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    Using Graphical Icons to Build Z Specifications

    2nd BCS-FACS Northern Formal Methods Workshop

    Ilkley, UK. 14th - 15th July 1997


    C.N. Yap & M. Holcombe


    The Z specification language is now widely taught in universities [1]. 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 "take up" 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.


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