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The box structure methodology for information systems development is based on a usage hierarchy of data abstractions, in which each abstraction is defined in three distinct forms, called its black box, its state machine, and its clear box. Each of these three box structures defines identical external behavior, but with increasing internal visibility, to provide a hierarchical structure which supports the systems development principles of referential transparency, transaction closure, state migration, and common services. This hierarchy of box structures provides, in turn, a basis for orderly management of information systems development by a finite set of analysis and design tasks in a spiral development process. The methodology and its use are described.
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