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About UML Structural Diagrams Behavioral Diagrams Interaction Diagrams Hot Tips and more...

Getting Started with
Hot Tip
Dependency “...uses a…”


By James Sugrue
The Unified Modeling Language is a set of rules and notations for the specification of a software system, managed and created by the Object Management Group. The notation provides a set of graphical elements to model the parts of the system. This Refcard outlines the key elements of UML to provide you with a useful desktop reference when designing software.

Interfaces Interface names and operations are usually represented in italics.

A weak, usually transient, relationship that illustrates that a class uses another class at some point.

Hot Tip

UML Tools There are a number of UML tools available, both commercial and open source, to help you document your designs. Standalone tools, plug-ins and UML editors are available for most IDEs.

Figure 2: ClassA has dependency on ClassB Association “…has a...” Stronger than dependency, the solid line relationship indicates that the class retains a reference to another class over time.

Diagram Types


UML 2 is composed of 13 different types of diagrams as defined by the specification in the following taxonomy.


Figure 3: ClassA associated with ClassB Aggregation “…owns a…” More specific than association, this indicates that a class is a container or collection of other classes. The contained classes do not have a life cycle dependency on the container, so when the container is destroyed, the contents are not. This is depicted using a hollow diamond.

Class Diagrams
Class diagrams describe the static structure of the classes in your system and illustrate attributes, operations and relationships between the classes. Modeling Classes The representation of a class has three compartments.

Figure 4: Company contains Employees

Getting Started with UML

Figure 1: Class representation

From top to bottom this includes: • Name which contains the class name as well as the stereotype, which provides information about this class. Examples of stereotypes include <<interface>>, <<abstract>> or <<controller>>. • Attributes lists the class attributes in the format name:type, with the possibility to provide initial values using the format name:type=value • Operations lists the methods for the class in the format method( parameters):return type. Operations and attributes can have their visibility annotated as follows: + public, # protected, - private, ~ package
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such as explanations or code samples. with an alias given to the link. Figure 10: UML representation of a single component Assembly Connectors The assembly connector can be used when one component needs to use the services provided by another. The object element may also have extra information to model the state of the attributes at a particular time.   Figure 12: Required and provided interface notation Port Connectors Ports allow you to model the functionality that is exposed to the outside world. as well as an annotation for the relationship. | Composite Structure Diagrams   Composite structure diagrams show the internal structure of a class and the collaborations that are made possible.   Figure 11: AccountManagement depends on the CreditChecker services Using the ball and socket notation. as well as classifiers.   Hot Tip Notes Notes or comments are used across all UML diagrams. an object instance is modeled using a simple rectangle without compartments. using {} (e.g. this indicates a strong life cycle dependency between classes. {ordered}).. A component could be modeled by one or more classes. and with underlined text of the format InstanceName:Class DZone. so when the container is destroyed. connectors. This is depicted using a hollow triangle at the general side of the relationship. Inc. This is depicted using a filled diamond.   Component Diagrams Component diagrams are used to illustrate how components of a system are wired together at a higher level of abstraction than class diagrams. They used to hold useful information for the diagram. between ClassA and ClassB. Figure 9: A simple object diagram Figure 5: StatusBar is part of a Window Generalization “…is a…” Also known as inheritance. Typically. www. as in the case of myAccount in the above example. A component is modeled in a rectangle with the <<component>> classifier and an optional component icon: Figure 6: Ford is a more specific type of Car Association Classes Sometimes more complex relationships exist between classes. and can   be linked to entities in the diagram. grouping together required and provided interfaces for a particular piece of functionality. The following example shows a multiple association. ports.. this indicates that the subtype is a more specific type of the super type. where a third class contains the association information. Direction is expressed using arrows.   Figure 7: Account associates the Bank with a Person Annotating relationships For all the above relationships.com . so are the contents.2 Getting Started with UML Composition “…is part of. collaborations. As you would expect. required or provided interfaces are illustrated as follows   Figure 8: Annotating class relationships Relationships can also be annotated with constraints to illustrate rules. this diagram uses some elements from class diagrams. direction and multiplicity can be expressed. This is particularly useful when showing nested components. Figure 13: Nested component diagram showing use of ports Object Diagrams Object diagrams provide information about the relationships between instances of classes at a particular point in time. which may be bi-directional.dzone.” More specific than aggregation. The main entities in a composite structure diagram are parts.

