Changing Complex Documents

Carter, Simon Matthew James (2001). Changing Complex Documents Master's Thesis, School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, University of Queensland.

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Author Carter, Simon Matthew James
Thesis Title Changing Complex Documents
School, Centre or Institute School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering
Institution University of Queensland
Publication date 2001
Thesis type Master's Thesis
Supervisor Peter Lindsay
Anthony MacDonald
Total pages 175
Collection year 2002
Language eng
Subjects L
280302 Software Engineering
700199 Computer software and services not elsewhere classified
Abstract/Summary Change management is a discipline fundamental to the task of building ever more complex computing systems. Properly managed change provides a means whereby alterations to existing components of a complex artefact and their relationships can be evaluated, managed and evolved. This thesis takes as its example Official RAAF Publications, some of which need to be revised as a result of changes to the system they describe. The thesis develops a model of change propagation providing a set of operations to examine and record the changes to a set of publications. Additional operations enable coping with reversing decisions and handling the unexpected arrival of externally generated amendments. The model is extended to cover a finer granularity of entities (at the page level) to determine whether this greater level of detail would ease some tasks. A further extension provides the notion of relationships between the publications of concern, focusing on a dependency relationship between two publications. This enables exploration of the possibility of improving the process by reducing the risk of missing publications needing revision and providing a means by which some tasks can be partly automated thus speeding up the process. The models presented were developed in Sum, a variant of the Z specification language, to gain greater insight into the essential details of the operations and data structures involved. By ignoring implementation details the essential logical steps of each model can be emphasised and their differences and similarities contrasted. This thesis demonstrates that fine-grained change management is feasible. The thesis develops processes that automatically track the status of changes as they are propagated through a set of documents. The greater knowledge of work done on individual pages allows only the page(s) of concern to be affected. The work also enables recommendations to be made as to the applicability of each model and, by comparing the models, provides insight into the amount of work and resources required for tackling change at different levels of granularity.
Keyword change management
change propagation
fine-grained change management
formal methods
Sum specification language
Z specification language

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (non-RHD) - UQ staff and students only
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Created: Fri, 21 Nov 2008, 17:23:17 EST