M.O.O.T. (meta object oriented tool) : a novel meta-case tool methodology representation strategy : a dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science, Massey University, New Zealand

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Massey University
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This thesis presents an investigation into current meta-CASE technology. The research focuses on CASE tool support for the concept of methodology, the representation of methodology syntax and semantics, and the support for re-use of methodology descriptions and software artefacts. A novel methodology representation strategy for meta-CASE tools is proposed and implemented with the development of a new meta-CASE tool (MOOT - Meta Object Orientated Tool). The novel strategy propounded in this thesis uses an object-orientated meta-model and views methodology descriptions as potentially re-usable components. The coupling between methodology syntax and semantic descriptions is minimised so they can be reused independently. Two new modelling languages have been derived, to support the definition of syntax (NDL - Notation Definition Language) and semantics (SSL - Semantic Specification Language) of software engineering methodologies. Semantic descriptions are compiled to a platform independent representation (SSL-BC), which is executed on a purpose built virtual machine (SSL-VM). Late binding of syntax and semantic methodology descriptions is implemented with the development of Notation Semantic Mapping (NSM) tables. Two libraries of re-usable methodology description components, the Core Knowledge Base (CKB) and the Generic Object Orientated Knowledge Base (GOOKB), have been derived during this research. Empirical results gained from applying the MOOT prototype demonstrated the flexibility, extensibility and potential of the novel methodology representation strategy. This approach permitted the implementation and modelling of UML and patterns, two recent advances of object technology that did not exist when the research commenced. The novel strategy presented in this thesis is more than an untried theory. It has been implemented, applied and is being evaluated. Simply, it is real and it works.
Object-oriented methods, Meta object oriented tool, Computer-aided software engineering, Software engineering