ACUS Software Engineering Tools (ASSETS) – This article was prepared for the third Unisys Defence Systems Software Engineering Symposium January 1990.
© Copyright: Ben Livson, 1989-2021.
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NB. This historic research paper into software engineering tools program was based on modernising some of the best technology available from Sperry Corporation merged with Burroughs in the eighties. Sperry had outstanding assets in software engineering and long traditions in the delivery of defence systems – that part of the business was sold off many years ago. This article represents the author’s findings and does not necessarily represent anything that corporate Unisys uses today. This article was saved from the scrap heap by modern scanning and OCR technology – the author thought this article to give valuable insight into the study or corporate software engineering programs.
ACUS has an accelerated R&D programme to implement a complete set of software engineering tools by 1 January 1990. The goals are to increase software development productivity and quality over the whole range of Unisys machines. ACUS is a unique Unisys development centre which provides strategic Unisys Open Systems and advanced language products for porting to all Unisys computer families (2200, A, B, U, V series and PCs). The parallel porting to disparate computer architectures and operating systems presents a unique challenge for the ACUS Software Engineering Tools (ASSETs). The ASSETS approach supports the cooperative development of a- number of key projects with other Unisys development centres and joint system test and integration. ASSETS is built by loosely coupling a number of mainly new Unisys configuration management and software testing tools with third party CASE products. ASSETS covers
• configuration management
• software testing
• OSI Conformance testing
The paper "Towards a Common Software Engineering Environment" [1) presents a typical multi-year effort in the design and development of an integrated software engineering environment. Unisys corporate philosophy is to reduce product development cycles to less than a year. This constraint and the rapidly changing working environment made an entirely new approach to software engineering tools necessary. The ASSETS approach is a rapid, incremental and loose integration of software engineering tools, and their immediate application to ACUS development projects. ASSETS has to comply with the following CONSTRAINTS:
ACUS Software Engineering Tools (ASSETS) top
The tools have to run on existing Unisys systems. Basically, ACUS software engineers have the choice between PCs and BTOS machines networked together and via emulators to 2200-series, A and U series machines. ACUS has 130 software engineers and the number will grow to 250 by 1992. Ideas about each software engineer having an advanced workstation running integrated CASE solutions had to be abandoned partly due to cost and partly due to the need to be as compatible as possible with the end-user Unisys environment.
2: The tools have to be available NOW and have to be fairly mature. Most of our projects have schedules too tight to enable any debugging of experimental software tools.
3: The acquisition and implementation of tools have to be accomplished over a one-year period. A large integrated environment requiring change in development methodologies could not be adopted even if available for our environment.
4: The acquisition budget for ASSETs has to be minimal. We are talking about a direct investment of less than $1,000 per software engineer. These contrasts with the $100,000 acquisition needed for some of the high-end AI workstations with an integrated software-engineering environment.
5: ACUS software engineers currently do not extensively use semiformal software engineering methodologies. The only positive experiences have been the application of object oriented design and programming using C++  for systems and communications software development, and the emerging corporate Linc Systems Approach LSA methodology  to use the Linc System Generation Language for rapid prototyping and not just as a Lower CASE 4GL Cobol generator. Against this background, the process of selection CASE tools has to be conservative. Tools that require massive training in semiformal methodologies are not practical for ACUS at this stage.
6: Budgeting is very tight: There are no slush funds for developing tools or for engaging in research not directly related to product development. The software acquisition budgets are limited and acquisition is approved only if the tools can immediately be applied to the benefit of current software development projects.
7: The working environment is democratic: people are not required to use software-engineering tools. Everything has to be based on creating enthusiasm and motivation. An initial attempt was made to use the SPS Software Products & Services, Inc. EPOS CASE product. There was a poor match between the object oriented design methodology and EPOS, and EPOS as a tool was still immature. A lot of the resentment, however, was due to the non-democratic management decision that developers MUST use EPOS.
Snapshot at 31 March 1989 top
ACUS was established on 1 September 1987 as part of the Unisys Corporate Citizenship Agreement with the Commonwealth of Australia. ACUS grew from a few employees to 100 during its first year. The success of ACUS receiving Unisys Open Systems, Advance language and, line of Business development projects has made the R&D and export requirements of the Corporate Citizenship Agreement a byproduct of the ACUS R&D goals.
