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Article  · January 1996 with25 Reads
Nitpick is a formal specification language designed to be amenable to a new checking method called case enumeration. The paper explains how a compromise was reached in the language's design between expressive power and tractability. Fragments of a larger specification we have written are given to illustrate the language's features. Simplified versions of two operations are explained in detail, along with the results of running the Nitpick checker to detect some flaws. 1 Introduction Nitpick is a language and a checking tool for investigating the intended function of a software system. The language has much in common with Z [1] ; it is based on sets and relations, and represents operations with logical formulae. But Nitpick's motivation differs markedly from Z's. Completeness has been the yardstick of much work in formal specification, both in description and analysis. Formal specifications, it was once thought, might alleviate the problems of poor contracts by filling in details mis...

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    Proposes a technique to help people organize and write complex specifications, exploiting the best features of several different specification languages. Z is supplemented, primarily with automata and grammars, to provide a rigorous and systematic mapping from input stimuli to convenient operations and arguments for the Z specification. Consistency analysis of the resulting specification is... [Show full abstract]
    June 1992
      Aspect is a static analysis technique based on formal specifications. By trading expressive power for tractability, Aspect can offer efficient detection of a class of bugs that is not detectable by other static means. Since the specifications are partial, not all bugs can be caught. But there are never any spurious reports: an error message always indicates an error in the code or a flaw in... [Show full abstract]
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      December 1994
        Errors in a software design can be detected early on by analyzing a formal model expressed in a specification language such as Z. Since software designs tend to involve infinite (or at least very big) state spaces, it has been assumed that this analysis cannot be automated. Consequently, few formal specifications have been extensively analyzed, and the potential for early detection of errors... [Show full abstract]
        Conference Paper
        March 2001
          Formal methods have offered great benefitts, but often at a heavy price. For everyday software development, in which the pressures of the market don’t allow full-scale formal methods to be applied, a more lightweight approach is called for. I’ll outline an approach that is designed to provide immediate benefit at relatively low cost. Its elements are a small and succinct modelling language,... [Show full abstract]
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