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Home » Eclipse Projects » Requirements Modeling Framework  » Getting Started for non-experts(Templates and advice for those new to Requirements Management)
icon5.gif  Getting Started for non-experts [message #1341207] Thu, 08 May 2014 11:22 Go to next message
Neil Owrutsky is currently offline Neil OwrutskyFriend
Messages: 1
Registered: May 2014
Junior Member
Hello all. Please reply with your thoughts and experiences getting started with ProR so that I can curate a "getting started" wiki. We can host example SpecObjects and Datatypes on GitHub. It is up to us, the pioneering users, to light the way for others.

I find myself at a crossroads, unsure whether this is a useful tool for my project. Likely I am not the only one with such questions. I installed ProR essentials. Watched a couple of hours of presentations on Youtube. Read the wiki and the help file. Twice. Googled my fingers off looking for real-world usage examples. But I still can't figure out if this tool is a good match for capturing and refining external (user) requirements. Beginning with that all-important one or two page system narrative which is the seed from which great software is born.

We're certainly not going to cram such a narrative into a 400px column!It is unclear whether the XHTML field is appropriate storage. Unclear if that feature is even implemented: The documentation clearly says that NOTE: As of this writing, we only implemented the simple and the enumeration ReqIF types. This leaves out the complex ones (rich text, attachments, embedded files, etc.) for now. Yet someone in the forum claims to have created an XHTML data item. Someone else gave him a work-around for entering new-lines.

The last person who asked for start-up assistance in this forum was told dismissively to Google for "Requirements Management Tutorials." I understand that the developers are busy developing. Still, it seems counter-productive to not have at least provided a link or two to appropriate tutorials. I Googled and did not find anything that would help me use ProR for high-level requirements specification. I did find the Enterprise Architect and IBM product documentation. Am I to understand that we are expected to each reproduce their data structures in ProR? Seems more efficient for us to do it once and make those templates available to the community at-large. Let others add/remove what they choose rather than starting from scratch.

At the heart of open-source development is the desire to extend the benefit of software to the masses who cannot afford proprietary tools. In addition, most open-source developers want to see their products put to use. The download count is not a good measure of usage. I wonder how many potential users are walking away in frustration?

Clearly, it is up to the community to come together to provide start-up resources so that the developers can concentrate on new feature requests, bug fixes, and their real life responsibilities. I am willing to curate a "getting started" project to assist my fellow non-experts. We have to start somewhere so this thread is it.

The world will be a better place with pervasive software requirements management. Let's work together to realize the vision.
Re: Getting Started for non-experts [message #1344462 is a reply to message #1341207] Fri, 09 May 2014 19:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Michael Jastram is currently offline Michael JastramFriend
Messages: 235
Registered: April 2010
Location: Düsseldorf, Germany
Senior Member
Hello Neil,

First of all, thank you for your comments. What you encountered is part of the growing pain of a project that has tons of work to do and still a relatively small community. So it's great that you took the effort to to address this.

The way I understand you, you are proposing a number of activities:

  1. Improve the documentation, especially for beginners
  2. Provide Documentation beyond tool use, regarding best practices, with respect to ProR
  3. Start building a Library of Templates

If you want to help with these activities, that would be fantastic. Let me briefly comment on these:

Improve Documentation: I believe that anybody with an Eclipse account can edit the Wiki, where we already have some documentation (arguably incomplete and partly outdated). I am not sure myself whether a wiki is good for this purpose or not. There is also a script running on the build server, creating Eclipse Help from the Wiki content. So improvements to that wiki are always welcome. If you propose to migrate to a different documentation infrastructure (DocBook, etc.), that's fine to. We just have to make sure that we can process the documentation, especially for Eclipse Help.

Provide best practices, etc.: Again, it would be great to have some help here. And whether it goes on gitHub or the Eclipse Wiki is more of a technical question. Reading about your frustrations, I'll provide some pointers below.

Template Library: This has been on my todo-list for a while, and help is more than welcome. Again, some thought and discussion on the form would be good. Specifically, it may be a good idea to not just provide downloadable templates, but a Wizard for each template, allowing users to access them right out of the tool.

I look forward to your response, and will do my best in assisting you with these activities.

Two more comments: First, The XHTML-Plugin exists, and as you mentioned that you installed the Essentials, they should work for you. One problem is that they work only with Java 7 or better from Oracle (not openJDK), as we use JavaFX for this purpose.

Second, RE is a huge field, so it's difficult to provide a starting point. For instance, ReqIF originates in the automotive industry, where manufacturers and suppliers exchange tens of thousands (!) requirements on a regular basis. Contrast this with the "all-important one or two page system narrative which is the seed from which great software is born" - it's quite a different world.

To my mind come two resources that may help you: openUP is a lean, incremental development process that is extremely well documented and includes templates, including for requirements. These are Word templates, and could be ported to ProR.

I agree that ProR is not exactly the right tool for capturing the high-level vision of a project. But in the other direction - towards implementation - lies a lot of potential. And I am doing some work in that direction, specifically with integration with UML model elements. In fact, the ability to integrate requirements with other development artifacts is where I see the strength of ProR.

Again, thanks for taking the time to engage.

- Michael

Re: Getting Started for non-experts [message #1359434 is a reply to message #1344462] Fri, 16 May 2014 10:29 Go to previous message
Michael Jastram is currently offline Michael JastramFriend
Messages: 235
Registered: April 2010
Location: Düsseldorf, Germany
Senior Member
Hi Neil,

Did you have a chance to think about next steps? In particular, I find myself more and more limited lately by the documentation infrastructure - a wiki only goes this far. Any thoughts?


- Michael
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