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The PDL/81 Processor

The PDL/81 processor completely removes the burden of presenting PDL designs in documents which have a consistent form and high standard.

PDL/81 can be used at any time during a project to print a fully-legible, cross-referenced design document. The layout encourages fast understanding by the reader, while the deliberately economical use of visual enhancements prevents the impact of a page detracting from its content.

It doesn't matter if a design is incomplete: PDL/81 will always produce a complete design document in which the unfinished parts will be obvious. Even an early design sketch can be documented with PDL/81.

At its simplest level, PDL/81 automatically does such things as:

  • printing each flow segment on a separate page;
  • highlighting keywords;
  • indenting statements to correspond to nesting levels;
  • detecting and cross-referencing calls from one flow segment to another; and
  • detecting and cross-referencing the use of data items.
Each of these functions is illustrated in Example 2.

Beyond these functions, the power and flexibility of PDL/81 is considerable — virtually every aspect of the design document can be changed. For example:

  • keywords can be added, perhaps to match the implementation language;
  • visual enhancements can be changed;
  • specialized indexes can be created;
  • a great deal of useful information about a design can be accumulated and reported by PDL/81 by using facilities such as Complexity Analysis, Consistency Checking, and Automatic Requirements Tracking.
In practice, it is common for a design team to create its own house-style for design documents by using the Format Design Language component of PDL/81.

A full list of the capabilities of PDL/81 is presented in the next section.

Conventional Documents

In addition to software designs, PDL/81 is a complete text processor for conventional documents such as manuals, reports, letters, and memos. In fact, all the documents associated with software development can be produced using the same tool.

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