The phenomenal growth of ACUS presented a management challenge. The first action item was careful learning of corporate Unisys phase review, release management and support processes to ensure that ACUS interacts smoothly with Corporate Program Management, Corporate Software & Publication Operations (CSPO) and Customer Support Centres. This learning process has been documented in the ACUS Standards and Procedures Manual. This manual represents our best efforts to combine the strengths of IEEE Software Engineering Standards, Corporate Phase Review process, Unisys Software Development Methodology, and Corporate Engineering Information Release (EIR) process. The ACUS Standards and Procedures Manual has been sent to Corporate Standards Office for evaluation as a voluntary guideline for the 43 Unisys software development centres. The standards are in media form (BTOS OFIS Designer) and can be easily tailored by individual development centres. The strongest area of the ACUS standards is management planning of development, quality assurance, testing, and phase reviews and configuration management. The weakest area is the lack of a semiformal specification and design methodology. The standards do not extensively address this issue.
Object oriented design, as previously mentioned, and has emerged as the preferred methodology for system and network software development. The linc Systems Approach @ISA) for rapid prototyping of line of Business Applications is the second emerging methodology. These methodologies require strong CASE tools support.
ACUS had implemented the following software engineering tools prior to 31 March1989:
Unisys software development practices and tools used were surveyed during the author's trip to Charlotte CDC, Blue Bell, CSPO, Roseville, Eagan, lake Forest and Mission Vieio, 23 January - 7 February. Information was available from Camarillo, ULDC and the Paoli Research Cenire, too.
The results of this survey are:
1 - Configuration management tools will be available across the whole range of Unisys computer systems by the end of 1989. Unisys has developed most of these tools.
2 - Rapid advances have been made in testing tools covering functional, system and auto regression testing. The testing tools cover most Unisys computer systems. Some of the testing tools will mature only by the end of 1989.
3 - Very little work seems to have been done in implementing CASE tools. A number of research efforts are listed in .
The author was appointed as the ACUS Quality Research Manager with the objective of having a complete set of software engineering (CASE, Configuration Management and Testing) tools in place by 1 January 1990.
Project Planning Tools top
The first tools acquired were word processors, spreadsheet packages, and electronic mail (corporate B-mail and E-mail). After these basics, ACUS evaluated a number of project management packages and decided to implement the Hoskyns Group Project Management Workbench. PMW  supports four views of a project:
• Gantt Chart
• Resource Spreadsheet
• Dependency Definition Diagram
• CPM Network
PMW has been used from April 1988 by most ACUS projects. The next phase will be to interface the Estimacs  cost estimation tool with PMW via the Planmacs utility. The chain Estimacs --> Planmacs --> PMW is via the file system. There is no reversed chain from PMW back to Estimacs. Estimacs has been used for cost estimation of the ACUS Line of Business projects. With Estimacs, you can explore the scope of the effort, staffing, costs, hardware needs, and risks involved. Estimacs implements Function Point Analysis based on A. Albrecht's work at IBM in the mid 1970s. Estimacs seems suitable for our line of Business projects. The risk estimation module of Estimacs has wider applicability for ACUS projects. The COCOMO  model has been used manually to estimate network product development cost, and a tool based on COCOMO might be acquired.
Project Observation Workbench and Evaluation Reporter POWER  automates and standardizes the collection and evaluation of software project status information. POWER uses a series of over 600 structured questions to evaluate the state of a project during the six Phases of project development. The questions have been weighted by, POWER according to the size of the software under development, its complexity, and whether the program is real time or non-real time. You can modify the POWER question set to meet your particular needs. POWER has been used to evaluate the ACUS ODA/SFO project. Its use is regarded as tedious.
