The Z specification language is now widely taught in universities . However, many novices find that, although they may understand specifications written by other people, they are unable to produce their own, satisfactorily. One of the reasons is the lack of suitable tools for these novices to learn Z systematically. Another is the mathematical nature of the syntax of the language. The same problems can be found when one considers the poor 𥀜take up𥀝 of formal methods in industry. This paper describes a new tool called VisualiZer which can allow users to write Z specifications by creating and manipulating visual entities without worrying about the possibly, daunting, mathematical symbols. Furthermore, in order to help users’ understanding of the concepts behind Z, the tool is designed around an environment with graphical on-line help facilities to guide users through the process of building correct and complete Z specifications in a methodical way.
Author and article information
Department of Computer Science, University of Sheffield
Regent Court, 211 Portobello Street, Sheffield S1 4DP, UK