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Software Development Tools: A Profile Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131604D
Original Publication Date: 1983-May-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-11
Document File: 9 page(s) / 33K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Raymond C. Houghton, Jr.: AUTHOR [+3]


National Bureau of Standards

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This record contains textual material that is copyright ©; 1983 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact the IEEE Computer Society (714-821-8380) for copies of the complete work that was the source of this textual material and for all use beyond that as a record from the SPI Database.

Software Development Tools: A Profile

Raymond C. Houghton, Jr.,

National Bureau of Standards

What software development tools are available?

What are their capabilities? Where can they be obtained? Now there are some answers for these questions.

Conclusions reached at the IEEE Testing and Documentation Workshops indicated a need for a public information exchange on software development tools. Two reasons were cited: the first is a general lack of information about the tools available, their capabilities, and where they can be obtained; the second is a lack of awareness of current tool development, which leads to duplication of effort. At the workshop, the National Bureau of Standards' Institute for Computer Science and Technology, or NBS/ICST, agreed to initiate the collection of information about software tools in the hope of alleviating some of these problems.

This article reports the results of this collection effort by analyzing the information obtained. Various categorizations of the tools are presented, with classes listed by their characteristics. The lists incorporate percentage summaries based on the total number of tools for which information is available.

There are many ways to look at software tools.2 The approach taken in this article is to view their characteristics from several vantage points. Each of the various points is based on the inherent structure of the tool information stored in a relational database containing information about 362 software development tools. There are, however, many more tools.3~5 A deliberate effort was made to keep the scope of the database within reason while including a representative set of tools. Tools excluded from the database include (1) traditional software tools normally provided by computer vendors, such as compilers, editors, and operating system utilities; (2) assembly and machine language tools; and (3) tools not necessarily oriented to the software development process, such as management information systems and database management systems. However, when a direct submission was received from a developer of a tool, the information was almost always included in the database.

The first vantage point for software tools is a coarse functional view using a simple classification system of only six categories. This view is followed by a much more detailed perspective based on a taxonomy of tool features. Percentage summaries of tools characterized by these features are presented. The third view involves the hardware and software characteristics of tools. The fourth...