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Getting Started with an Evaluation Plan

This document provides some tips on getting started with an evaluation of the Ada Analyzer. It identifies the important steps in defining an evaluation plan so that the decision of whether to continue use of the Ada Analyzer at the end of the evaluation period is clear. An overview of the information needed to begin using Ada Analyzer commands is presented in the second section.

Writing an Evaluation Plan

One key aspect of any evaluation plan is to actually write down what you plan to do. This always forces you to be more specific and to focus on your real objectives. Your notes do not need to be long, but they should address the following issues:

Scope and Timetable

What are the key objectives of the evaluation? The Ada Analyzer is designed to help you improve the quality of your development process and the software that results from the process. It is important to identify the aspects of your existing process that you would like to improve and to focus the evaluation on whether the Ada Analyzer can assist in making that improvement. Chapter 2 of the Ada Analyzer User's Guide lists the set of analysis objectives that the Ada Analyzer currently supports:

Perhaps one or more of these objectives can serve as key points in your evaluation. Note that Chapter 2 also describes how you would use the Ada Analyzer to achieve these objectives. This information may be helpful in formulating the "Approach" section of your evaluation plan.

What is the best order of evaluation? Starting with something simple may be a good way to get a feel for how the Ada Analyzer works. On the other hand, addressing key evaluation objectives early can ensure adequate information for a decision when the time allocated for evaluation is unexpectedly diverted to other tasks.

How long will the evaluation take? Typical evaluations take 30 to 60 days depending on the level of effort you are able to commit to the evaluation.

Who will participate in the evaluation? Identifying which members of your development and/or quality-assurance team will participate in the evaluation will help them plan to allocate the required time. It may be appropriate to have each evaluator focus on a different evaluation objective or aspect of the Ada Analyzer's functionality.

Decision Criteria

What criteria will you use to evaluate the Ada Analyzer? General criteria often include ease of use, speed, output format, and whether the documentation is easy to read and understand. More specific criteria can be defined to evaluate whether the Ada Analyzer provides the information relevant to solving your quality-improvement needs. Criteria that are as specific as possible make it easier to determine whether the Ada Analyzer meets your requirements.

Software for Analysis

What software would be most appropriate for evaluation? You want to make sure that you select enough software so that all key objectives can be evaluated but not so much that it delays the evaluation. In some cases, running the pre-existing test cases delivered with the Ada Analyzer can give you a good idea of how the Ada Analyzer collects and formats certain construct information when your software does not immediately exhibit this trait.

Getting Started with the Ada Analyzer


Installation is covered in the first chapter of the Ada Analyzer User's Guide. It describes the process of restoring the tape, executing the installation procedure, and ensuring that all users have the visibility and activity entries required to execute Ada Analyzer commands. This process is straightforward and is similar to the installation process for Rational layered products.

The Ada Analyzer is protected by an authorization code. To execute any command, you must first execute the Analysis_Switches.Register_Authorization command with a valid authorization code. If this code is not provided in the evaluation packet, you can obtain one by calling Little Tree Consulting at 415-965-9043. You will need to provide identification of your evaluation machine to receive such a code.

Basic Command Execution

General issues associated with command execution are covered in Chapter 1 of the Ada Analyzer User's Guide. This chapter covers standard parameters to all commands, logging, and potential errors that you might see in the log. Specific descriptions of all commands including sample output appear in Chapter 3.

Use of Hypertable Output

Most Ada Analyzer commands place their output in hypertables. Hypertables contain not only textual information about each construct located but also traversal connections to the actual Ada source from which the information is derived. You can scan the summary information in the table for items of particular interest and then traverse to the actual software for additional analysis. Hypertables can be used interactively, printed in PostScript form, or written into a file in column-delimited format for uploading into other tools.

Command Configuration

The Ada Analyzer is designed to be configurable. Switches are available to configure the output format in various ways. This is covered in Chapter 1 of the documentation. Standards-conformance checks can be enabled or disabled depending on local require-ments. Chapter 5 contains a list of all available checks, including a short description of the purpose of each check. Templates are available to easily create additional checks or additional commands for locating specific constructs within your software. Complete instructions for this customization appear in Chapter 4 of the User's Guide.

Documentation Overview

The Ada Analyzer User's Guide is intended to help you take full advantage of the Ada Analyzer and its capabilities. This guide can be used in a variety of ways:

Chapter 1, "Getting Started," provides information for new users of the Ada Analyzer. It explains how to execute Ada Analyzer commands and the kinds of input parameters that are expected. It describes how to view the hypertable output objects, how to traverse from the hypertable object to the actual software that it references, and how to get more explanatory information about what is in the hypertable. A description of how to access the online documentation, look up command descriptions, and find information associated with keywords is also included. Finally, this chapter describes how to configure the Ada Analyzer via switches and file input to achieve optimal information output for your analysis. Installation information is also provided in this chapter, although this may be of interest only to the system manager.

Chapter 2, "Quality-Improvement Objectives," describes some typical analysis objectives and how to use the Ada Analyzer to achieve improved software quality. For each major objective, a set of analysis scenarios are presented with detailed descriptions of possible subobjectives, the Ada Analyzer commands that can be used to support analysis in this domain, the output that can be expected from each command, and how to interpret the output so that progress against the objective can be made.

Chapter 3, "Command Descriptions," provides a detailed explanation of each Ada Analyzer command interface, including parameter descriptions, example output, and a full description of each table item and how to interpret this information. Interfaces are listed in alphabetical order in this section for easy reference.

Chapter 4, "Customization," provides information on extending the Ada Analyzer to meet local analysis requirements. It provides step-by-step instructions on the building of new Locate_@ commands from the base templates provided by the Ada Analyzer. The creation of new standards-conformance checks from templates and their integration into the Locate_Coding_Violations command is described. The chapter also provides general pointers on how to program with the Rational LRM Interfaces and the interfaces in the Utilities subsystem of the Ada Analyzer.

Chapter 5, "Command Cross-Reference," provides cross-reference tables and lists that make it easier to find interfaces that locate specific Ada constructs or support a particular analysis objective. It also lists all available standards-conformance checks.

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