Configuration Management Tools top
The primary system for ACUS configuration management is the Roseville Engineering PRIMUS Application System. EPAS  is used to report and track problems and new feature suggestions from phase 4 qualification onwards. Phase 5 customer support is based on the User Communication Form (UCF)  and CONTACT processing . EPAS is used as a configuration management database for status accounting and as a means for communicating with customer support centres and as a means for distributing changes electronically. ACUS fulfils the corporate customer serviceability objective  by using EPAS. The logistics of accessing EPAS over the UNIDATS network from ACUS BTOS and PCS emulating UTS terminals were completed by January 1989, EPAS training is complete in April 1989, and the process of opening Product Validation Profiles for each ACUS product before phase 4 qualification has started. EPAS will be used by ACUS not only for customer support but also as a development phase configuration management database. In particular, the OS1100 projects environment will use a local PRIMUS node for change control with integrated changes (CHGS) harvested to EPAS. EPAS document types  currently used are UCF, PIE, CHG, CONTACT and PVP. Future use will expand to include Test Product Profiles and System Test Activities [6,15] to support product system test preparation for Devon and Roseville.
A Series change control is based on the PatchManager  used by Tredyffrin, Devon, Orange and ACUS to develop and maintain patches to Unisys A Series software and documentation. Tredyffrin will implement by June 1989 an interface  for unloading PatchManager patches into EPAS CHGS. Currently, the PatchManager is used by only one ACUS project, the A Series Message Handling System. Orange County Release Management is developing an additional tool, the Product Definition System PDS that interfaces with PatchManager and the CSPO Engineering Information Release (EIR) system.
Release Management, and the ACUS Support/CM Group in general, handles Configuration Management. A number of corporate Mapper based systems (CORMAP, ADMAP, DISMAP and PM) provide vital information and data entry programs to drive the CSPO Engineering Information Release and Ship Authorize processes. In particular, the PM Reltrak and ADMAP ASAP  programs are important. CSPO is in the process of enabling electronic transfer of software. A lead system is the Roseville Series 110012200 TXFR Tape Transfer Utility , which enables the transfer of System Base Releases from Roseville to CSPO and back for verification as a fully automated one-day cycle.
2200 Series Configuration Management will be based on the Clear Lake Software Productivity Workbench. SPW represents perhaps the most ambitious Unisys software engineering tools effort and has the following features :
• Provides mainframe and workstation configuration management facilities
• Automatically determines the effective change (delta) from one version to the next version of a program's source
• Conserves mass storage and isolates a programmer's activity from the rest of the project
• Supports concurrent updating of multiple programs by multiple programmers
• Manages changes to non-symbolic type programs
• administers product integration and enhanced product generation facilities
• Provides a configurable interface to Unisys, user-supplied, and third party development tools
• Records and audits all changes made to a product
• Prevents accidental modification of products by security mechanisms
• Provides utilities to aid in the setup and migration of existing Unisys products to the SPW environment
• Delivers graphical workstation interfaces
• Integrates Unisys tools supporting test generation, execution, and verification; terminal and network simulation; symbolic debugger; performance measurement; symbolic cross-referencing; code metrics; code coverage, and software usability
U Series Configuration Management is based on the standard Unix Source Code Control System SCCS and Make utilities. There will be a gradual shift to more user friendly and integrated third party products with essentially the same capabilities as those of SCCS and Make. The Polytron PowerPak  seems to be the most promising product, and is gradually being ported to Unix systems. PowerPak is currently available for Sun.
Polytron Powerpak (consists of Polytron Version Control System, PolyMake and PolyLibrarian) passed ACUS evaluation as the preferred configuration management package to support LAN networked PCs.
The only missing link is BTOS version control. A third party version control utility is being ported onto BTOS by the Unisys Camarillo plant.
Initially, ACUS planned to use a networked configuration management solution under Unix with file transfers between a U Series machine and all other Unisys machines. This proved to be an impractical solution, and it was decided that each Unisys system must have native mode configuration management tools at least for version control and product build. The reasons behind this decision were primarily administrative. It was felt that file transfers between the different systems would not be manageable.
Also, 2200 and A Series source control and release mechanisms present technical problems that cannot be easily resolved by using a central tool under U series. The third party Unix vendors do not offer configuration management tools that can be easily applied to the Unisys environment. The only integrated configuration management mechanism is the EPAS as mentioned previously.
The primary unsolved version control problem is the 4GL Linc development. Configuration management functions have to be built in the next Linc 15.0 core product to be released by mid 1990.
