· Managing the navigation and categorization consistency of a repository
· Retrieving documents from a repository
Other tools may add functionality to ease the use for a particular set of document types.
Finally, dedicated tools may use the published documents to do some useful work with that information.