StateWORKS Newsletter #5, 19.10.2003

1. Introduction
2. StateWORKS Studio
3. StateWORKS System
4. VFSM XML format
5. String object with example
6. Changed Web site

1. Introduction

In my last newsletter in summer I promised you that in the autumn we should launch a new StateWORKS development environment. It is a reality - today, we present you the new version under the title StateWORKS Studio. And, we offer a free light edition (LE) variant for downloading.

There are several additions and changes to our development tools and run-time systems. Below you find a summary of them. If you need more information visit our web site which has been altered and, I hope, improved.

F. Wagner

2. StateWORKS Studio

StateWORKS Studio is an integrated development environment which comprises all components required to specify and test state machine systems. The base of StateWORKS Studio is the SWEdit completed by SWMon, SWLab and SWTerm. If you had contacts with StateWORKS before you know most of the names. StateWORKS Studio integrates all these programs under one hood. In such a way, we have created a new product that can be just used to specify state machine(s) and test them independently of its ultimate implementation. Of course, we would be glad if after the specification and testing you decide also to use a StateWORKS run-time system as your application implementation.

To achieve the integration, all StateWORKS Studio programs have been improved or redesigned. I will mention some of the changes:

- SWEdit:
  • diagrams and documents can now be saved also as jpg-files,
  • data for embedded systems is generated by Build (was Export),
  • XML files are generated by Build,
  • the name of the state Init can be changed,
  • for additional CMD objects IOD and H files are generated,
  • the C(lear)-field has been removed, because:
  • CMD objects owned by a state machine (CMD-IN) may receive an output action (see the Technical Note "Commands"),
  • the state transition and input action priorities (sequence) can be now changed directly in the state transition table,
  • a new STR (string) object can be now specified,
  • the default folder for the Build (which was called Export before) results is still the Project folder but you can change it, defining separate folders for Config and XML files.
  • In addition, there are innumerous improvements and corrections relating to the editing functionality and diagram/table presentation, not to speak about corrected known bugs.
- SWMon:
  • a display of the new STR object,
  • the introduction of the state machine debug mode,
  • several improvements in the graphics,
  • correction of known bugs.
- SWLab:
  • STR Object has been introduced,
  • a state machine debug mode has been implemented (a logical step means one state transition); any number of state machines in the system may be in the debug mode,
  • in this case, I cannot say that we have corrected some known bugs. Our execution environment is already very ripe and we do not experience errors in our run-time systems.
- SWTerm is essential for automated testing (see the document "SWTerm"). Note that we have replaced the term "Console Client" with a Terminal Client (therefore the abbreviation SWTerm).
- All programs now communicate using the TCPIP protocol.

We have put a free version of the StateWORKS Studio on our web site for downloading. The version has some limits: only one state machine can be specified and the number of objects cannot exceed 100. Downloading it requires registration and because of the complexity the program must be now installed; otherwise we could not guarantee a smooth "getting started".

Note that StateWORKS Studio LE (Light Edition) is a full product. In cases where your application requires only one state machine it is a sufficient solution.

Note also that you can use StateWORKS Studio LE to display and analyze our examples in User`s Guide and Case Studies which contains several state machines. StateWORKS Studio LE can display any system of state machines - the limits are applied for creating a new system of state machines.

For educational purposes (EP) we provide special conditions.


3. StateWORKS System

Our run-time systems (StateWORKS System) are expanding. They cover now Windows and UNIX-like platforms. One of our next Newsletters will bring you more detailed information about this topic.


4. VFSM XML format

As I have mentioned before, StateWORKS Studio generates XML files with the Build command. The XML files contain the specification of the state machine behavior and the configuration of the system. When generating XML files an XSL application is also attached which allows displaying of the XML files in an Internet browser. Thus, you can send the XML files to a person who does not have StateWORKS Studio to show him your specification.

The XML topic in StateWORKS is a trial to propose a standard for state machine specification. Our next newsletter and technical note will be devoted to this topic.


5. String object with example

StateWORKS development environment and the run-time system have got a new object type. It is the String object (STR). This new object is useful in situations where the inputs are messages (strings) containing control information. This object accepts Regular expressions (RE) for specifying the required string analysis function. The technical note "String Object" describes the functionality and usage of this object.


6. Changed web site

The StateWORKS web site has been changed again. We tailored it to the new product StateWORKS Studio and introduced changes which should reflect better the StateWORKS philosophy and tools. I will recommend you to invest few minutes to look at the new web site. You will notice also that we now cooperate strongly with the Cydon-Tech site which is responsible for downloading, registration and selling online.