Testing Tools top
The greatest Unisys software engineering breakthroughs are in the field of software testing tools. Unisys has a number of in-house software testing tools that cover functional, system and auto regression testing: TAC 1100 and CLU 1100 for 2200 Series, APT for A Series, and LAST for A, V. U and 2200 Series. Also, a third party tool, AutoTester, is under ACUS evaluation. Brief product descriptions follow.
Test Activity Controller TAC 1100  main features are:
"A single execution of TAC can be directed to control terminal simulators, schedule scripts and runstreams, and automatically vary batch, demand, and transaction activity simultaneously and without human interaction. TAC is able to generate reports on all aspects of a test session.
TAC provides function-testing capability in addition to its system-test capability. TAC runs test packages, compares results, and provides test status reports.
TAC offloads massive regression tests into weekend and night runs." ACUS OS1100 projects have three options for System Test:
2) Participate in the Roseville/Devon System Test;
3) Let Roseville/Devon carry out the testing process.
Conversation logging Utility (CLU) 1100  enables to record and replay
demand mode conversations with OSIIOO and programs executing under OS1100. CLU supports conversations with full-screen programs. A conversation is defined as system and program output messages to terminal, and input messages transmitted. Replay and record modes may be suspended and resumed dynamically to intermix both live and prerecorded conversations. Recorded scripts may be converted for execution under TAC 1100. Recorded scripts may be used to simulate production environment when replayed on multiple terminals via CSIIOO Remote Terminal Simulator and TAC 1100.
The combination of TAC 1100 and CLU 1100 provides a complete 051100 functional, system and autoregression test environment.
The A Series Automated Program Tester (APT)  was developed by Tata Unisys for Mission Viejo. The ACUS MHS project has an identical development environment and ACUS is evaluating the APT, too. APT is a tool to conduct functional testing of A-series software with minimal operator intervention. APT offers facilities to define test specifications, execute tests, store test history and generate reports. APT is capable of setting up the test environment and executing the steps that comprise the test procedure. APT records the test run as pass/fail based on user-given criteria. Functional testing has five tasks:
Auto regression tools LAST and AutoTester may be viewed as complementary to APT and independently for Line of Business and other user interface oriented applications. linc Automatic Script Tester LAST  was developed by Unisys Linc Development Centre ULDC. The name choice does not reflect the LAST capability as a general-purpose autoregression test tool. LAST supports Unisys A, V, 2200 and U series hosts. LAST uses PC or BTOS as a workstation and has terminal emulation for the Unisys hosts. LAST records keystrokes and host responses. During playback all host responses are checked with the expected results. Another use for LAST is creation of canned demonstrations that can be replayed without being connected to the host. LAST is still in its infancy.
The product is tightly coupled with Infoview. Each release of Infoview requires regeneration of LAST by ULDC, which is a problem with the frequent Infoview updates. Also, the LAST BTOS B25 version 4.01 had quite a few problems including the need to run the old BTOS 8 operating under BTOS II. The PC version of LAST is more stable, and the user interface is good. LAST user documentation, however, is still in a development draft form.
AutoTester  is a third party autoregression tool by Software Recording Corporation. AutoTester is a Capture/Playback system that automates not just keystrokes, but also the documentation, management, administration, and reporting of the testing process. AutoTester enables use of Input/Output
Variables reducing the human effort in recording and maintaining scripts and deciding what should be reported and when.
The unique aspect of AutoTester is the Outliner component that performs three functions: - documents the unit tests in plain English (raw keystroke scripts are difficult to understand).
- acts as a blueprint of the sequence and relationship of unit test scripts.
- combines unit tests into regression, stress and volume tests.
The Recorder, Script Editor, Playback and Match (including masking of don't care characters) are standard features of all the three autoregression systems under ACUS evaluation (CLU 1100, LAST and AutoTester). CLU 1100 is the preferred product for ACUS OS1100 System Base Release products OSS and OEUF. CareSys line of Business product has a preference for LAST being a linc application. The A Series Message Handling System may use either LAST or AutoTester (to supplement APT). SGE, Directory Services, ODA/SFO and the ISDN demonstrator could use either LAST or AutoTester. AutoTester is in a more mature and commercial stage than LAST. However, the emulation of the various Unisys machine types may present a major interface problem with LAST. A number of Unisys Blue Bell SDG plants are evaluating AutoTester. Our inclination is to favour LAST as a free and gratis product. The possibility of using the AutoTester Outlineras a separate front end to test planning needs to be
studied. There is a strong need for such a product.
