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[protege-discussion] Using Protege as a Software Requirements Database Tool

Ron Schultz ron.schultz at
Mon Jun 2 20:59:04 PDT 2008


I have Protege discussion queries going back over 3 years asking about
requirements models. If there is a requirements ontology available, I have
yet to see one. Any references or pointers would be greatly appreciated. My
last correspondence was with Ray Fergerson, back in March, 2005.

Thanks Tania.

 Schultz, Ron wrote:
> I was wondering if anyone has pointers or references to a Software
Requirements Model, a Software
Components Model, or a Software Testing Model, using Protégé.
> Ron Schultz

From: Ray Fergerson <fergerson <at> SMI.Stanford.EDU>
Subject: Re: Any Software Requirements Models, or Software Component Models,
or Software Testing Models available?
Newsgroups: gmane.comp.misc.ontology.protege.general
Date: 2005-03-04 18:04:23 GMT (3 years, 12 weeks, 6 days, 15 hours and 51
minutes ago)

You might have a look here:
I ran across this page by accident one day looking for something else. I
don't really know much about it but it appears relevant.

On Mon, Jun 2, 2008 at 9:56 PM, Tania Tudorache <tudorache at>

> Hi Tomas,
> Tomas Potok wrote:
> > Hello!
> >
> > Your post made me excited a bit, because currently I am pursuing the same
> goal,
> > I'd like to move to Protege as a Knowledge base for storing requirements.
> My
> > main motivation would be the extensive possibilities of classifying,
> searching
> > and cross-referencing the reqs (+ multiple users at once).
> >
> > I tried to set up Protege Frames in Collaborative mode (client+server)
> with a
> > MySQL database as a storage backend, but the solution is a bit
> restrictive at the
> > moment.
> >
> > Downsides:
> > - I struggle with the immaturity of the system (instability, a LOT of
> > uncatched exceptions - no sign of an error report to the user, slowness,
> ...)
> >
> I wonder if this was not more a configuration issue. If you got a lot of
> exceptions it might indicate that something was not set up correctly.
> We know of several projects that are using successfully protege in
> client-server mode, also with large ontologies, both in OWL and in Frames.
> The slowness is also something that should not be the case. What version
> of Protege did you try? How large was the ontology?
> It is true, that we have optimized the client-server architecture for
> browsing and editing classes, and not so much for instances/individuals.
> If you have thousands of individuals, probably the IndividualsTab was
> slow (in OWL), but there are ways around it.
> If you still reproduce the exceptions that you got previously, please do
> post them, so that we can fix the issues.
> > - no possibility to edit Forms in Collaborative mode (but this can be
> > lived with in my case)
> >
> Indeed. However, it is still possible to configure the forms on the
> server and all the clients would see them the next time they would log
> in. We are looking into ways of allowing clients to configure the forms.
> > - I managed to damage my database with a simple drag&drop operation with
> NO
> > possibility to Undo.
> >
> How did you damage the database? Did you get any exceptions? If you did,
> please do send them to us, so that we can fix them.
> Undo is explicitly disabled in client-server mode, because a user may
> undo with knowing operations that have been performed by other users in
> between.
> > - Very simplistic Access Control.
> > - Cumbersome Forms editor - no graphical group operations, e.g.
> >
> Actually, if you edit the Project instances in the metaproject, the
> forms should be quite intuitive. We plan to make a more specialized UI
> for  editing of access information, but this was not a priority yet. I
> don't think this is a big limitation.
> > - Cumbersome installation (need to modify batch files, no script for
> server
> > shutdown, ...)
> >
> I do not totally agree with that. To start the server you just start the
> "" (or .bat). There is also a shut down script in
> the Protege installation directory, called ""
> (or .bat). We also have a lot of documentation about how to set up the
> server to work with firewalls, and other configurations on the wiki
> (
> ).
> And if there are any questions, please do post them on this mailing
> list. We are doing our best to answer all questions in reasonable time.
> > What I still have not explored is the possibility of advanced reporting -
> > generating requirement documents (you seem to have some expertise here
> > already?).
> >
> > What I also fear is the relative hardness of querying the db:
> > - Queries tab can only do AND-ed or OR-ed conditions (probably there
> exists a
> > possibility to script stuff...?)
> >
> Yes, you can use the ScriptsTab and query any information in the
> knowledge base. If you are using OWL, then you can use  SWRL queries and
> SPARQL queries.
> > - No possibility to further process the results (like visualizing them
> using
> > OntoWiz, e.g.) - the only option is to export to CSV and postprocess.
> >
> That is an interesting idea. I think this can be easily implemented. If
> anyone is interested, I can point them to the parts of code that need to
> be changed.
> > I fear I'll have to abandon my efforts in this direction which I'm really
> sad
> > about, because at first it seemed to me I found a perfect tool for the
> job.
> > What I'm persuaded about is the suitability of Ontologies for
> storing/working
> > with Software Requirements. But I've found no usable tool yet.
> >
> Sorry to hear about your disappointment. I have the impression that
> several of the issues that you encountered were more configuration
> problems. If you want to give them one more try with the new version of
> Protege, I am happy to help.
> Related to the requirements modeling: There must be requirements
> ontology already available on the web that you can reuse. In my previous
> life, I have developed a requirements ontology for product development
> (not specifically software). It deals with requirements decompositions,
> derivation, attachment to different components, test cases, etc. However
> it was in frames, not OWL. I am sure there must be software requirements
> ontologies already available on the web.
> Protege with its form mechanism it is actually very good at acquiring
> instances. It will generate automatically a form based on the slots
> attached to the class. You can also customize the appearance of the
> forms, and also the widgets to be used for acquiring the values of a
> property.
> It is also possible to export the data form the ontology in any form you
> want, by either writing an export plugin, or by using the script tab and
> a familiar scripting language.
> Cheers,
> Tania
> > I'd be happy to hear about your results,
> >
> > Cheers,
> >
> > Tomas
> >
> > On Sat, 31 May 2008, Ron Schultz wrote:
> >
> >
> >> I was wondering if anyone has pointers or references to a Software
> >> Requirements Model using Protege. I am exploring Protege as a means to
> >> document, manage, and evaluate the imact of changes, to a software
> >> requirements database (between 2500 and 5000 individual requirement
> >> instances). I have built a simple ontology and can export the
> requirements
> >> document using DocGen, but I am going to need to finer grain control
> over the
> >> output formatting and namespace management. Protege 3.4 seems to have
> features
> >> I can utilize for better namespace control, but I wanted to verify that
> >> someone else has not already gone down this path before - with either
> success
> >> or failure.
> >>
> >> Lessons learned before the fact tend to be valuable, lessons learned
> after the
> >> fact tend to be brutal.
> >>
> >> Thanks
> >>
> >> Ron Schultz
> >>
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Ron Schultz
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