An Integrated Software Development Environment for Army Information Systems
Jeffrey R. Dmochowski
Jeffrey S. Poulin
Federal Systems Company
International Business Machines Corporation
Rt. 17C, MD 0124
Owego, NY 13827
JeffD at OWGVM0
PoulinJ at OWGVM0
1 November 1993
Presented at the IBM Integration Center of Competence (ICOC) International
Technical Liaison (ITL) on Information/Technology Integration, Thornwood,
New York, 1-2 November 1993.
In June 1993 the US Army awarded IBM's Federal Systems Company in Owego,
New York, a 10-year contract potentially worth $474 million to improve
and standardize the Army's automation of day-to-day business functions.
The Sustaining Base Information Systems (SBIS) contract will overhaul the
administrative functions carried out at 128 Army installations, including
areas such as logistics, finance, personnel, and training. The contract
will help prepare the Army to move from proprietary operating environments
to open systems standards-based configurations, and may serve as a procurement
vehicle for the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and the rest
of the Department of Defense (DoD). SBIS will form the architectural foundation
upon which DoD builds the Defense Information Infrastructure, a global,
end-to-end network for all DoD users.
To meet the productivity and quality necessary to produce the SBIS applications,
our developers will require an environment containing tools that helped
manage all lifecycle stages from high-level data and architecture models
through to fully tested and running Ada software. To achieve a high degree
of function between the tools as well as within the individual tools, we
decided to leverage the existing NIST/ECMA framework technology available
in the IBM WorkBench/6000 and Integrator/6000 products.
The Request for Proposals (RFP) released by the Army in the spring of 1992
did not identify many specific requirements for a CASE environment. The
environment needed to comply with the National Institute of Standards (NIST)
Applications Portability Profile (APP) and all Portable Operating System
Interface (POSIX) and Government Open Systems Interconnect Profile (GOSIP)
standards. Otherwise, the Army allowed vendors to identify requirements
and the tools to best those requirements. Whereas this allowed the IBM
team to select the best products on the market (from IBM and non-IBM vendors),
the wide scope of what the environment should do and the way to best do
it cause a number of difficulties in determining the focus of our toolset.
The SBIS solution contains a wealth of Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS)
products which provide a wide breadth of function in diverse areas such
as operating environment, networking, data management, software development,
system engineering and office automation. Throughout the course of the
proposal, the SBIS Integrated Software Engineering Environment evolved
into a core set of software development tools which we integrated into
a comprehensive, deliverable unit that scales to changing requirements
IBM FSC built its POSIX-compliant, distributed, client-server SBIS target
architecture around the NCR 3000 series of computers from its SBIS teammate,
AT&T. The NCR dataservers will run UNIX SVR4 which will host about
90 Ada language, MOTIF GUI applications integrated with the Oracle Corporation
Version 7 RDBMS. Army users will access these applications through X-terminals
connected to the NCR dataservers.
The host portion of the ISEE operates under AIX 3.2.4 on RS/6000 Model
570 servers and RS/6000 Model 230 workstations. The ISEE resides on Model
570 process servers and employs NFS client/server technology to distribute
processing to a number of Model 230 workstations. Each workstation provides
distributed processing capability for up to two software developers. The
environment also provides a complete Unix SVR4 testbed for the evaluation,
testing and operation of SBIS software in conformance to the options and
parameters of the target environment.
The software environment provides an integrated software development environment
based on the NIST/ECMA Reference Model for tool framework technology. The
ISEE framework presents a common user interface and integrated view of
the underlying development tool set and central development library.
Tool Selection Process
During contract proposal preparation, we obtained as much available information
on leading commercial products that met the general functional requirements
we felt the environment needed to address. This trade study not only compared
the features, costs, and functions of the competing products, but also
validated that the tools actually performed the advertised functions.
To help with the trade study process, we greatly benefited from the
use of a DOS based tool called Decision Pad from Apian Software. This product
implements Dr. Charles Kepner's
Eight Steps to An Effective Decision.
