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Rich Authoring Tool (RAT)

Rich Authoring Tool (RAT)

A SMARTer way to document your system

Tools and plug-ins to assist you in the activity of writing requirements and other natural language texts.

Performs Correctness and Consistency analysis on the fly

Suggests controlled-vocabulary items based on a central knowledge base

Fully integrated into your Requirements Management Tool and Modelling Tool


The Rich Authoring Tool (RAT) is the smarter way to write requirements, test cases, definition of risks… and any other concise statement that should be written following an agreed-upon structure, following a set of quality rules, and using the terms coming from a controlled vocabulary.

Authors of systems documentation must know what structure to follow, which terms to use, the expected quality policies or checklist to follow, the level of consistency with other requirements or models... That is why writing new requirements can sometimes lead to a writer’s block.

Rich Authoring Tool (RAT) is the perfect assistant for system analysts/engineers when writing the system documentation. RAT leads engineers with a set of agreed-upon patterns, suggests the most suitable content for each piece of information written and always ensures the right grammar, with quality checking on real time. RAT exonerates engineers from format concerns (e.g. structure of requirements) and allow them to concentrate on the content (essence of requirements), that is, the technical data useful for design.

Once a pattern has been selected, RAT shows its structure, its description and examples of how it should be used, either for a requirement, a model or other work-products. Authors just need to select the right terms and semantics from a controlled vocabulary suggested while typing, thus ensuring that the developed requirement, or other artifact, has followed the right grammar and it provides the proper information.

RAT implements an IntelliSense way of writing – a technique that guides authors while writing – thus providing an accurate way of creating consistent requirements and speeding up system documentation writing.

Applying this SMARTer way to develop the system documentation, RAT entitles several benefits:

  • The system assets include the right pieces of information (Completeness).
  • Both humans and computers will read and understand textual requirements more easily without ambiguity (Correctness).
  • The SKM Semantic Retrieval Engine “understands” the information stated in one single way (Reuse and Formalization).
  • The chances of finding coupled or inconsistent work-products are increased (Consistency).
  • Homogeneous vocabulary and grammar across all the documents improve the consistency of the whole specification.

The information reported by RAT includes out-of-the-box quality metrics for the detection of inconsistences, ambiguity, or duplicated requirements or models. The real-time quality assessment, as well as the IntelliSense writing assistant are both included as plug-ins on top of some of the most widely used requirements management and modelling tools.

Benefits

Quality RAT offers the same quality analysis provided by SQA, but now in an on-the-fly basis (real time). Best practices, checklists, rules, etc., are now closer to document writers in systems engineering projects.

Time - The concept “Right the first time” can now be applied to the writing of requirements, test cases etc. RAT allows a dramatic drop in terms of the number of verification loops at different levels.

Money - Reducing rework has a significant impact on saving money in all sorts of projects. In the earlier stages, we make most of the financial decisions regarding the project. Focusing on requirements quality from the very beginning really pays dividends.

 Rich Authoring Tool

Features

Measures the Requirements, Models and Artifacts Quality in real-time

RAT provides a quality report (based on the rules and metrics assigned in SQA) in on-the-fly basis, that is, in real-time, and highlighting defects in the very requirement. This reduces the time needed for V&V, peer-review, double checking, or other tasks to assess the quality of assets manually, while still boosting work-products quality.

All these quality recommendations when writing requirements are the ones defined by the quality managers in the System Quality Analyzer (SQA) specifically for each project/document, or reusing a common set of quality metrics.

RAT also warns users of the lack of consistency between the current work-product and others in the same documentation, and even between different types of work items as requirements and models. 

Writing assistance

RAT implements an IntelliSense way of writing – a technique that guides authors while writing – thus providing an accurate way of creating consistent requirements and speeding up system documentation writing.

Once a specific pattern has been selected, RAT shows relevant information about this pattern such as a description, instructions on usage, examples of other requirements following the same pattern and others.

Furthermore, RAT follows the different relevant items represented in the pattern, showing suitable content from the dictionaries and offering those terms to the author, thus providing an easy way to use consistent wording. RAT also shows other requirements based on the selected pattern, and the analytic content of those requirements, thus providing very valuable information for a preliminary completeness analysis.

Structure and Grammar of the Artifacts (Patterns)

Knowledge architects can define a set of agreed-upon patterns to ensure Correctness, Completeness and Consistency between all the system work-products. Therefore, the project’s quality managers must agree on the patterns that can be used at different levels of application to the system. Both positions should check the agreed patterns´ usage, thus identifying missing requirements or missing patterns.

Patterns Customization

RAT can use a customizable set of patterns, where those patterns can be easily tailored and managed using the System Knowledge Manager (SKM) tool of the suite. Once a new pattern is generated and transferred to the production environment, RAT detects it and the author can use it immediately.

RAT users can benefit from an easy-to-use mechanism to suggest new patterns or suggest changes to the existing ones, notifying them to the knowledge architects who will apply or deny the suggested changes in SKM.

Rich Authoring Tool

Requirements elicitation

RAT allows Automatic identification of requirements in unstructured sources of information such as Word or PDF documents, using a selection of patterns that automatically identify requirements statements based on the sentences with any of the selected patterns.

Interoperability among different environments

RAT provides capabilities to connect, retrieve and save requirements across different Requirements Management Systems (including ReqIF format), overcoming the issues to import/export requirements from different sources. RAT can also connect any requirements document in XML or Excel formats, no matter the schema they follow. To interoperate between heterogeneous sources of information, e.g. requirements and models, the System Interoperability Manager (SIM) lets you share every type of information with no limits on the format!

Naming consistency across the different work items in your projects

Having a centralized domain dictionary managed in SMK allows RAT to help in the proper naming of model elements (blocks, states…). This feature has been implemented in modelling tools, both logical and physical modelling.

RAT built in your assets development environments

RAT is able to connect to more than 25 of the most common tools to develop systems specifications and system documentation in general. And many more are yet to come! Even RAT users can develop their own new connectors to different tools with our APIs. Furthermore, RAT is found as an add-on for some well-known tools such as IBM DOORS, PTC Integrity, IBM Rhapsody, MS Office etc.

RAT connectors