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Learning to Communicate Software Design Graphically: O'Reilly Releases "Learning UML"

July 21, 2003

Sebastopol, CA--The world of technology is replete with languages; programming languages alone are described as high-level, low-level, object-oriented, procedural, scripting, markup, and so on. The Unified Modeling Language, or UML, is none of these, but rather a standard notation--a visual language--used for modeling and communicating about systems. Using diagrams and supporting text as a means of communication, the UML makes it possible for team members to collaborate to successfully develop systems. Seemingly simple, UML is a rich and expressive language, and is quickly becoming an industry standard for specifying and documenting software systems, endorsed by almost every maker of software development products. Learning UML (O'Reilly, US $34.55) by Sinan Si Alhir begins with an introduction to UML and then leads readers through an orderly progress towards mastery of the language.

Much of the documentation that attempts to teach UML focuses on methodology or process without offering a clear understanding of how the language works. "Learning UML" focuses instead on teaching how to effectively and successfully apply the UML. Readers begin by learning how UML is used to model the structure of a system. Many key UML concepts, especially that of the general (classes) versus the specific (objects), are illustrated in the chapter on class and object diagrams. Next, readers learn how to use use-case diagrams to model the functionality of a system. Finally, they learn how component and deployment diagrams are used to model the way in which a system is deployed in a physical environment.

Each chapter in "Learning UML" uses an example-driven approach to progressively introduce key UML concepts with increasingly more involved examples. Using a project-management system case study, the book guides the reader though learning how to read, understand, write, and apply the UML. Exercises are included so readers can practice and improve their skills.

According to Alhir, when readers have finished "Learning UML," they will understand how to use the various UML diagrams and their elements based on what they want to communicate and what each diagram emphasizes. "They will also have gained insight into the rationale behind the language and how different pieces of the language fit together," says Alhir, "rather than be left with the perception that the UML is a hodgepodge of different types of diagrams without any underlying scheme. They'll generally be able to more effectually and successfully apply the UML."

"Learning UML" is for anyone interested in learning to understand and apply the UML, including analysts and end users who specify requirements, architects who broadly design systems that satisfy requirements, designers who detail designs, developers who implement designs, testers who verify and validate systems against requirements, and managers who orchestrate system development efforts. No specific prior knowledge or skills are assumed.

Additional Resources:

Learning UML
Sinan Si Alhir
ISBN 0-596-00344-7, 234 pages, $34.95 US, $54.95 CA, 24.95 UK
1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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