The tool automates the establishment and weighting of decision criteria
and then allows the user to grade and document alternative candidates against
that criteria. The program handles the mathematical calculation and report
generation which proved invaluable in distributing the conclusions.
Because the Army made Open Systems compliance a key part of the proposal,
we needed to obtain the most up-to-date information on POSIX and GOSIP
validation testing and the results of those tests. While some products
had obtained NIST certification in one version of their product, recent
or planned releases might invalidate the earlier certificate. In some cases
NIST had not published test suites for recently approved standards. In
general, failure to comply with an applicable NIST standard would eliminate
a tool from consideration.
Other items that would eliminate a tool included failure to support
the tool on one of the target platforms. Because we planned to bid a target
environment consisting of hardware from many vendors, the tool usually
needed to run on each of the planned target platforms. Failure to support
a tool under AIX on the R/6000 or under UNIX SVR4 on the NCR might eliminate
a tool early in our trade study.
Scheduled Integration Tasks
In preparation for contract award, the CASE integration work progressed
and continues in three phases consisting of approximately 20 person-months
of effort. Delivery of the first version of the ISEE to the software developers
occurred in October 1993.
Establish production, RS/6000-based distributed CASE environment consisting
of an initial list of approximately 34 critical tools integrated with the
WorkBench/6000 framework and customized to Owego Federal Systems Integration
(FSI) and SBIS requirements. These tools include the Verdix Ada Development
System (VADS) and many of the Cadre Teamwork products. The customized environment
also specifies a preliminary configuration management and version control
for the software development process.
Provide the addition of transparent target development and testing within
the environment using the NCR target platform.
Integrate and customize approximately 21 less critical RS/6000 based tools
into the environment. Complete integration of developer training, help,
and user documentation.
Integrating the CASE Tools
We created the following nine step process in order to achieve a consistent
integration of each of the tools in the ISEE and attain a tangible means
of delivering integration:
We repeat this process for each tool involved in the integration effort.
After we take a tool through each of the nine steps, it effectively becomes
part of the ISEE and we make the tool ready for testing and distribution.
Distributed Client Setup
Custom Tool Integration
ISEE Electronic Distribution
The first step in our integration process consists of fundamental preparatory
task. These involve accessing the tool profile template, creating a tool
profile for the tool we will install, completing standardized preparatory
work such as creating a file system using the standardized naming convention,
and documenting the tool's size. We keep this tool profile under configuration
management and use it to document additional custom code and integration
performed on the tool throughout its integration lifecycle.
The installation step involves installing the tool using its normal installation
procedures and documenting any discrepancies or changes which we had to
make in the tool profile. We also capture in the tool profile any options
or parameters we had to set during this step.
In this step, we access the standardized user access template to create
an access script for the tool. We also place this script under configuration
management. The "user access script" takes care of typical processes which
the user must follow for each tool whenever a user wants to start the tool.
This includes such things as logging the tool access and setting all variables
and options to the appropriate values so the tool will function properly.
During this step in the process, we create another script for the tool
to handle the starting of any daemon processes associated with the tool.
These processes typically handle such tasks as license and database management.
Distributed Client Setup
Distributed client setup involves accessing the setup template, creating
a custom setup script for the tool and placing it under configuration management.
This script handles any custom work which must take place on each machine
which will run the tool. Typically, this involves the setting of XWindows
resources, fonts and other parameters which the tool requires to operate
properly. We then incorporate the script into a master Client Services
script which developers and each of the client workstations will use to
manage the environment by the ISEE on their machine.
In this phase of the process, we actually integrate the tool into the ISEE
through the use of the WorkBench framework. We can achieve three levels
of possible integration:
1. Level One Integration
This simple type of integration involves the encapsulation of the tool
so that the user can start and stop the tool from the WorkBench Tool Manager.
The tool's source code does not need modification and its appearance and
operation remain the same. The tool also does not communicate with the
WorkBench Broadcast Message Server. To date, we have integrated the following
tools into the SBIS ISEE using this type of integration:
In some cases, we can achieve an additional form of integration may at
this level through the creation of new WorkBench object types. The definition
of new object types allows the tool to start in an object oriented form.
