The format for exchanging requirements
The Requirements Interchange Format – ReqIF for short – is a format for exchanging requirements. The format was developed as an XML schema to exchange requirements between software solutions from different vendors. For this purpose, requirements are stored in an XML file. The file consists of an XML root element “REQ-IF” in which information about the file itself and the data types and requirements used in the file are stored. To describe the requirements, “specification objects” with definable attributes are used, whereby each attribute has a data type such as Boolean, Integer, Real, String, as well as selection types with defined values or XHTML texts for displaying formatted texts and embedding graphics. Numeric data types can be restricted in their value range according to the project, and relations can also have attributes. The exchange of requirements between the tools of the different manufacturers takes place by importing and exporting the XML file. A Gobally Unique Identifier (GUID) is used to uniquely identify a requirement. This remains unchanged throughout the entire process chain, regardless of changes to the content.
ReqIF has its origin in the automotive industry. The HIS Association, representing the German automotive industry, defined the RIF standard for the exchange of requirements in 2004. To avoid confusion with the Rule Interchange Format – a W3C standard – ReqIF was introduced as a short form in 2010.
Advantages of ReqIF
ReqIF offers two main advantages:
- The loss-free exchange of requirements between companies using different tools is made possible. This significantly improves collaboration between clients and contractors or suppliers, especially as each company can continue to use its existing tools if it has a ReqIF interface.
- The standard as such is freely visible, well documented, established and supported by numerous tools.
Currently version 1.2 is up to date. The ReqIF documentation is available online at https://www.omg.org/spec/ReqIF/About-ReqIF/ .
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