Introduction to the Book

The book

Figure 1: Reader's perspective
The Integrated Method (TIMe) , presented in this book, is a model oriented approach to domain analysis and system family development based on formal and visual modelling using UML, SDL and MSC.
The methodology is presented in a number of themes that together cover the different parts of the methodology.
Readers in many different work situations may benefit from the book. It may be used as a textbook for the newcomer, as well as a reference book for the seasoned practitioner. It may also be used as a template for system and product documentation.
To serve different categories of readers and work situations, the book is available on three different kinds of media:
  • A hypertext, FrameMaker based electronic medium which allows the reader to navigate and access the complete contents in different ways.
  • An abridged HTML based version, where selected themes are converted from their FrameMaker origin.
  • A printable version that can be used like any other printed book. The user may print specially prepared printable versions of any theme, or the whole book, from the FrameMaker electronic book (printing from FrameMaker) or from the HTML version (printing in Acrobat format, which is available from the "Top" table of contents frame. FrameMaker, the inexpensive FrameViewer and the free Acrobate Reader are all available from Adobe.

  • The standard functionality of FrameMaker/FrameReader or the HTML browser together with built-in features in the TIMe ELB and TIME HTML make it easy to move between the different parts of the book. In addition there are hypertext links in the text, and, in the Frame version, in figures and in special icons.
    The reader may navigate in a number of ways in a number of ways as described in the Reader's guide to TIMe HTML (HTML version of TIMe ELB).

    Readers

    There are many different categories of readers, and there are many different situations in which a reader will use the book. Some readers are unfamiliar with the methodology, and would like to read parts to get a high level impression of what it is all about.
    Other readers may want to study it deeper in order to learn how to use it on their own project.
    Then there are readers that know the methodology at large, but need to look up some finer details during their day to day work. This may for instance be the exact syntax of a language construct, or a particular guide-line for some task.
    Still other readers would like to look at examples to get ideas for their own work, perhaps even use them as templates for descriptions and system documentation they are developing.
    Our aim is that all categories of readers will find support in this book.

    Reader's guide to TIMe HTML (HTML version of TIMe ELB)

    The original TIMe documentation (TIMe ELB) is a hypertext linked electronic book based on FrameMaker. The webified subset of the original TIMe ELB is designed for on-line reading with a web browser. In the following we present the functionality of the on-line version, as the reader may benefit from a knowledge of the possibilities offered.
    The layout of TIMe HTML  is based on frames in HTML, which must be supported by the web browser used. On all levels of TIMe HTML you will find the same two frames: The Table Of Contents (TOC) frame to the left and the main frame displaying the actual contents to the right.
    The TOC frame is divided into two sections. The upper part is standardised throughout the web site. It provides some general navigation tools. The "Top" icon  will always take you back to the TIMe HTML home page. There is a pulldown-menu providing entry points to all the themes (chapters) of the electronic book. The lower part of the TOC frame is context sensitive. It contains an ordinary table of contents list that changes according to what theme is selected in the main frame.
    The main entry point to the HTML version is the TIMe HTML home page "StartHere.htm". In the main frame on this level you will find general information about TIMe. There's also a table showing how the HTML version is structured. Just like the pull-down menu of the TOC frame, this table contains hypertext links to all the themes of the HTML version.
    The original FrameMaker TIMe ELB depends on hypertext links as the means of navigation within the electronic book. The same goes for the HTML version, as it is merely based on a HTML conversion of the original FrameMaker source. The main difference is that in the original version the navigation tools (backwards and forward arrows, menus etc.) are incorporated into the FrameMaker documents, while in the HTML version this functionality is provided by the browser. Readers who are familiar with web browsers should find their way easily through TIMe HTML.
    Due to the conversion system, TIMe HTML contains some links that don't work. Mostly they refer to chapters that aren't converted. The web server can be instructed to return a special error message whenever a stray link is encountered; ask your web master for assistance. In TIMe ELB, a considerable numbers of links are found in the figures themselves. These hyperlinks, unfortunately, are not well supported by the conversion tools from FrameMaker to HTML, and thus do not all function in TIMe HTML. The same goes to pop-up menus in FrameMaker figures, which are used with great affect in the SDL tutorial in TIMe ELB. This functionality is lost in the conversion to TIMe HTML.
    As mentioned above, the TIMe HTML version is only a subset of the original FrameMaker electronic book TIMe ELB. However, new chapters will be converted, and our goal is that eventually TIMe HTML will be as complete as the FrameMaker version. With improved HTML conversion tools and web browser support, full functionality in TIMe HTML is hoped for in the future.

    Hypertext links

    In general, all words that are marked underlined and are in red or blue (grey on monochrome screens) are hypertext links. Clicking on these links will move to whatever text or figure the link points to. Links in the figures themselves do not have any effect in TIMe HTML.
    In TIMe ELB (the FrameMaker version), activating a blue link will automatically create a new window, while activating a red link will change the contents of the current window. Unfortunately, this kind of blue/red functionality didn't survive the HTML conversion.
    Normally the reader shouldn't need to think about the file structure of an electronic book. However, the structure influences the reader's possibilities for navigation in the book. Therefore it might be helpful to know that the book is split into different document types (themes, figures, and definitions, plus additional derivatives such as print files and tables of contents). There is a separate file for each definition and for each figure, and some of the larger themes are split into several files to reduce loading times.
    In web browsers the user can open links in separate document windows e.g. by placing the pointer just above any link, pressing down the right mouse button and selecting "Open in New Window" from the appearing menu. How this is actually done may vary between web browsers.