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CRISTAL: A practical study in designing systems to cope with change

Branson, Andrew; McClatchey, Richard; Goff, Jean-Marie Le; Shamdasani, Jetendr

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Andrew Branson

Jean-Marie Le Goff

Jetendr Shamdasani


Software engineers frequently face the challenge of developing systems whose requirements are likely to change in order to adapt to organizational reconfigurations or other external pressures. Evolving requirements present difficulties, especially in environments in which business agility demands shorter development times and responsive prototyping. This paper uses a study from CERN in Geneva to address these research questions by employing a 'description-driven' approach that is responsive to changes in user requirements and that facilitates dynamic system reconfiguration. The study describes how handling descriptions of objects in practice alongside their instances (making the objects self-describing) can mediate the effects of evolving user requirements on system development. This paper reports on and draws lessons from the practical use of a description-driven system over time. It also identifies lessons that can be learned from adopting such a self-describing description-driven approach in future software development. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Branson, A., McClatchey, R., Goff, J. L., & Shamdasani, J. (2014). CRISTAL: A practical study in designing systems to cope with change. Information Systems, 42, 139-152.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jun 1, 2014
Publicly Available Date Jun 6, 2019
Journal Information Systems
Print ISSN 0306-4379
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 42
Pages 139-152
Keywords description-driven, self-description, model evolution, model execution, application reconfiguration
Public URL
Publisher URL
Related Public URLs
Additional Information Additional Information : Imported from arXiv


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