StateWORKS Newsletter 2/06


  1. Welcome
  2. State machine definitions
  3. The new version of StateWORKS Studio
  4. The book "Modelling Software with Finite State Machines: A practical approach"

1. Welcome

We have written several papers about finite state machines, the VFSM method and StateWORKS. Some years ago I wrote also a book - a kind of introduction to VFSM. Recently, we have written a new book "Modelling Software with Finite State Machines: A practical approach" which contains the results of our work. It is a book not only about StateWORKS. It covers the basic knowledge about finite state machines as they should be applied to software development. See section 4, below.

Purchasers of the book may obtain a free, unlimited-time license for StateWORKS Studio LE, the new version of which (with a time limit) can be already downloaded from our web-site. This permits the study of projects, as outlined in the book, of complex systems of state machines, but is limited to the design of single state machines.

I am glad to announce the book to you. I am sure that its publishing will make appreciation of the VFSM idea and its implementation StateWORKS much easier. I hope also that the book will be of great help in spreading the useful concept of a finite state machine to persons who are looking for a better organized way of developing software: not just where a state machine is already an obvious requirement but for much more general application in controlling the behaviour of complex software.

F. Wagner

2. State machine definitions

We observe an interesting phenomenon when considering questions we have received on our web-site. It seems that there is great confusion in understanding and using the concept of a finite state machine. Many questions are related to very basic definitions. In the past we have tried to explain some topics like for instance the differences between the Moore and Mealy model (see the technical note "Moore or Mealy Model") which seems to be the favourite question of many visitors to our web site. Today we issue another technical note which handles the very basic question: definition of a finite state machine. The technical note "What's All This State Machine Stuff" is based on a chapter of the book "Modelling Software with Finite State Machines: A practical approach" and contains finite state machine definitions and presentations.

3. The new version of StateWORKS Studio

You find a new version of StateWORKS Studio LE on our web site. The version 6.1 contains several improvements including, citing the "visible" ones only:

  • SMS diagram: the displayed diagram equals the printed one. The links are given labels which can be optionally positioned and switched off.
  • The names in the Input and Output Names Dictionary can be now automatically generated for all objects defined in the I/O Object Dictionary (button "Create names"). Exceptions are: XDA and CMD objects (numerical value). Unused names can be deleted (button "Delete unused").
    The same is provided in the I/O Object Directory but rather for test purposes. Note that in that case any click on the button "Create names" generates a new set of all object types. So if you are in a hurry you may create several copies of all objects, then Names for all objects and specify a state machine. At a later stage you may remove all unused Names and eventually all unused objects.
  • In Build we test now whether an Alarm Text beginning with % is a name of an object of type DAT or derived and whether a text beginning with the identifier IDS: is in the file resource.h. Missing file resource.h is signalled as warning in the Configuration Error Messages.
  • Several errors and small changes have been made (labels, size of names, size of graphics, corrections in several value and name lists, etc.)

We changed the selling policy for the LE version. You can purchase it only with the book.

4. The book "Modelling Software with Finite State Machines: A practical approach"

Last year we wrote the book "Modelling Software with Finite State Machines: A practical approach" which will be published in May 2006. The book contains 3 parts:

  • Part I: a discussion about software problems
  • Part II: the use and design of state machines used in software development
  • Part III: StateWORKS implementation of the method presented in Part II.

The purchase of the book will entitle the buyer to get the registration key for use of the StateWORKS Studio LE without a time limit.