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Unified Modeling Language (UML)

Particularly in the software arena, there are many different methods of describing processes, from the original flowcharts to object oriented approaches. The Unified Modeling Language (UML) is an attempt to bring together, in an open way, a number of such different approaches in the object-oriented arena, in particular bringing together the ideas of Booch, OMT and OOSE. The goals were stated to include:

  1. Provide users with a ready-to-use, expressive visual modeling language so they can develop and exchange meaningful models.
  2. Provide extensibility and specialization mechanisms to extend the core concepts.
  3. Be independent of particular programming languages and development processes.
  4. Provide a formal basis for understanding the modeling language.
  5. Encourage the growth of the OO tools market.
  6. Support higher-level development concepts such as collaborations, frameworks, patterns and components.
  7. Integrate best practices

It includes such things as:

  • Class models, so you can show object-style classes (eg. 'flower')

  • Use-case models, so you can show how things work in practice.

  • State diagram, so you can see the different static states.

  • Activity diagram, so you can see the dynamic aspects. 

Although it has a software focus, UML can be of use in other process situations.

See also:

Process

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