The Heuristic Requirements Assistant (HeRA) is the primary research demonstration tool that illustrates the concepts of our groups requirements engineering research. HeRA has an extension mechanism that allows to rapidly evaluate new techniques. Extensions can be classified as follows:

  • Construction Components: Allow to create requirements artifacts. Examples are the UseCaseExtension, RequirementsExtension?, and GlossaryExtension?.
  • Argumentation Components: Analyze the requirements artifacts and give heuristic feedback: the CritiqueExtension? evaluates if the requirements documentation adheres to best practices and wording rules. The GlossaryExtension? gives hints on technical terms that should be defined in a glossary. The SecReqExtension? helps to identify and refine security relevant requirements in a specification.
  • Inference Components: These type of components derive different kinds of models from requirements. This allows requirements engineers to take a new perspective and find inconsistencies in the requirements. Examples for this type of extensions are UMLUseCaseExtension, EPCExtension, and EffortEstimationExtension?.

We have already used HeRA in many projects. We invite you to evaluate it. Keep in mind that this is a research prototype. We are currently approaching a stable beta release, but still lack the stability of commercial software.

Contact & Accounts

We really appreciate feedback! We are always interested to evaluate HeRA's concepts in an industrial setting, so feel free to contact us with feature requests, questions, or suggestions!

You can request svn and trac accounts via email here:


October 2010

  • After one year of bug-fixing we finally put together a new release (Version 0.7). There is still some work to do (e.g. licensing), so the download remains password protected. Of course, Beta-Tester for our Use Case Editor are welcome. Please contact Eric Knauss for the password!

January 2010

November 2009

  • In order to increase overall quality of HeRA, we plan to increase the process of resolving tickets. The FinishTicketChecklist requires contributers to increase the version of the extension, use static code analysis, and collect some basic metrics for the extension.

October 2009

  • 13. October 2009: Todays workshop was the kick-off to a new phase of HeRA's development. The HeRA core-team now consists of four people. We decided to focus even more on creating a stable version based on (a subset of) the existing functionality. Furthermore, we plan to organize this Project? more strictly.

Find older updates and anouncements in the OldNews section.


Latest Release

Find the latest release here.


If you need access to an even more current version, or if you even want to contribute, try our subversion at - note that we do not allow anonymous access.


Tool Demonstration

Demonstration Video

We have a [ demonstration video of HeRA]'s core functionality online. There is still no sound, but we are working on it.

User Documentation

We started to collect UserDocumentation here. Please maintain the documentation on this page for any extension you work on (or with).

In addition, we startet a short PresentationScript. This should help to quickly demonstrate the main ideas of HeRA. Please maintain this section for your extension as well!

Technical Documentation

Some important information for developers. Please contribute! Even empty pages and requests for certain pieces of information are highly appreciated!


Here are publications that deal with HeRA.


  1. Eric Knauss, Einsatz computergestützter Kritiken für Anforderungen GI Softwaretechnik-Trends, 2007, 27 (german)
  2. Eric Knauss und Thomas Flohr Managing Requirement Engineering Processes by Adapted Quality Gateways and critique-based RE-Tools Proceedings of Workshop on Measuring Requirements for Project and Product Success, 2007
  3. Julia Pilarski und Eric Knauss Transformationen zwischen UML-Use-Case-Diagrammen und tabellarischen Darstellungen Proceedings des Workshop Domänenspezifische Modellierungssprachen im Rahmen der GI Modellierung, 2008 (german)
  4. Eric Knauss und Daniel Lübke Using the Friction between Business Processes and Use Cases in SOA Requirements Proceedings of REFS'08, 2008
  5. Knauss, E.; Meyer, S. & Schneider, K. Recommending Terms for Glossaries: A Computer-Based Approach Proceedings of Workshop on Managing Requirements Knowledge at 16th IEEE RE Conference, 2008
  6. Knauss, E.; Lübke, D. & Meyer, S. Feedback-Driven Requirements Engineering: The Heuristic Requirements Assistant ICSE'09, Formal Research Demonstrations Track, 2009, 587 - 590
  7. Knauss, E.; Schneider, K. & Stapel, K. Learning to Write Better Requirements through Heuristic Critiques Proceedings of 17th IEEE Requirementes Engineering Conference (RE 2009), 2009
  8. Knauss, E. Verbesserung der Dokumentation von Anforderungen auf Basis von Erfahrungen und Heuristiken?, Dissertation, Cuvillier Verlag, 2010
  9. Knauss, E.; Houmb, S.; Schneider, K.; Islam, S. & Jürjens Supporting Requirements Engineers in Recognising Security Issues? Proceedings of the 17th International Working Conference on Requirements Engineering: Foundation for Software Quality (REFSQ '11), Springer, 2011
  10. Knauss E. and Schneider K. Supporting Learning Organisations in Writing Better Requirements Documents Based on Heuristic Critiques. In Bjoern Regnell and Daniela Damian, editors, Proceedings of Requirements Engineering: Foundation for Software Quality (REFSQ’12), LNCS 7195, pages 165–171, Essen, 2012. Springer Heidelberg.

Students' Thesis

As we are a german university, most (if not all) of these thesis' are in german.

  1. literatur:hecke2011: Co-Evolution of use cases and domain model
  2. literatur:fluegge2010: Giving HeRA an UserModel
  3. literatur:hecke2009: Investigate semantics of glossary terms to assess the correctness of their usage
  4. literatur:petrus2009: Heuristic support for identification and refinement of security requirements
  5. literatur:meyer2007: Glossary extension
  6. literatur:pilarski2007: Use the UML use case diagram to change use cases
  7. literatur:brill2007: Connect HeRA to a requirements specification in the SE-Wiki
  8. literatur:keil2007: write quality models in HeRA
  9. literatur:kitzmann2007: new critique system based on javascript
  10. literatur:rumann2007: maintain a centralized experience base and synchronize it with HeRA
  11. literatur:diegel2007: Foundations of synchronizing EPC and UseCase
  12. literatur:crisp2006: The initial master thesis' by Christian Crisp


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