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Scientific Programming
Volume 8 (2000), Issue 2, Pages 59-71

Config: A Case Study in Combining Software Engineering Techniques

David Maley1 and Ivor Spence2

1St. Mary's University College, 191 Falls Road, Belfast BT12 6FE, Northern Ireland, UK
2Queen's University of Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, Northern Ireland, UK

Received 27 March 2001; Accepted 27 March 2001

Copyright © 2000 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Config is a software component of the Graphical R-Matrix Atomic Collision Environment. Its development is documented as a case study combining several software engineering techniques: formal specification, generic programming, object-oriented programming, and design by contract. It is specified in VDM++; and implemented in C++, a language which is becoming more than a curiosity amongst the scientific programming community. C++supports object orientation, a powerful architectural paradigm in designing the structure of software systems, and genericity, an orthogonal dimension to the inheritance hierarchies facilitated by object oriented languages. Support in C++ for design by contract can be added in library form. The combination of techniques make a substantial contribution to the overall software quality.