Conformance Test Laboratory top
A special test environment is being set up by ACUS to test whether Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) protocols have been implemented in accordance with agreed upon specifications ; Test tools used include NCC and DANET test suites for the ACUS OSI projects MHS and ODA/SFO. ACUS Conformance Test Laboratory is being documented and not covered by this paper. However, this effort should be regarded as a major building block in the future ACUS software engineering environment for network software product development.
ASSETs implementation for OS1100 will be a complete environment, and serves as a model for other environments to be implemented across all Unisys systems.
The main component of the planned OSIIOO software development and support environment is the Software Productivity Workbench (SPW) developed in Clear
Lake. The SPW comes with the COMGEN system generation and installation utility that gradually over a period of 2-3 years will replace COMUS. The transition for new OS1100 products should start early 1990.
Change control will be based on PCR under PRIMUS . Initially, ACUS started with the old PCR system. The old PCR databases will be gradually phased out and the development centres will be provided with PRIMUS 5R3 with the Change Document type as the only document type available (development centre PRIMUS nodes could have a richer set of PRIMUS document types such as PVPS, PLEs and UCFs but this is not a technical issue). Integrated changes will be harvested nightly from the ACUS PRIMUS node to EPAS.
Functional, system and autoregression testing tools, the TAC 1100 and CLU 1100 are provided by the Roseville System Test Organization.
Currently, ACUS is using DSP*WORK which is a partial prototype for the coming SPW. The time frame for the implementation of the complete 051100 environment is July - October 1989 and depends on Roseville and Clear lake.
Interfacing of 4GL and Upper Case with SPW will not be available for the first release. Initially only terminal user interface will be available. The interface is a pure command interface that does not query for any information.
SPW will initially run under the IPF environment. The planned workstation front-end together with the open architecture of SPW provides the future opportunity to migrate the SPW environment to other architectures including Unisys A Series and Unix architectures.
CULL and PADS serve symbolic cross-referencing and debugging. SOFTMET  is a software metrics tool that produces Halstead, Lines of Code, McCabe and implementation weight/corrected volume metrics for OS1100 design and programming languages ' (Structured Design Language SDL, SSG, PLUS, FORTRAN, MASM/ASM, COBOL, C and INLINE).
Computer Aided Software Engineering CASE pose the biggest problem for Unisys software development centres. The available tools are from third party sources, very difficult to integrate with existing Unisys software development tools, cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several hundred thousand dollars, and suffer from "vaporware" of unmet expectations. A number of major CASE solutions are being evaluated by Unisys development centres including the Index Technology Excelerator, IDE Software Through Pictures, Yourdon Software Engineering Workbench and CADRE TeamWork. Also, a number of Unisys pro ects are slowly evolving including the Camarillo SEWB  and the Paoli CSEE.
Currently, the only Unisys agreement with a CASE vendor is with Index Technology Corporation. The agreement covers over 300 copies of the Excelerator product. ACUS has decided to adopt the Excelerator as an affordable solution. Care Manager specification and design by Excelerator has started. This 20 man ' year Linc line of Business application is worth perhaps 100 man years of Cobol programming. The results of applying Excelerator will be most significant for ACUS. A parallel attempt to use Excelerator Real Time System for a network or SGE software development project is being planned.
Upper CASE tools should support:
• Entity-Relationship Diagrams
• Structured Analysis
• Combined Data and Control Flow Diagrams
• Process Specifications
• Integrated Data Dictionary
• Consistenc ' y Checking & Diagram Balancing
• Project Documentation Generation
• Built-in Configuration Management
• Project library Database
• Run under local Area Networked PCs
ACUS Software Engineering Tools ASSETs is an evolutionary and incremental approach constrained by low acquisition budgets and no funds for experimentation. The idea is to make the most out of existing Unisys solutions for configuration management and testing. The primary constraint is to have ASSETs implemented by January 1990 across all Unisys systems. This and the budgetary constraints precludes any attempt for an integrated software engineering environment as a total solution. Also, no attempt is possible to introduce an AI/software engineering workstation environment. The success of ASSETs will be determined by the extent of its use. The greatest risk is in the training process of modern software engineering methods, the application of Upper CASE and the interfacing of this with the rest.
