A software engineering approach to the integration of CAD/CAM systems

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Virginia Tech

This dissertation presents a new approach to the generation of integration systems for CAD/CAM application programs which enlists the tools and methodologies of computer aided software engineering, also referred to as CASE. A CASE workbench is described which aids in the design, analysis and automatic generation of program code for the integration of CAD/CAM applications based on a variety of integration models.

The requirements and detail design of a CASE integration toolkit, which will be incorporated into the CAD/CAM CASE workbench, is presented. This toolkit assists with the identification of vital information from the CAD/CAM application programs, such as code structure, comment blocks and explicit information about the occurrence and location of variables, arrays and subprograms, that is not normally supplied by compilers or other source code analysis tools. This specialized toolkit helps to quickly acquaint the integration system designer with unfamiliar application programs and greatly assists in the integration process. The information obtained by the CASE integration toolkit is subsequently passed into the CASE design and analysis toolkits and used to assist in the semi-automatic generation of the integration system.

As a basis for many of the ideas in this research, a survey of CAD/CAM integration in industry was undertaken. A wide variety of Fortune 500 companies participated in this project, providing important information on current integration methods, problems and needs. A synopsis of the survey questions and responses is presented.

Additionally, a new integration model, referred to as the High-level Autonomous Integration Model (HAIM), is also described. The autonomous integration model allows a higher-level of integration than is normally considered through the utilization of the X Window System and database methods. This model includes the transfer of necessary data as well as simultaneous execution of application programs and the ability to share menus and functions between applications.

The CAD/CAM CASE workbench and integration toolkit are designed to assist an integration system designer with the tedious tasks necessary in any CAD/CAM applications integration. This is not meant to infer that the workbench allows complete automation of the integration process. A skilled and knowledgeable designer, however, can save a great deal of time through the utilization of the analysis, design and generation capabilities provided by the CAD/CAM CASE workbench. A description of the necessary skills and tasks performed by the systems integration designer is also included.