The use of semantic analysis in the development of information systems
This research has accomplished a clarification of what exactly constitutes semantic analysis using the specification language NORMA. Having clarified the essential elements of the language, this work has shown how the language can be put into practice. The technique has been exemplified on three applications. This process of indicating how the technique can be applied to a case is necessary if we are to show the practical usability. Another important contribution has been the setting out of more precise rules for the constraints; the sketching out of a metaschema. Although more work is needed here to express the full range of metaphysical relationships that underlie any semantic schema in NORMA, a start has been made. This work will support the building of a computer system to aid the analyst. With the large range of constraints and fundamental assumptions associated with NORMA, the need for a method of applying them was paramount. In this work we have attempted to set out a rational agenda of work comprised in the performing of semantic analysis, and in a manner which is easily accessible. A simple set of ten stages in the work spans the range of tasks that are required. At no stage has there existed such a straightforward introduction, rather, the tendency has been to point to the possibility of beginning the analysis in a number of ways. As a further contribution this work has examined some of the examples of semantic analysis and identified a few 'classic' errors. The importance of this is to focus on what are likely to be common mistakes that spring from an inadequate grasp of the language, which if corrected can lead to better results quite quickly and avoid a significant part of the problems associated with the 'learning curve'.