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Problem Frames

The notion of problem frames is an interesting development in software engineering thinking. We started this topic in week 6 (see the slides) and continued it in week 7 (see the slides). There is much information on this topic (albeit most of it written by Michael Jackson). Below are some pointers to some of this material. The links on the left provide pointers to some of the main points (abstracted from the references below).

For some high-level coverage, look at Jackson's book on Software Requirements and Specifications.

For good overview with some deeper technical detail, you should go directly to the source, Michael Jackson and visit his web site. Two of his papers in particular are of interest here, and he has given his kind permission to make them available for download in PDF format from this site:

Problem Analysis and Structure; Unpublished, September 1999 which can be . This is a gentle coverage.

Download PDF file  here

Slightly more ambitious (but still manageable) is Problem Analysis Using Small Problem Frames; Proceedings of WOFACS ’98, Special Issue of the South African Computer Journal, 22, pp47-60, March 1999

Download the PDF here

A third paper: Problem Decomposition for Reuse; Software Engineering Journal Volume 11 Number 1 pages 19-30, January 1996 by Michael Jackson and Daniel Jackson takes another look at the Package Router problem found in the papers above but this time using problem frames to derive a formal Z specification. 

Download the PDF file here

Dr Keith Phalp has published a case study on applying problem frames: Picking the Right Problem Frame - An Empirical Study, Empirical Software Engineering Journal, volume 5, number 3, November 2000, pages 215-228

Finally, for a really thorough coverage Jackson has published a whole book on the subject (see the book list).