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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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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.com . As you would expect.   Hot Tip Notes Notes or comments are used across all UML diagrams. this indicates a strong life cycle dependency between classes. www..   Figure 7: Account associates the Bank with a Person Annotating relationships For all the above relationships. direction and multiplicity can be expressed. and with underlined text of the format InstanceName:Class DZone.. required or provided interfaces are illustrated as follows   Figure 8: Annotating class relationships Relationships can also be annotated with constraints to illustrate rules. 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. The following example shows a multiple association. where a third class contains the association information. A component could be modeled by one or more classes. an object instance is modeled using a simple rectangle without compartments. this indicates that the subtype is a more specific type of the super type. as well as classifiers.2 Getting Started with UML Composition “…is part of. 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. This is depicted using a hollow triangle at the general side of the relationship. grouping together required and provided interfaces for a particular piece of functionality. between ClassA and ClassB.dzone. Inc. with an alias given to the link.   Figure 12: Required and provided interface notation Port Connectors Ports allow you to model the functionality that is exposed to the outside world. Direction is expressed using arrows. which may be bi-directional. so are the contents.” More specific than aggregation.   Figure 11: AccountManagement depends on the CreditChecker services Using the ball and socket notation.g. ports. Typically. using {} (e. and can   be linked to entities in the diagram. This is depicted using a filled diamond. | Composite Structure Diagrams   Composite structure diagrams show the internal structure of a class and the collaborations that are made possible. connectors. such as explanations or code samples. The main entities in a composite structure diagram are parts. They used to hold useful information for the diagram.   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. so when the container is destroyed. The object element may also have extra information to model the state of the attributes at a particular time. as in the case of myAccount in the above example. Figure 9: A simple object diagram Figure 5: StatusBar is part of a Window Generalization “…is a…” Also known as inheritance. as well as an annotation for the relationship. This is particularly useful when showing nested components. this diagram uses some elements from class diagrams. {ordered}). collaborations.

DZone. Use cases are represented with a ellipse with the use case name inside. Entity Node Description Actors represent external entities in the system and can be human. They are shown as named rectangles at the boundary of the owning structure. A solid line is typically drawn between parts.   Figure 18: Package merge example   BEHAVIORAL DIAGRAMS Use Case Diagrams Use case diagrams are a useful.dzone. This is illustrated using simple rectangles within the owning class or component. They show how software entities are deployed onto physical hardware nodes and devices.3 Getting Started with UML Parts Represent one or more instances owned by the containing instance. • Package Merge Used to indicate that the contents of both packages are combined in a similar way to the generalization relationship. there are two specific types of relationships used for package diagrams. Nodes can have many stereotypes. Both are depicted using the standard dashed line dependency with the appropriate stereotype (import or merge). A use case represents a unit of functionality that can interact with external actors or related to other use cases. Artifact An artifact is any product of software development. Generalization relationships can be used to represent more specific types of actors. As well as standard dependencies. It is depicted using a document icon in the top right hand corner. including source code. indicated by an appropriate icon on the top right hand corner. Association links between these entities represent communication between nodes and can include multiplicity. binary files or documentation. allowing them to interact at runtime. Relationships between parts may also be modeled. Multiplicity may also be annotated on the connector. • Package Import Used to indicate that the importing namespace adds the names of the members of the package to its own namespace. high level communication tool to represent the requirements of the system. This indicates that the package can access elements within another package. The diagram shows the interaction of users and other external entities with the system that is being developed.   Figure 16: Collaboration between a number of entities Hot Tip Modeling Patterns Using Collaborations Sometimes a collaboration will be an implementation of a pattern. and provide a high level overview of. As in component diagrams. | www. Graphical Elements Entity Actor Deployment Diagrams Deployment diagrams model the runtime architecture of the system in a real world setting. hardware or other systems. Unlabeled dependencies are considered imports. Actors are drawn using a stick figure. In such cases a collaboration is labeled with the   pattern and each part is linked with a description of its role in the problem. Connectors Connectors bind entities together. as in the example. The name and type information is added to the connector using a name:classname format. class diagrams. which is depicted using a simple rectangle. Use cases are contained within a system boundary. 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. Boundary Graphical Elements Notation Includes Description Illustrates that a base use case may include another. 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. which implies that the included use case behavior is inserted into the behavior of the base use case. Figure 15: A connector between two parts Collaborations Represents a set of roles that can be used together to achieve some particular functionality. Collaborations are modeled using a dashed ellipse. An instance is made different to a node by providing an underlined “name:node type” notation. Package diagrams are commonly used to organize. Inc.com . a port can specify the required and provided services.   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.

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

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

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