Following on from the offerings unveiled in the past two or three weeks by such as Generics and Cadre (CI No 808), yet another set of computer aided software engineering tools has made its way on to the UK market, this time from Meta Systems Inc under the sole distributorship of Keith London Associates Ltd (CI No 803). Meta’s latest offering is Structured Architect, an analysis, graphics and documentation workbench for use on MS-DOS machines. But what Keith London reckons makes Meta really stand out from the crowd is Problem Statement Language/Problem Statement Analyser, or PSL/PSA. This IBM MVS, DEC VMS or Ultrix and Unisys 1100/OS software engineering tool – originally developed by the ISDOS research team at the University of Michigan – is said to behave more like an informational database. It links Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Meta’s two structured architect tools and allows data from them to be retrieved and manipulated as if from a database. PSL/PSA combines information from both Structured Architect and Structured Architect-Integrator, a tool which can automatically integrate numerous workstations so that several analysts can work on different aspects of the same project while sharing resources and maintaining individual control. Information can be extracted from the PSL/PSA database using a generator language called Report Specification Interface. Meta has another string to its bow with its reverse engineering service. This enables the analysis, diagnosis and re documentation of old source code, be it Cobol, Fortran, Assemblers, job control languages or generator languages. According to Keith London, this is particularly significant as the importance of corporate models in the running of companies is stressed more and more. Alternatively, the process can go from the initial problem through to creating a skeleton design of code to generate a system. All Meta tools support established methodologies. Keith London, based in Welwyn, Hertfordshire, has prices starting at UKP2,000 for the MS-DOSbased Structured Architect going to UKP20,000 to UKP25,000 for the DEC MicroVAX implementation of PSL/PSA and UKP35,000 under IBM’s MVS.
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