This page is devoted to Michael Jackson's earlier methods, JSP and JSD.

Jackson Methods Home Page


Updated: 2005-08-05
FAQs - frequently asked questions about JSP and JSD
There is also a page devoted to Jackson's more recent work on the Problem Frames Approach.

A brief history of the Jackson methods

JSP (Jackson Structured Programming) was the first software development method that Michael Jackson developed. It is a program design method, and was described in his book Principles of Program Design. JSP covers the design of individual programs, but not systems.

JSD (Jackson System Development) was the second software development method that Michael Jackson developed. John Cameron was a major contributor to the development of JSD. JSD is a system development method not just for individual programs, but for entire systems. JSD is most readily applicable to information systems, but it can easily be extended to the development of (for example) real-time embedded systems. JSD was described in his book System Development. Jackson has written a short paper called Origins of JSP and JSD: a Personal Recollection

Problem Analysis or the Problem Frames Approach was the third software development method that Michael Jackson developed. It concerns itself with aspects of developing all kinds of software, not just information systems. It was first sketched described in his book Software Requirements and Specifications, and much more fully in the book Problem Frames.

Each of these methods covers a wider scope than the previous one, and builds on ideas that appeared, but were not fully developed, in the previous one. So there was a real evolution... one set of ideas evolved into another.

JSP and JSD were developed in the 1970's and 1980's -- in the Pre-Web-Epoch -- so virtually all of the material describing them is printed on dead trees. Relatively few detailed descriptions of JSP or JSD are available in electronic form on the Web, although you can find several Web sites with overviews. The major works on JSP and JSD are still in print or easily available from Web sites that deal with used books. Most secondary publications are out of print. The literature page has information about literature and publications describing JSP and JSD. The paper "A System Development Method" provides a good overview of JSD. Michael Jackson's home page has links to a number of papers.

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JSD (including JSP)

SSADM and other extensions to JSD

Probably the most widespread use of JSD was in the form of SSADM. SSADM incorporated many features of JSP and JSD, most notably JSD's "entity life history" concept.

SSADM (Structured Systems Analysis and Design Method) is a set of standards for software development. It is owned by the CCTA (Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency) of Britain's Treasury ministry, and (at least in the 1980's and 90's) could reasonably be described as the British governement's standard system development method. SSADM was (and perhaps still is) widely used in the U.K.

SSADM was originally developed in 1981 by LBMS. The last major release of SSADM was version 4 (1990). (See history of SSADM) Over two dozen books on SSADM were published between 1993 and 1995. One of the most interesting of the lot (and one of the few still in print) is Object-Oriented SSADM by Robinson and Berrisford.

Related Methods