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ASISWG at Ada Europe 96

ASIS 95 Panel
Montreux, Switzerland
Wednesday Afternoon, 12 June 1996
14h00-15h30 continuing from 16h30-18h00
ASIS = Ada Semantic Interface Specification
(an Interface to the Ada95 Environment)

Co-chaired by Mr. Currie Colket, Chairman ASIS Working Group/Chairman ASIS Rapporteur Group and Dr. Sergey Rybin, Moscow State University. The panel is co-chaired as both will be speaking. The two slides for introducing the ASIS 95 panel are available in in PostScript form (42 Kbytes).

Panelists:      Mr. Pascal Leroy, Rational Software Corporation
                Mr. Bertrand Petitprez, Sema Group Grenoble
                Mr. Clyde Roby, Institute for Defense Analyses
                Mr. Jesper Jorgensen, DDC-I
                Mr. Tom Strelich, GRC
                Mr. Bill Thomas, MITRE

Keywords:       ASIS, Tools, Software Quality, Quality Assurance, 
                Software Engineering Environments, Software 
                Development Environments, Safety-Critical Systems

                Ada 95 Language and Tools; Tools; Software 
                Quality; Safety-Critical Systems

ASIS Panel

The ASIS Panel will address the new ASIS specification to support Ada 95, its use in developing CASE tools, and ASIS resources available. The Ada Semantic Interface Specification (ASIS) is an interface between an Ada environment as defined by ISO/IEC 8652:1995 (the Ada95 Reference Manual) and any tool requiring information from this environment. The panel will be presented in two 90 minute sessions with a break in between. The first session will focus on what is ASIS; the second session will provide ASIS usage experience for a variety of CASE tools.

ASIS is an excellent interface for the tool builder in that it provides a cost-effective and portable way to access valuable syntactic and static semantic information from the Ada compilation environment. ASIS is an open and published callable interface which gives CASE tool and application developers access to this information. ASIS has been designed to be independent of underlying Ada environment implementations, thus supporting portability of software engineering tools while relieving tool developers from having to understand the complexities of an Ada environment's proprietary internal representation.

Examples of tools that benefit from the ASIS interface include: code restructuring tools, code browsing and navigation tools, coding style and standards compliance tools, cross-reference tools, data flow analysis tools, dependency tree analysis tools, design tools, document generation tools, invocation (call) tree analysis tools, language-sensitive editing and pretty-printing tools, language translation tools, quality assessment tools, reverse engineering tools, re-engineering tools, safety and security compliance tools, static correctness verifiers, tasking analysis tools, test-case generation and coverage analysis tools, and usage, quality, and complexity metrics tools. In fact most of these have already been developed using the ASIS interfaces by people in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Usage experience will address use of ASIS for building coding style and standards compliance tools, code restructuring tools, re-engineering tools, safety and security compliance tools, quality assessment tools, metrics analysis tools, and applications. Approaches for using the recently developed ASIS for GNAT for CASE tools will be addressed. This will be an opportunity to discuss issues and technical solutions concerning the building of CASE tools using ASIS with those who have already done so.

ASIS was initiated as a Software Technology for Adaptable, Reliable Systems (STARS) program activity in 1989. It became unfunded for FY90 when the STARS program decided not to fund standardization activities. Several vendors continued work on ASIS on their own. In 1992 the Ada Board recognized the potential benefits to the Ada community of an ASIS standard and recommended that the Ada Joint Program Office (AJPO) director support by whatever means possible the development of an ASIS standard and its submission to ISO/WG9 for publication. The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM's) Special Interest Group on Ada (SIGAda) is now continuing this important work though volunteer effort in the ASIS Working Group (ASISWG). An ASIS Rapporteur Group (ASISRG) was established on 28 April 1995 by ISO/IEC JTC1/SC22 WG9 to standardize ASIS as an international standard for Ada95 [ISO/IEC 8652.1995 (15 February 1995)].

An ASIS for Ada95 is in process. A rather complete draft for the ASIS 95 specification was released last November at Tri-Ada'95. A Committee Draft may be approved by WG9 this summer. An ASIS95 implementation to the Free Software Foundation Ada95 GNAT compiler is being developed by Dr. Sergey Rybin from Moscow State University in conjunction with Professor Alfred Strohmeier of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. A prototype ASIS 95 implementation is available by anonymous ftp on the lglftp.epfl.ch host in the pub/ASIS directory. It is currently limited to processing only one Compilation Unit at a time, and as a prototype, has components that are far from being completed. By Ada-Europe'96, ASIS for GNAT is expected to process all the Ada source files contained in the current directory. Several Ada95 compiler vendors will have an ASIS95 implementation in the near future.

This panel will address the new ASIS specification to support the Ada 95 ISO standard, its use in developing CASE tools for an Ada environment, its use for supporting application requirements, ASIS resources including available tutorials, and the ASIS 95 implementation for the GNAT compiler. ASIS resources are available on the World Wide Web =>


The panel will be presented in two 90 minute sessions with a break in between. The first session will focus on what is ASIS; the second session will provide ASIS usage experience. Times identified in the first session include time for questions.

First Session => What is ASIS?

