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Wiley 978-0-7645-2604-6 Datasheet
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1
C H A P T E R
What Is UML?
T
he Unified Modeling Language (UML) has been formally
under development since 1994. UML is a distillation of
three major notations and a number of modeling techniques
drawn from widely diverse methodologies that have been in
practice over the previous two decades. During this time it
has had an undeniable impact on the way we view systems
development. Despite early competition from existing modeling notations, UML has become the de facto standard for modeling object-oriented software for nearly 70 percent of IT
shops. UML has been adopted by companies throughout the
world, and today more than 50 commercial and academic
modeling tools support software and business modeling
using UML.
UML enables system developers to specify, visualize, and document models in a manner that supports scalability, security,
and robust execution. Because UML modeling raises the level
of abstraction throughout the analysis and design process, it
is easier to identify patterns of behavior and thus define
opportunities for refactoring and reuse. Consequently, UML
modeling facilitates the creation of modular designs resulting
in components and component libraries that expedite development and help insure consistency across systems and
implementations.
Unlike previous methodologies, you don’t have to change the
way you work just to suit the demands of a vendor or methodologist. UML uses extension mechanisms to customize UML
models to a particular application type or technology. While
the extension mechanisms are a bit limited today, they do provide substantial support for tailoring UML to the needs of a
specific project, whether the project’s goal is a transactionoriented application, real-time or fault-tolerant system, or
e-commerce or Web service, and regardless of the subject
domain.
UML profiles collect predefined sets of extension mechanisms
for a specific environment. For example, in the UML specification itself you will find profiles for J2EE, COM, .NET, and CCM
✦
✦
✦
✦
In This Chapter
Defining UML
Exploring the history
of the standard
Understanding the
motivation behind the
UML standard
Examining the
fundamental concepts
of UML
Exploring the goals
of UML
Examining the scope
and features of the
UML
Understanding the
role of the Object
Management Group
(OMG)
Understanding how
UML fits into the
Model-Driven
Architecture (MDA)
✦
✦
✦
✦
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development. Each profile provides customized modeling elements that map to the
common elements and features in each of these architectures. This approach
enables the modeler to focus time and energy on the project content instead of the
unique modeling features of the implementation domain.
The standardized architecture of UML is based on the Meta-Object Facility (MOF).
The MOF defines the foundation for creating modeling languages used for object
modeling, such as UML, and for data modeling, such as the Common Warehouse
Model (CWM). The MOF defines standard formats for the key elements of a model
so that they can be stored in a common repository and exchanged between modeling tools and languages. XML Metadata Interchange (XMI) provides the mechanism
to implement the sharing of these modeling elements between modeling tool vendors and between repositories. This means, for example, that a project can use one
tool for developing a platform-independent model (PIM) using UML diagrams and
switch to another tool to refine the model into a platform-specific model (PSM)
using a CWM model to generate the database schemas. This standards-based
approach places the choice of tools in the hands of the modelers instead of the
tool vendors.
UML models can be precise enough to generate code or even the entire application.
Automated test suites can verify the accuracy of the model. When coupled with
tools to compile the UML model, the model can even be executed before any code
exists. Vendors (for example, Kabira Technologies www.kabira.com and Project
Technology, Inc. www.projtech.com) are already providing compilers that are
being used in projects today. A fully executable UML model may be deployed to
multiple platforms that each use different technologies. A model might be deployed
in one place using one language, middleware, and database configuration, and at
another location with an entirely different configuration. The mapping of the model
to an implementation configuration is accomplished using a profile, with a separate
layer that maps the two requirements, the model and the implementation environment. To use the model in other implementation environments, simply create a new
profile. Thus the UML profile represents a level of indirection between the model
and the implementation environment, freeing each to be created independently of
the other.
All of these features didn’t appear overnight. A great deal of collaborative effort
was invested to create the current standard, and not without conflict. You may have
already heard people taking sides on a variety of modeling issues and practices
that arise when they try to use UML. To clarify some of the reasons behind these
debates, I begin with a brief history explaining how UML first came to be. If you can
understand the process behind the ongoing development of the standard, you will
be better equipped to follow the changes between version 1.4 and the new developments in version 2.0 described throughout the rest of this book. Even more important, you need to understand how UML fits into the much larger plan by the Object
Management Group (OMG) to standardize systems development with Model-Driven
Architecture (MDA).
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Since UML 2.0 is pending as of the writing of this book, I have included both UML
1.4.1 and UML 2.0. I hope this will help those of you who might be using modeling
tools based on UML 1.4.1 until you are able to upgrade. At the same time it should
give you some insights for evaluating either your existing vendor’s implementation
of UML 2.0 or other new modeling products. For a more complete explanation of
this approach, refer to “How to read this book” in the Preface.
