This Article 
 Bibliographic References 
 Add to: 
A System for Specification and Rapid Prototyping of Application Command Languages
July 1988 (vol. 14 no. 7)
pp. 1023-1032

The XS-2 system that integrates specification, rapid prototyping, and the actual use of application dialogs is described. The XS-2 command language grammar, a nonprocedural description language based on regular expressions, is used to specify commands for any application program. The syntax of the command specification is visible to the user: command names and their activation rules are displayed as a command tree. Since a small set of tools is provided for the development of the command specification and its automatic translation into a prototype application module in Modula-2, no programming work is necessary to design and evaluate the commands. Experience shows that an advanced end user can develop his or her own prototype application without a programmer's assistance.

[1] G. Beretta, H. Burkhart, P. Fink, J. Nievergelt, J. Stelovsky, H. Sugaya, A. Ventura, and J. Weydert, "XS-1: An integrated interactive system and its kernel," inProc. 6th Int. Conf. Software Eng., IEEE Cat. No. 79CH1479-5C, Tokyo, Japan, Sept. 1982, pp. 340-349.
[2] B. W. Boehm, T. Gray Seewaldt, "Prototyping versus specifying, A multiproject experiment,"IEEE Trans. Software Eng., vol. SE-10, May 1984.
[3] U. H. Chi, "Formal specification of user interfaces: A comparison and evaluation of four axiomatic approaches,"IEEE Trans. Software Eng., vol. SE-11, pp. 671-685, Aug. 1985.
[4] P. A. Dearnley and P. J. Mayhew, "In favour of system prototypes and their integration into the systems development cycle,"Comput. J., vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 36-42, 1983.
[5] S. W. Draper and D. A. Norman, "Software engineering for user interfaces,"IEEE Trans. Software Eng., vol. SE-11, pp. 252-258, Mar. 1985.
[6] J.D. Gould and C.H. Lewis, "Designing for Usability: Key Principles and What Designers Think,"Comm. ACM, Vol. 28, No. 3, Mar. 1985, pp. 300-311.
[7] R. J. K. Jacob, "Using formal specifications in the design of a human-computer interface,"Commun. ACM, vol. 26, pp. 259-264, Apr. 1983.
[8] J. Nievergelt, "Errors in dialog design and how to avoid them," inDocument Preparation Systems, J. Nievergelt, G. Coray, J. D. Nicoud, and A. C. Shaw, Eds. Amsterdam: North-Holland, 1982, pp. 265-273.
[9] T. P. Moran, "The command language grammar: A representation for the user interface of interactive computer systems,"Int. J. Man-Machine Studies, vol. 15, pp. 3-50, 1981.
[10] D. R. Olsen, "Automatic generation of interactive systems,"Comput. Graphics (ACM SIGGRAPH), vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 53-57, 1983.
[11] D. L. Parnas, "On the use of transition diagrams in the design of a user interface for an interactive computer system," inProc. 24th Nat. ACM Conf., ACM, 1969, pp. 379-385.
[12] P. Reisner, "Formal grammar and human factors design of an interactive graphics system,"IEEE Trans. Software Eng., vol. SE-7, pp. 229-240, Mar. 1981.
[13] A. C. Shaw, "Software specification languages based on regular expressions," inSoftware Development Tools, W. Riddle and R. Fairley, Eds. Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag, 1980, pp. 148-175.
[14] D. C. Smith, C. Irby, R. Kimball, B. Verplank, and E. Harslem, "Designing the star user interface,"BYTE, vol. 7, pp. 242-282, Apr. 1982.
[15] J. Stelovsky, "XS-2: The user interface of an interactive operating system," ETH dissertation 7425, Swiss Fed. Inst. Technol., Zurich, 1984.
[16] J. Stelovsky, "User-tailored dialog--Just a slogan?," inProc. 8th Int. Comput. Symp., Florence, Italy, Mar. 1985, pp. 345-352.
[17] J. Stelovsky and H. Sugaya, "Command languages vs. menus or both?," inBerichte des German Chapter ACM, H.-J. Bullinger, Ed., Sept. 24, 1985, pp. 129-141.
[18] J. Stelovsky, J. Nievergelt, H. Sugaya, and E. S. Biagioni, "Can an operating system support consistent user dialogs? Experience with the prototype XS-2," inProc. ACM Annu. Conf., Denver, CO, Oct. 1985, pp. 476-483.
[19] H. Sugaya, J. Stelovsky, J. Nievergelt, and E. S. Biagioni, "XS-2: An integrated interactive system," Res. Rep., KLR 84-73C, Brown, Boveri&Co., Ltd., Res. Cen., Baden, Switzerland, May 1984.
[20] A. I. Wasserman, "Extending state transition diagrams for the specification of human-computer interaction,"IEEE Trans. Software Eng., vol. SE-11, pp. 699-713, Aug. 1985.
[21] N. Wirth, "What can we do about the unnecessary diversity of notation for syntactic definitions,"Commun. ACM, vol. 20, pp. 822- 823, 1977.
[22] N. Wirth,Programming in Modula-2. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1983.
[23] N. Wirth, "The personal computer Lilith," inProc. 5th Int. Conf. Software Eng., San Diego, CA, Mar. 1981, pp. 2-15.

Index Terms:
software tools; programming environments; user interfaces; rapid prototyping; application command languages; XS-2 system; application dialogs; command language grammar; nonprocedural description language; regular expressions; command specification; command tree; automatic translation; Modula-2; grammars; interactive systems; programming environments; software tools; user interfaces
J. Stelovsky, H. Sugaya, "A System for Specification and Rapid Prototyping of Application Command Languages," IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, vol. 14, no. 7, pp. 1023-1032, July 1988, doi:10.1109/32.42742
Usage of this product signifies your acceptance of the Terms of Use.