Generation of Interactive Programming Environments II


GIPE II - 2177

Keywords programming environments, formal language definitions


Start Date: 02-JAN-89 / Duration: 60 months

[ contact / participants ]


Objectives and Approach

The GIPE II project has used a generic interactive programming environment as a basis for work in two areas:

This project takes as a starting point the interactive programming environment generator that was the successful outcome of project 348 (GIPE). This system uses as input the complete formal description of a programming language and produces a specific environment for that language. The resulting environment includes an editor, an interpreter/debugger, and other tools, all of which have uniform graphics user interfaces.

The main result of the GIPE project has been to demonstrate that this technology is feasible.

Its follow-up, GIPE II, aims to make it mature by providing support for the construction of large formal language definitions, extending the functionality and performance of the generated environments, and demonstrating the approach in a number of selected industrial applications, such as the construction of a development environment for scientific computing and the development of an environment for the LOTOS specification language.

Progress and Results

A distributed architecture for the Centaur system, which is the interactive programming environment generator, is now available. This makes the system more modular and more appealing to potential customers. Parsers, editors, and other tools used in conjunction with the system may now run on different machines.

Centaur's interfaces (displays and printing) have been made more efficient, and the judicious use of colour and fonts allow for effective visualisation within the generated environments. Within in the project an independent graph server has been developed, Centaur is communicates with the graph server, which runs in a separate process. The graph server is thus available for generated environments.

The more advanced capabilities of the system are now being explored with the treatment of Fortran, with particular attention to boosting productivity for Fortran programmer who wants to parallelise his code, and the theorem prover communities, Centaur has been used to provide user interfaces for a number of theorem provers. These capabilities profit from a stand-alone tool-communication component that has been developed within the project.

Exploitation

A version of the Centaur system is now released every year and is distributed by the GIPE consortium since February 1988. This distribution is based on a licence policy either for the non-commercial use of Centaur (including a nominal fee licence for universities and research institutes), or for business development (normal commercial conditions).

This policy should increase the user community and allow more and more industrial applications, proving an improved productivity and reliability of systems by using the Centaur system. The latest version has been distributed to over 70 sites (48 of these within Europe) and the project provides user support via a mailing list.

In addition to language environments, our users (including people involved in the project) have looked into using Centaur for program transformations, as a front-end to theorem proving systems and symbolic computation systems, for symbolic computation needed for compiler optimisations, etc.

A new company, Connexite, was created in January 1992 by participants of the GIPE II project for the commercial exploitation of the results. Connexite is currently providing a number of programming tools for the scientific computing community. They have several products that showcase GIPE II results. The products revolve around Fortran with environments to help manage large and dispersed libraries of code and their upgrading, analysing, and parallelisation.

The GIPE II project is continuing its effort and broadening the applicability of the system by taking the difficult case of a concurrent language (LOTOS, a language designed and used for the formal specification of telecommunication protocols). Strong links have been established on this occasion between this project and project 2304, LOTOSPHERE, which aims at building an environment for LOTOS.

The system will also affect the development of a European scientific-oriented workstation to be developed in the context of Office and Business Systems project 2569, EWS, for which it will provide a Fortran 77 environment.


CONTACT POINT

Ms Janet Bertot
INRIA SOPHIA ANTIPOLIS
2004 Route des Lucioles BP 93
F - 06902 SOPHIA ANTIPOLIS CEDEX
tel: + 33/ 93 65 7803
fax: + 33/ 93 65 77 65
email: Janet.Bertot@sophia.inria.fr

Participants

INRIA - F - C
CWI - NL - P
GIPSI SA - F - P
Groupe BULL - F - P
PLANET SA - GR - P
PTT RESEARCH - NL - P
SEMA GROUP SA - F - P
TECHNISCHE HOCHSCHULE DARMSTADT - D - P
UVA - NL - A
PELAB (LINKOPING UNIVERSITY) - S - A


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GIPE II - 2177, December 1993


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html version of synopsis by Nick Cook