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NALABS: Detecting Bad Smells in Natural Language Requirements and Test Specifications



Kostadin Rajkovic , Eduard Paul Enoiu

Publication Type:

Report - MRTC


Mälardalen Real-Time Research Centre, Mälardalen University




In large-scale embedded system development, requirement and test specifications are often expressed in natural language are playing an important role in software quality. In the context of developing such products, requirement review is performed in many cases manually using these specifications as a basis for quality assurance. Low-quality specifications can have expensive consequences during the requirement engineering process. Especially, if feedback loops during requirement engineering are long, leading to artifacts that are not easily maintainable, are hard to understand, and are inefficient to port to other system variants. We use the idea of smells to specifications expressed in natural language, defining a set of specifications for bad smells. We developed a tool called NALABS (NAtural LAnguage Bad Smells), available on and used for automatically checking specifications. We discuss some of the decisions made for its implementation, and future work.


author = {Kostadin Rajkovic and Eduard Paul Enoiu},
title = {NALABS: Detecting Bad Smells in Natural Language Requirements and Test Specifications},
month = {February},
year = {2022},
publisher = {M{\"a}lardalen Real-Time Research Centre, M{\"a}lardalen University},
url = {}