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EiffelStudio is the central tool of ISE Eiffel, letting you design, develop, debug, document, measure, maintain, revise and expand systems using the full power of object technology and Design by Contract TM .

This presentation introduces the essential properties of EiffelStudio. It will take you through a tour of the environment, using a pre-existing example system.

What will I achieve?

Although it skips many specific or advanced facilities, this Tour will help you quickly become familiar with the way you can use the environment for your work. After reading it you will know the basics of working with EiffelStudio:

About the scope of EiffelStudio

The most important property to keep in mind as you are discovering EiffelStudio is that it is neither just a "programming environment" nor just a "CASE tool" (Computer-Aided Software Engineering) for analysis and design. It encompasses both of these functions and many others. Most system builders today are used to a dichotomy between the high end and the low end:

Keeping these tools separate is, however, detrimental to the quality of the software process and the resulting products. If they are in the hands of different teams, communication problems may arise, leading to discrepancies between need and realization; this can be a source of bugs or even project failure. If it's the same people using tools of both kinds, they have to keep switching notations, tools and modes of thinking. The use of different frameworks at both ends makes it difficult to keep the high-level model and the implementation consistent; too often, a change decided at the implementation level is not reflected back in the higher model. After a while, the system gets into the state of disorder and inconsistency that good tools are precisely meant to avoid.

EiffelStudio, in line with the principles of seamless development and reversibility of the Eiffel method, removes the gap by providing a single set of tools that accompany you throughout a project, from the most high-level initial stages to the most low-level aspects of implementation and maintenance.

This generality is reflected throughout the environment by, for example, the dual use of text and graphics. As another example, you should think of the EiffelStudio compiler , not just as a tool for executing Eiffel software in its final form, but also, thanks to its extensive validity checking facilities, as a design consistency tool that performs many verifications commonly associated with CASE tools.

Depending on your project needs, you may take advantage of EiffelStudio's versatility to address specific purposes:

Learning by doing

If you have access to EiffelStudio as you read this Tour, the most effective technique is to execute all the suggested operations as you read about them.

Please execute user actions, such as clicking, only when asked to do so.

What should I already know?

This Tour assumes very little about what you know and what you don't.

It does assume that you can do simple manipulations on your platform of choice, such as: on Windows, finding and drag-and-dropping folders and files in the Windows Explorer; on Unix, changing to a certain directory ( cd ) and listing the files of a directory ( ls ).

The more you already know about object technology and object-oriented environments, the better. But remember, if you have used other environments before, keep a fresh outlook; EiffelStudio is different, and it may take a while before you fully understand why it does some things in a certain way.

A note on platform differences

ISE Eiffel is one of the most portable environments in the industry, running in an almost identical fashion on Windows, on the new Microsoft .NET environment, on many variants of Unix, on Linux, on VMS.

Once an EiffelStudio session has been started, you can largely forget about the operating system. But a few operations -- mostly at the beginning, to launch EiffelStudio -- require platform-dependent mechanisms: starting a program, traversing the file structure, selecting a file. These cases will be marked accordingly below.

Windows users should particularly note the following two conventions of terminology:

VMS users may similarly use either the Unix convention or the specific VMS path naming convention.

If you are a one-platform person, just ignore, for the next few pages, all references to any platform other than your heart's favorite. They will quickly go away.

What should I have done first?

To run the example you must have installed ISE Eiffel and set up the environment. Check in particular the following:

Locating the example

Please take a moment to locate the example files on your installation. They all appear in the following directory, part of the Eiffel delivery:

(Windows users: remember that instead of the slash / your platform uses a backslash \ . VMS users: this is to be replaced by the VMS path naming conventions.)

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