As in component diagrams. Figure 15: A connector between two parts Collaborations Represents a set of roles that can be used together to achieve some particular functionality. They are shown as named rectangles at the boundary of the owning structure. Unlabeled dependencies are considered imports. Both are depicted using the standard dashed line dependency with the appropriate stereotype (import or merge). Inc. which is depicted using a simple rectangle. Artifact An artifact is any product of software development. allowing them to interact at runtime. Actors are drawn using a stick figure. DZone.   Figure 16: Collaboration between a number of entities Hot Tip Modeling Patterns Using Collaborations Sometimes a collaboration will be an implementation of a pattern. As well as standard dependencies.dzone. including source code. • Package Merge Used to indicate that the contents of both packages are combined in a similar way to the generalization relationship. The name and type information is added to the connector using a name:classname format. This indicates that the package can access elements within another package.   Package Diagrams   Package diagrams show the organization of packages and the elements inside provide a visualization of the namespaces that will be applied to classes. It is depicted using a document icon in the top right hand corner. A use case represents a unit of functionality that can interact with external actors or related to other use cases. a port can specify the required and provided services. hardware or other systems. which implies that the included use case behavior is inserted into the behavior of the base use case. • Package Import Used to indicate that the importing namespace adds the names of the members of the package to its own namespace. Association links between these entities represent communication between nodes and can include multiplicity.   Figure 18: Package merge example   BEHAVIORAL DIAGRAMS Use Case Diagrams Use case diagrams are a useful. Collaborations are modeled using a dashed ellipse. External entities must not be placed within the system boundary Use Case Description Either a hardware or software element shown as a 3D box shape. Connectors Connectors bind entities together. Nodes can have many stereotypes. They show how software entities are deployed onto physical hardware nodes and devices. | www. The diagram shows the interaction of users and other external entities with the system that is being developed. In such cases a collaboration is labeled with the   pattern and each part is linked with a description of its role in the problem. high level communication tool to represent the requirements of the system. Entity Node Description Actors represent external entities in the system and can be human. Use cases are represented with a ellipse with the use case name inside. Generalization relationships can be used to represent more specific types of actors. as in the example. Figure 17: Deployment diagram example Figure 14: Diagram class with a Square and Line as part of its structure Ports Represent externally visible parts of the structure. indicated by an appropriate icon on the top right hand corner. This is illustrated using simple rectangles within the owning class or component. binary files or documentation. Graphical Elements Entity Actor Deployment Diagrams Deployment diagrams model the runtime architecture of the system in a real world setting. there are two specific types of relationships used for package diagrams. An instance is made different to a node by providing an underlined “name:node type” notation. class diagrams. Relationships between parts may also be modeled. Package diagrams are commonly used to organize.3 Getting Started with UML Parts Represent one or more instances owned by the containing instance. Use cases are contained within a system boundary. Boundary Graphical Elements Notation Includes Description Illustrates that a base use case may include another. A solid line is typically drawn between parts. Multiplicity may also be annotated on the connector.com . and provide a high level overview of.

These diagrams are useful for documenting business processes. a fork node illustrates the start of concurrent threads. Action constraints are linked to an action in a note with text of the format <<stereotype>>{constraint} The start node is used to represent where the flow begins. illustrated using a rounded rectangle. Represented using a circle containing a black dot. Represents the end of the state machine execution. This is illustrated using a single back spot. Illustrated using a circle with a X. Illustrated using a filled circle. Control Flow Represents the flow of control from one action to the next as a solid line with an arrowhead. including major actions and decision points. Regions are illustrated using a dotted rounded rectangle. all use case relationships can include multiplicity annotations. Activity Diagrams Activity diagrams capture the flow of a program. State Machine Diagrams State machine diagrams are used to describe the state transitions of a single object’s lifetime in response to events.4 Getting Started with UML Extends Illustrates that a particular use case provides additional functionality to the base use case.dzone. It is illustrated using a rounded rectangle. If an object is passed between activities. in some alternative flows. This can also be used to merge flows. Entity State Description States model a moment in time for the behavior of a classifier. Swimlanes can be used in activity diagrams to illustrate activities performed by different actors. and have a brief description. This can be read to mean that it’s not required to complete the goal of the base use case. A decision node will have a condition documented that needs to be met before that path can be taken. An annotated diamond shape is used to represent decisions in the control flow. Generalization Constraints Hot Tip Multiplicity Like normal relationships. Typically this starts with one positive path.com . Start Node Activity Final Node Flow Final Node Represents the end of a single flow. A stereotype is applied to the region to identify whether it is iterative or parallel. In cases when it is possible to enter the state machine at a later stage than the initial state this can be used. The pre and post conditions that apply to this use case’s execution. Represents the end of all control flows within the activity. Graphical Elements Section Action Description Represents one step in the program flow. Inc. This could be a link to an external formal specification. Used when there is a common use case that provides basic functionality that can be used by a more specialized use case. It is also possible represent object flow by adding a square representing the object on either side of the control flow. Figure 19: A simple use case diagram Documenting Use Cases Behind each use case there should be some text describing it. or an internal listing of the requirements that this use case will fulfill. with a number of alternative flows referenced. a representation of the object can be added in between the activities.   Exit Point Represents alternative end points to the final state. State machine diagrams are modeled in a similar way to activity diagrams. | www. The flow of events that occur during the execution of the use case. of the state machine. Initial Post Represents the beginning of the execution of this state machine. Illustrated using an empty circle. Regions are used to group certain activities together. Entry Point Final State Figure 20: Activity diagram DZone. The following are typical sections in a use case definition: Section Name and Description Requirements Constraints Scenarios   Object Flow Decision Node Description Use cases are should have verb names. Region Partition Fork Node Represented using a horizontal or vertical bar. The same notation can be used for the joining of concurrent threads.