Contact and Development Centre are given for Unisys restricted references
[1*] Towards a Common Software Engineering Environment, B. G. Stevens, Paoli Research Center, September 1988.
 The C++ Programming language, Bjarne Stroustrup, Addison-Wesley 1987.
[3*] Linc Systems Approach, Carolyn Wengerd, Blue Bell, January 1989.
 Project Manager Workbench, User Documentation, PMW Centre, Hoskyns Group plc, 130 Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1V 7DN, 01-434 2171.
 POWER (tm) System Manager's Manual, Expettware, Inc., 2685 Marine Way, Suite 1209, Mountain View, CA 94043, (415)965-8921.
[6*] Engineering PRIMUS Application System (EPAS), User Reference, UCF Coordinator Roseville, 1989 February 02.
[71 CA-Estimacs User Guide, Computer Associates International, Inc.
 Excelerator User Documentation, Index Technology Corporation, Unisys agreement supervisor, Pete Banthia, Detroit WHQ.
 EPOS User Documentation, SPS Software Products & Services, Inc. 1988.
[10*] Proceedings 1988 Software Engineering Symposium, Unisys Defense Systems.
 Software Engineering Metrics and Models, Conte-Dunmore-Shen, The Benjamin/Cummings Publishing Company, Inc. 1986.
[12*] UCF Field Support and Customer Guides, Pam Murray, Blue Bell SDG, 1989.
[13*] Unisys Engineering Contact Process ECP-001 Update 1, 1989 February 01, Ron Voight, Roseville.
[14*] UCF Policy & Service Objectives, Pam Murray, Blue Bell SDG, 1989.
[15*] Maintaining System Test STAS, SST-001 Update 6, 1988 June 07, Jack Beckwith, Roseville System Test.
[16*] A Series PatchManager User's Guide, Gordon Quale, Forest Lake.
[17*] PATCHMANAGER/PRIMUS Interface, March 1989, Tredyffrin DN-89-03.
[18*] ASAP Functional Specification, Richard Green, PA&S - Flemington, March 1989.
[19*] TXFR Tape Transfer Utility Reference Guide, Steve Boswell, Roseville System Test, August 1987.
[20*] SPW Product Functional Specification, SPW-17 Update 1:12, 1989 February 03, Jon Hill, Clear lake.
[211 PowerPak (PVCS, PolyMake, and Polylibrarian) User Documentation, Polytron Corporation, 1700 NW 167th Place, Beaverton, OR 97006, 1-800-547-4000.
[22*] Test Activity Controller TAC 1100 Version 2.15 Programmer Reference, January 1989 and User Guide, Jack Beckwith, Roseville System Test.
[23*] Conversation logging Utility (CLU) 1100, User Guide, Review Copy, February 14, 1989 Update 1.1, Jack Beckwith, Roseville System Test.
[24*] Automated Program Tester (APT) Version 1.0 Capabilities and User Reference Manual, Tata Unisys Bombay, 1989 February 20.
[25*] Linc Automatic Script Tester LAST Version 4,0, Unisys Linc Development Centre, 1989.
[26*] PCR Under PRIMUS, Level 5R2, PCR-004 Update 4, Roseville, 1988 June 23.
[27*] SOFMET 1100 Level 1R7 User Guide, RSS-160, Clear Lake 1989 March 10.
 Conformance Testing for Open Systems Interconnection, Omnicon Newsletter Service, Winter 1988, Omnicon Inc., 115 Park Street SE, Vienna, VA 22180-4607, (703)281-1135.
[29*] SEWB Documentation, Camarillo, Dana Allen, NEW.
Note: Organizational contact information of all OS1100 products listed in this paper are available via Product Validation Profiles for EPAS users.
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