Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Learning UML 2.0

Russ Miles & Kim Hamilton
ISBN: 978-0596009823

I have never been a big fan of UML or really seen the need for it. However I was told it was imperative for my latest contract, so I out my old copy of UML distilled by Martin Fowler and bought a new copy of it for my Kindle and started reading it. I had been with my new client very long when someone recommended Learning UML 2.0 by Russ Miles and Kim Hamilton. It contains the Philippe Kruchten 4+1 model that we would be using for the project so I thought it would probably make a better book to learn from (no pun intended).

Philippe Kruchten 4+1 Model
Philippe Kruchten 4+1 Model

This is a great book. Easy to read and lots of detail about the key areas of UML 2.0. It doesn't cover absolutely everything, but recommends other books that do. There are lots of code examples in Java. I'm not sure if all of these are useful or if the authors, who are programmers, were just desperate to get some code in.

The book focuses on what in my opinion are the most useful diagrams:
  • Use Cases
  • Activity Diagrams
  • Class Diagrams
  • Object Diagrams
  • Sequence Diagrams
  • Communication Diagrams
  • Timing Diagrams
  • Interaction Overview Diagrams
  • Composite Structures
  • Component Diagrams
  • State Machine Diagrams
  • Deployment Diagrams
I hesitate to include Class diagrams in the list. Along with Use Cases and Sequence diagrams, class diagrams are probably the most well known of all UML diagrams. Unlike sequence diagrams and to a certain extent Use Cases, class diagrams are of little use. Usually it's quicker to get on and write the code than it is to draw diagrams and get someone else to write it. One possible exception is where you are generating code from a UML model, but I don't really see the point in that either. Fortunately there are only two chapters on Class Diagrams.

In my opinion if you want to learn the important parts of UML in a hurry. This is the book for you.

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