General Lifeline Represents an individual entity in the sequence diagram. Transitions illustrate movement between states. The unknown part is modeled as a black dot. A swimlane can contain any number of lifelines. Messages The core of sequence diagrams are the messages that are passed between the objects modeled. with the final three the being most specific. State Choice A decision is illustrated using a diamond. illustrated using an X Hot Tip Swimlanes Swimlanes can be used to break up a sequence diagram into logical layers. or from an object that is not modeled in the diagram. Sequence Diagrams Sequence diagrams describe how entities interact. which is usually a change in condition. sequence diagrams are the most used diagrams for modeling software systems. Forks and merges (see activity diagram) are used to split/ merge transitions. Managing Object Lifecycle Objects don’t need to all appear along the top of the sequence diagram. The element is modeled at the top of the column and the lifeline is continued with a dashed line. or model objects. A junction is illustrated using a filled circle. with a number of transitions leaving from the choice element. Behavior and business rules are typically managed by such objects. such as user interface. A lost message is one that gets sent to an unintended receiver. A state can have multiple substates executing concurrently. They can be thought of as beans. Lifeline Objects A sequence diagram is made up of a number of lifelines. If the message is a return message it appears as a dashed line rather than solid. Each entity gets its own column.com . Effects Triggers cause the transition. A found message is one that arrives from an unknown sender. States may also have self transitions. A message with a line arrowhead at the end. Entities are usually elements that are responsible for holding data or information. Guards. Entity Actor Found Self Message Hot Tip Description Actors represent external entities in the system. A guard is a condition that must evaluate to true before the transition can execute. Actors are drawn using a stick figure. The destination for this message is a black dot. and may skip past other lifelines on the way to the recipient. which is modeled using a dashed line to separate the parallel tracks. displayed as a rectangle. Control Controller elements manage the flow of information for a scenario. They can be human. They can be annotated with a Trigger[Guard]/Effect notation. Entity Synchronous Concurrent Region Hot Tip Transitions: Triggers. the element’s lifeline can begin at the end of that message. All messages are described in the order of execution. Terminate State Indicates that the flow of the state machine has ended. If the message is a return message it appears as a dashed line rather than solid. hardware or other systems. or back-end logic that deals with external systems. A self message is usually a recursive call. where the state resumes from where it was last time. useful for iterative behavior. A thin rectangle along the lifeline illustrates the execution lifetime for the object’s messages. When a message is sent to create an object. State Boundary Nested States States can themselves contain internal state machine diagrams. Messages can be sent in both directions. Inc. Effect is an action that will be invoked on that object. This is drawn using a circle with a H inside. Description A message with a solid arrowhead at the end. stereotype or could be an instance (using instance:class) Boundary elements are usually at the edge of the system. Asynchronous INTERACTION DIAGRAMS Lost Interaction diagrams are a subset of behavioral diagrams that deal with the flow of control across the modeled system. simply use an X at the end of the dashed line. A state can also be annotated with any number of trigger/effect pairs. which is useful when the state has a number of transitions. including what messages are used for the interactions. or to an object that is not modeled in the diagram. | www. Messages will usually be of the form messagename(parameter). Along with class and use case.5 Getting Started with UML Transition Represented as a line with an arrowhead. Entity State junction Junctions are used to merge a number of transitions from different states.   To terminate the lifeline. It can have a name. History State History states can be used to model state memory.dzone. or a call to another method belonging to the same object. The following are the options for lifeline objects. Fragments Fragments are sections of logic that are executed given a DZone.

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Figure 22: Simple communication diagram Interaction Overview Diagrams   An interaction overview diagram is a form of activity diagram where each node is a link to another type of interaction diagram. b></ Amazon EC2: ther stanstandard software and uage with whe Industry dard . in the end bad pra enting Mana targe Creat cy nt es rties are rily nden implem approac ed with the cial. d deploEAR) each lar pro pattern tterns Pay only what you consume in tagge or cies reposit particu tions that e ed via t nden anti-pa For each (e. several cloud computing platforms support data HTM tier technologies that L and the precedent set by Relational exceed XHT HTML Database Systems (RDBMS): Map Reduce. ive data pt. James Sugrue has been editor at both Javalobby and Eclipse Zone for over two years. making them rn les to ize merg Patte it all fi to minim space Comm many aspects related tomultiple computing. or otherwise. NC 27513 888. No part of this publication may be reproduced. 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