For example, in the case of VADSedit, a language-sensitive Ada source editor,
we defined a new type of object called Ada source. When the user
selects this type of object from the WorkBench development manager, the
ISEE automatically invokes VADSedit with the object as a parameter.
2. Level Two Integration
In this type of integration, we use Integrator/6000 to develop a Motif
wrapper or interface for the tool. We do not modify the tool's source code
but we do replace its user interface with a WorkBench compliant interface.
At this level, the tool can communicate with the WorkBench Broadcast Message
Server and thus we can slightly modify the tool's operation. We have integrated
the following tools have into the SBIS ISEE using this type of integration:
3. Level Three Integration
A level three integration provides of the highest level of integration
supported by the WorkBench. To achieve this level of integration, we must
modify the tool source code, and therefore the actual tool vendor must
usually provide this type of integration as a feature of the tool. At level
three, the tool can send and receive messages from the Broadcast Message
Server and we can tightly integrate the tool's operation into the framework.
We have integrated the following tools into the ISEE at this level:
Custom Tool Integration
In this step, we achieve additional integration between tools by providing
a custom tool integration. We usually complete this integration using one
of the following general methods:
Modification of the tool's standard Xwindows resources
Modification of the tool's configuration files
Access to the tool's Authorized Programming Interface (API)
Access to the tool's Broadcast Messaging Capability
We capture modifications and custom work using any of the above
methods in data files which we control under configuration management and
document in the tool profiles.
Modifying Xwindows Resources provides the the simplest form of additional
custom modifications which we can do within the environment. We can make
changes to the tool's resources at the system-wide level and/or put the
changes under user control. We capture and document system-wide changes
for future releases. In the case of user-specific changes, we leave it
up the user to maintain these changes.
This form of custom integration usually involves the addition or deletion
of menus and options to achieve enhanced usability. We used this method
to provide the following integration:
Teamwork / CCC
Teamwork / VADS
Teamwork / Logiscope
AIC / UIL2Ada
Authorized Programming Interface
Many modern software tools provide an Authorized Programming Interface
(API) which custom written programs can take advantage of to add new functions
to the tool. We used elements of this method when providing custom features
and to enhance the operation of the following integrations:
Interleaf / CCC
Teamwork / CCC
Broadcast Message Server
Broadcast Message Server integration serves as probably the newest and
at this point our least used method of integration. In this method, we
tailor the sending or receiving of WorkBench BMS messages to achieve enhanced
function between tools. We intend to use this method for the following
This method usually involves elements of the previous methods to complete
WorkBench Development Manager / CMlink
SoftDist Packaging and Distribution
In this phase of the integration process, we use the outputs of all the
previous process steps to produce a single, distributable ISEE. We bundle
the access scripts, rc initialization and client setup logic together
with the actual tool installation to create an integration package. The
SoftDist product allows for a controlled, staged distribution of the entire
ISEE. As we phase new products and new integration into the ISEE, we will
package and it make available via the SoftDist server as a selectable option.
We still need to address the following open issues worked as part of our
Integrating with the NCR platform
We can make the NCR platform available from the WorkBench environment using
the WorkBench distributed option. However, the portion of the WorkBench
which makes this feature work, the softspc daemon, does not yet
exist on the NCR. While the port to the NCR would allow for communication
to tools residing on the target machine, we question whether the cost of
the port justifies the need and must examine this more closely.
While we have made significant progress in utilizing current visual and
control integration technology, we have made little progress in the area
of data integration. We have considered the benefits that an IRDS data
repository such as InfoSpan can provide within the environment. However,
the current trend in CASE technology appears to favor the PCTE implementation
of data integration. We must address the question of how to proceed in
this area very soon. We will no doubt require some type of integration
mechanism to interface and integrate these two technologies into our ISEE.
The CASE team has completed the integration of most of the Phase I and
Phase II products, completing all basic functions required in the environment.
Future work includes integration of remaining Phase III tools, the completion
of training and documentation required to transition the environment to
the SBIS Software Development Facilities (SDFs) and the continuing investigation
of open issues.