Creating a Glossary

A glossary is used to capture the vocabulary of the problem domain. Once created, the glossary is automatically linked to the requirements. Using the glossary it is easily visible whether the agreed vocabulary is used in all descriptions.

To create a new glossary, select Glossary in the context menu of a requirements analysis.

You can create multiple glossary nodes with specific names (set in the properties view) to group your glossary terms.

Creating Glossary Entries

In the context menu of the glossary node you can then create glossary entries by clicking Entry.

An alternative way to create a new glossary entry is to select a word in glossary entry, requirement source element or requirement editor, right-click on it and choose Create glossary entry. If no glossary exists yet, a new one is created; if multiple glossaries exist, you are asked where the entry should be created.

If no word is selected in the editor while choosing Create glossary entry, an appropriate word will be automatically chosen according to the actual context. The chosen word is displayed in a confirmation dialog. Click the button OK to create a new glossary entry with this word. If there is no appropriate word, an error dialog will appear.

Confirm dialog

Error dialog

Glossary Overview

By double-clicking on the Glossary node, an overview over all glossary entries opens.

The list of glossary entries can be sorted by clicking on the column headers of the overview list. You can filter the glossary entries by inserting filter text in the filter section. Double-clicking on a column opens the corresponding glossary entry.

Specifying Glossary Entries

For each entry you should at least specify the name (the vocabulary term it represents). In the definition field you should enter what this term means in your problem domain. An entry also has a status field (Options: New, In consolidation, Consolidated) which can be used to consolidate it with others. Furthermore you can specify abbreviations and synonyms for the entry and add a comment. In names, abbreviations and synonyms only the special characters "-_/’()" are allowed.

For further description of the entry you can add pictures. To add a picture click on the Add button and choose an image file in the dialog. You can add as many pictures as you want. Each image has a description field which can be used to give information about the picture and to number the pictures. If you click on an added picture, it should be displayed in full resolution in your systems picture viewer.
When you add a picture it is copied into the Images folder in the project directory, next to your .af3_20 file. If you want to send the model file to someone else, you should also send the Images folder.

Consolidating Glossary Entries

The status field supports the consolidation of glossary entries (and requirement sources). We assume that there are two groups of persons involved in the consolidation process. The first group of people documents the glossary entries; we call these persons the requirements engineers. The second group of people has to agree on the terms in the glossary; we call these persons now the decision makers. These groups can of course overlap or even be identically. Typically, these two groups are defined when a project starts. Typical members of decision makers are for example the client or the product manager.

Every requirement engineer can document new glossary terms and add definitions, abbreviations and so on. The status for new terms is new. When a requirements engineer decides that the new term is sufficiently described, he can set the status to in consolidation. For a terms that is in consolidation, the decision makers have to agree on that term, its definition and so on. When all decision makers agree, then the status of this term can be set to consolidated. If a term is consolidated and a decision maker thinks that this term is not defined correctly, then he/she can set the status back to new which triggers a new round of consolidation.

The status field can be filtered in the Glossary Overview in order to determine the list of terms that are new, in consolidation or consolidated.

Connection between Glossaries, Requirement Source Elements and Requirements

After you specified your glossary entries, they will be highlighted when you use the terms in the glossary entries, requirement source elements and requirements specifications. Blue color is used to mark a name or an abbreviation of a glossary term as well as requirement sources. Red is used to mark a synonym.

The highlighting function features correct recognition of multiple word terms that are split by blanks or special characters. Also terms surrounded by special characters like brackets or slashes are correctly highlighted. An additional feature is the maintained highlighting with terms followed by plural "s" or "es" endings.

Furthermore matching glossary entries and requirement source element will be presented to you when you start typing a name and pause for a second. If you choose one of the suggestions, the rest of the name will be inserted automatically.

When you hold the mouse cursor for a second on a highlighted term, a pop-up will show additional information. In the pop-up you can see the definition of the glossary entry/requirement source element and whether the marked occurrence is an abbreviation or a synonym of this entry/element. If the entry contains images, the first image is shown in the pop-up window as well. When you click on the name in the pop-up, the editor for this glossary entry/requirement source element will be opened.

If there are two or more requirement source elements and/or glossary entries with the same name, Stakeholder has the highest priority, and then Document, then External system, and at last Glossary Entry. Name with higher priority is in the front of pop-up and the highlight color is the color of the name/term with highest priority.

The glossaries always belong to one Requirements Analysis node. The glossary entries of one Requirements Analysis node will not be highlighted in another Requirements Analysis node.

Glossary Occurrences

By double-clicking onto a Glossary Entry, an overview over all glossary entry occurrences page is opened as a second window.

In the usage statistics section, the number of exact occurrences of the glossary term in Documents, Requirements or another Glossary Entries is given, as well as in Arrays, Enumerations and Structures which are found in the data dictionaries. The Filter option helps to filter the list of occurrences. Each element of the list can be opened by double-clicking the entry in the Overview section.

Additionally, the search can be extended to similar words via the Similarity slider. Similar terms are then included in the overview list. The similarity is calculated based on the Levenshtein Distance. Every step of the slider increases the search distance by 1, thereby allowing more words with bigger differences in the overview list. The similarity search respects plural endings and special chars to a certain extent. Words shorter than 4 letters, for example abbreviations, are excluded from the similarity search, as this would lead to bulk lists containing nonsense.