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Textual Method for Description of State Machines

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131840D
Publication Date: 2005-Nov-21
Document File: 1 page(s) / 8K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

This invention allows software developers to describe state machines in the code using a text-based language instead of pictures.

This text was extracted from a Microsoft Word document.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 92% of the total text.

Textual State Machine Description Format

Textual Method for Description of State Machines

Disclosed Anonymously

This invention allows software developers to describe state machines in the code using a text-based language instead of pictures.

When documenting the operation of certain state machines in software, it is useful to draw state transition diagrams.  However, revisions of state machines are difficult to differentiate and track because there are no tools that can perform a difference check.  Also, tools for drawing state machines can have a bit of a learning curve and can sometimes hinder productivity when the developer must consider how the diagram looks (for example, can the graph be made planar).  Even updating or adding a single state can cause major problems.

By allowing pictures to be described textually, our revision control systems can automatically calculate and show differences between different versions.  The developer can also focus on the function of the state machine rather than what the representation looks like.  The language can also easily be parsed by a computer to automatically generate an image if needed.  Also, this language can be used by anyone with any text editor.

Tools such as SDL can be used to do this, but they require special software.  Also, as SDL saves its data in a special format, the benefit of using revision control to track changes is lost.  This functionality also closely relates to LEX and YACC or Bacchus-Naur Form, but a...