  1. "Overview of ASIS" -- Mr. Currie Colket provided an overview of ASIS, its history, and its role in developing tools to support the Ada software engineering environment. He also provided the perspective from the point of view of both ACM SIGAda's ASISWG and ISO/IEC JTC1/SC22 WG9's ASISRG. (slides in PostScript form, 573 Kbytes; slides in PowerPoint form, 206 Kbytes)

  2. "ASIS 95: The ASIS Interface for Ada 95" -- Mr. Jesper Jorgensen of DDC-I A/S in Denmark discussed the ASIS interface for Ada 95. The ASIS interface is a set of packages which offer a means to query the Ada environment for syntactic and semantic information. The cornerstone of the ASIS interface is package ASIS_Element_Kinds which offers a hierarchical classification of Ada elements. Additional ASIS packages support queries for external "black box" views and internal "white box" views. (slides in PowerPoint form, 47 Kbytes; updated slides in PostScript form, 526 Kbytes; annotated slides in PowerPoint form, 81 Kbytes; annotated slides in PostScript form, 538 Kbytes; example slides in PostScript form, 29 Kbytes; example slides in PowerPoint form, 35 Kbytes)

  3. "ASIS-for-GNAT" -- Dr. Sergey Rybin described the approach taken to implement the ASIS-for-GNAT Ada compiler and the implementation from the user's viewpoint. He discussed the current state of the ASIS-for-GNAT implementation and the ASIS debugging & testing tool, ASIStint, which calls various ASIS queries in the interactive mode and displays the results. (slides in PostScript form, 76 Kbytes)

  4. "ASIS Resources on the Internet" -- Mr. Clyde Roby completed this panel discussion by providing information on ASIS 83 and ASIS 95 resources on the Internet. (slides in PostScript form, 63 Kbytes)

Second Session => ASIS Usage Experience

  1. "Rational Usage Experience" -- Mr. Pascal Leroy discussed the use of ASIS for developing safety critical systems and for re-engineering legacy systems.

  2. "MITRE ASIS Usage Experience" -- Mr. Bill Thomas discussed the assessment of software quality for large systems in support of government acquisitions. (slides in PowerPoint form, 72 Kbytes; slides in PostScript form, 114 Kbytes)

  3. "ASIS-for-GNAT Usage Experience" -- Mr. Bertrand Petitprez of the Sema Group discussed the use of ASIS-for-GNAT for an Ada software development at Sema Group, Grenoble, France comparing ASIS with other methods for solving problems. (slides in PowerPoint 4.0 form, 131 Kbytes; slides in PowerPoint 7.0 form, 189 Kbytes; 6 pages, 2 slides per page in PostScript form, 1,044 Kbytes)

  4. Tool Vendor ASIS Usage Experience: "ASIS/PVL: Ada Semantic Interface Specification / Program View Layer" -- Mr. Tom Strelich of GRC International discussed the use of ASIS for the commercially available AdaQuest tool. This tool uses ASIS with a higher level of ASIS abstractions called the Program View Layer (PVL). (slides in PowerPoint form, 298 Kbytes; slides in PostScript form, 434 Kbytes)

  5. Panel Discussion Questions (30 minutes)

Panelist Addresses

Mr. Currie Colket
Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command
2451 Crystal Drive
Arlington, VA 22245-5200 - USA
Phone: +1 (703) 602-1483
Fax:   +1 (703) 602-6805
Email: Colket@ACM.Org

Dr. Sergey Rybin
Scientific Research Computer Center
Moscow State University
c/o Swiss Federal Institute  of Technology
CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
Phone: +41 21 693 42 31 [c/o Professor Strohmeier]
FAX:   +41 21 693 50 79
Email: Rybin@Alex.SRCC.MSU.SU

Mr. Jesper Jorgensen                                                 
Lundtoftevej 1 B
DK-2800 Lyngby, Denmark
Phone: +45 45 87 11 44
FAX:   +45 45 87 22 17

Mr. Pascal Leroy
Rational Software Corporation
Immeuble de la Gare
F-78180 Montigny le Bretonneux - France
Phone: +33 (1) 30 12 09 68
FAX:   +33 (1) 30 12 09 66
Email: PLeroy@Rational.Com

Mr. Bertrand Petitprez
Sema Group Grenoble
F-38243 Meylan Cedex - France
Phone: +33 76 41 46 00
FAX:   +33 76 41 47 47
Email: BPT@SEMA-Grenoble.FR

Mr. Clyde Roby
Institute for Defense Analyses
1801 N. Beauregard Street
Alexandria, VA 22311 - USA
Phone: +1 (703) 845-6666
FAX:   +1 (703) 845-6788
Email: CRoby@IDA.Org

Mr. Tom Strelich
General Research Corporation
P.O. Box 6770
Santa Barbara, California 93160-6770 - USA
Phone: +1 (805) 964-7724
FAX:   +1 (805) 967-7094
Email: TStrelich@SB.GRCI.Com

Mr. Bill Thomas
The MITRE Corporation
1820 Dolley Madison Blvd., M/S W624
McLean, VA  22102 - USA
Phone: +1 (703) 883-6159
FAX:   +1 (703) 883-1339
Email: BThomas@MITRE.Org

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Last update 7 July 1997. Questions, comments to Clyde Roby (CRoby@IDA.Org)