Specifications as Search Keys for Software Libraries

Authors: E. R. Rollins and J. M. Wing

Appears in Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Logic Programming, Paris, June 1991. Also CMU-CS-90-159, September 1990.

The full text of this paper is here (in PostScript).


Searching through a large repository of objects can be a tedious activity if a user cannot easily identify the object of interest. In the context of software development, we describe a method of searching through program libraries using specification matching. We use signature information along with pre- and post-condition specifications as search keys to increase the recall and precision of a query. This paper details a case study of specification matching where we use Lambda Prolog as our specification and query language and higher-order unification to retrieve from a library of ML functions. We discuss the significance of specification matching in general and point out some open issues.
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