Talk:Specification language

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Explicit list of languages[edit]

I disagree to the removal of the explicit list of specification languages made by Allan McInnes. For example, if I want to find the link from the present page to the Common Algebraic Specification Language, I have to click onto the category "Specification languages" and then on the subcategory "Formal specification languages". This is a way of hiding the examples. --Tillmo 17:37, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

No, it's a way of preventing the article from turning into a big list which duplicates information already found in the category pages. If you want to actually use CASL as an example within the text of the article (perhaps describing the difference between algebraic specification languages and other formal specification languages), that's fine. But a big list of languages will come to dominate the article, while duplicating the category information. --Allan McInnes (talk) 22:35, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
A valid argument that rests on a false premise. Not all the languages in the list have associated articles, so they cannot be duplicated in the category pages. Furthermore, not all those languages with articles have an appropriate category on their page, so these are also not duplicated on the category pages. The deleted list is appended for information. Views on how to move forward are awaited. --ARAJ 17:27, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
My view on how to move forward:
  • If a language article doesn't have appropriate categories, then add them.
  • If a language doesn't have an associated article, and the language is notable, then create an article for it.
  • Cover non-notable languages by providing an external link to a site which is more appropriate for listing every specification language (Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information).
Wikipedia articles are generally supposed to be more prose than lists. If you want to create some kind of master list of specification languages, then I'd prefer to see it in a separate article from this one. But I personally don't think such a list is really appropriate for an encyclopedia. --Allan McInnes (talk) 05:25, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
I broadly agree with you. Not being an expert on the subject, I would have difficulty translating thes principles into action, however. Adding categories to existing articles was my initial instinct, but I fell at the first hurdle: the article on Actor Model didn't convince me that it was a Specification Language, let alone enable me to determine whether it was "Formal".
Then perhaps it shouldn't be in the list :-) Seriously though, if you (or anyone) is going to construct a list of "specification languages" then you need to have some means of determining which languages should be on that list. Those same criteria would apply to language article categorization. --Allan McInnes (talk) 05:20, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm less happy about creating new articles as mere stubs with a category. Your point about notability is well made. But is there not a danger we might end up with an article about non-notable specification languages, which strikes me as a rather unsatisfactory outcome, particularly if it turns out to be a simple list? I think I would prefer an outcome where the most significant languages and types of language are referred to in the main article and other notable languages or types are referred to in a "See Also" section. I wonder whether it might be appropriate to include links within this section to non-notable languages as well? Or would it be better to have text-only references? Or a separate section?--ARAJ 14:01, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Non-notable articles can (and probably will) be PRODed or speedy deleted. If a language doesn't seem notable, then don't create an article for it. Someone else will, if the language is notable. As for listing "significant languages" in the main article, where do you draw the line? What constitutes a "significant" language. I've seen this same kind of argument arise in other articles that include lists of "significant" things: everyone has their pet X, which clearly belongs on the "list of significant X's". Pretty soon, the list has grown to completely dominate the article.
The other thing to consider is that, in general, Wikipedia articles should be prose rather than lists. I'd rather see some text that discusses the major categories of specification languages (such as the recent addition of axiomatic vs. model-based languages), and perhaps mentions one or two examples of each kind of language. --Allan McInnes (talk) 05:20, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
I have created a page for ADL with the appropriate category. I am dubious as to the notability of "Formal Object-Role Modeling Language" given how little a Google search returns for it. Likewise Planguage returns limited results - though definitely more. It appears to be more of an engineering and systems specifiation language so is out of my field of expertise. Someone else can create an article for that id they can gather enough information to write something sensible. -- Leland McInnes 20:37, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Yes, Tom Gilb seems to be ploughing a lonely furrow with Planguage. He describes it in Competitive Engineering as "a specification language and a corresponding set of process descriptions...used to specify requirements, designs and project plans" (p 9). It is a structure for specifying systems of all kinds, including, but not limited to, computer systems. A Google Scholar search on "gilb competitive Engineering -author:gilb" yielded 344 results (20070201), so it is arguably "notable". Perhaps it's worth an article redirecting to the book...--ARAJ 02:17, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
By the criteria that Planguage is "notable enough that I've heard of it before", I guess it counts as notable :-) OTOH I've never heard of anyone actually using Planguage. Not to say it hasn't happened, just that I'm not aware of it. In contrast, I know of (and can provide references to published articles about) people actively using languages like Z and CSP (in industry as well as academia). --Allan McInnes (talk) 05:20, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

UML as an example[edit]

The Unified Modeling Language has been added as a non-specific example; while this is certainly a prominent language, it is not acceptable to introduce it without any further qualification (otherwise, one could equally good list all the other languages as examples). --Tillmo 22:11, 30 November 2007 (UTC)