UML Part I

UML Intro

UML stands for Unified Modeling Language. UML is a graphical language for visualizing, specifying, constructing & documenting the artifacts of a software system. It is a standard language for designing and documenting a system in an object oriented manner. UML provides blue print for Business process, System functioning, programming language statements, Database schema & reusable components.

UML is used in all phases of software development from Requirement Specification to Acceptance Test and from Designing a solution to Deploying/ Packaging. Modeling has been around for years not only in software field but also in other fields like Civil, Mechanical, etc. we get a model ready & approved before starting the production. Modeling makes complex system to break up into simple and discrete pieces that be individually understood. If we ask ourselves have we been doing/ following modeling, most of us would say NO. But all of us do modeling, the flowchart that we draw is a model for your module isn't it.

Now we should see what are the advantages of modeling:
  1. Readability: Representing the whole architecture in flowcharts, class diagrams, state diagrams, ER diagrams, etc. makes our project more readable. Especially when we have programmer's changing job, handover becomes easier.
  2. Re-usability: Once the system is readable and broken down to pieces, it becomes easier to identify redundant and similar modules. Thus increasing re-usability. We can decide of reusable components to be used across the application.Why shall we adopt UML?
Well different languages have different ways of coding and syntax's. In order to bring all languages under one roof UML comes into picture. As the term comes in UNIFIED, it unifies all different languages in one roof so people who are working on some other platforms can understand that.

There was an interesting question put up “Does UML fit in Agile/Scrum environment?” during a UML session presented by myself & one of my colleague at our office CastleRock, Kolkata.
Well the answer is yes, UML is not a methodology dependent you can apply it to any of the software development process. If we have a blueprint of the whole architecture, whenever we are required to make changes or alter a section/ module we can very easily trace which all sections/ modules would get effected & at the same time you can figure out how much time it might take to finish the job.

You can checkout the list of UML tools at http://www.sereferences.com/uml-tools.php.

In the next post I will cover different UML diagrams.

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