Note
When the OMG added Action Semantics to the 1.4 specification, it originally called
it “UML 1.4 with Action Semantics.” It later appeared on the OMG site as UML 1.5.
So don’t be surprised if I accidentally bounce between references to 1.4 and 1.5.
The rest of this chapter discusses
✦ The history of the UML through version 1.4
✦ The goals, scope, and features of the UML
✦ The objectives of UML 2.0
✦ The role of the Object Management Group (OMG)
✦ How UML fits into the bigger picture: The OMG’s Model-Driven Architecture
(MDA) initiative
Understanding the History Behind UML
UML is designed specifically to represent object-oriented (OO) systems. Objectoriented development techniques describe software as a set of cooperating blocks
of information and behavior. For example, a performance at a theater would be
coded as a discrete module with its own data about dates and time, and behavior
such as schedule, cancel, or reschedule all rolled together. This was a stark departure from the old notion that data resides in files and behavior lives in programs.
The effect of this simple idea, the combining of data and behavior into objects, had
a profound effect on application design. As early as the 1970s, a number of methods
were developed to exploit the new object-oriented (OO) programming concepts.
Developers quickly recognized that object orientation made possible a development process in which the way that they talk about the application corresponds
directly to how they code it. They also found that it was relatively easy to draw
(model) the objects so that they could talk about the design. Each object was represented as an element on a diagram. Because the model elements were almost identical to the code elements, the transition from model to code was simple and
efficient. Moving design discussions up to the models instead of the code helped
the developers deal with design issues at a high level of abstraction without getting
caught up in the coding syntax.
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Early Modeling Methodologies
Software developers weren’t the only people who discovered the benefit of modeling. Other engineering disciplines such as database management and design were
also creating modeling techniques such as Entity Relationship modeling (ER diagrams) and Specification and Description Language (SDL). It quickly became clear
that modeling provided a way to cope with complexity, encourage collaboration,
and generally improve design in all aspects of software development.
The need for modeling solutions increased with the growth in numbers and sophistication of software systems. Systems were growing rapidly in complexity and
required more and more collaboration and solid, durable design quality. Modeling
had proven itself in exactly these circumstances. Literally hundreds of people
sprang to work developing modeling methodologies to solve the growing problem.
But the resulting proliferation of solutions caused some problems. The widely
diverse efforts were inefficient in that they lacked the necessary collaboration to
produce results that could be widely applied by the IT community. In fact, the
diversified approach resulted in what were affectionately called the “method wars,”
battles between method authors with their loyal followers pitted against one
another over who had the best solution. Authors of each method vied for support
for their methods. Tool vendors labored to support many different notations in the
same tool. Companies struggled to identify and follow a single “best” method, train
their people, and support the method only to find that no one method could fully
meet their needs.
The proliferation of isolated solutions and the associated battles were signals that
the need for a comprehensive solution for software modeling was a priority. The
solution needed to be flexible, scalable, secure, and robust enough to handle the
diverse software and business environments of the present and the future.
The Creation of UML
By the early 1990s, a few leaders had emerged from the field of methods and notations. Object-Oriented Software Engineering (OOSE), developed by Ivar Jacobson,
is based around the use-case concept that proved itself by achieving high levels of
reuse by facilitating communication between projects and users, a key success
factor for IT projects. James Rumbaugh developed the Object-Modeling Technique
(OMT) with an emphasis on the analysis of business and data intensive systems for
defining a target problem, a second key success factor for IT projects. The Booch
method, developed by Grady Booch, had particular strengths in design and implementation, defining and mapping a solution to the target problem, a third key to
successful IT projects. These significant contributions are like the legs on a threelegged stool: the combination of the three methods and their notations supported
the entire range of requirements needed to create a single, comprehensive software-modeling standard.
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It is important to point out that many other methods provided some of the same
three key factors. The difference is that they did not aggressively seek to combine
their efforts to address the bigger picture, a standards-based approach to modeling
software. In October 1994, Grady Booch and Jim Rumbaugh, working at Rational
Software Corp., started merging their two methods. The independent evolution of
their two products was bringing the methods closer together anyway; Booch was
adopting more of an analysis focus and Rumbaugh was assuming more of a design
focus. Now the deliberate reconciliation began in earnest. The effort resulted in a
greatly simplified notation and a deliberate effort to address the need for a true language architecture rather than simply a notation. An architectural approach would
bring the needed semantic integrity and consistency for a durable standard.
A year later, in the fall of 1995, Booch and Rumbaugh had completed the first draft
of the merged method referred to as Unified Modeling Language version 0.8. About
the time that the draft was completed, Ivar Jacobson and his company, called
Objectory, joined Rational Software Corp., and the “three amigos” — Booch,
Rumbaugh, and Jacobson — began integrating OOSE into the UML standard. The
use-case concept brought to UML the essential user-centric elements that completed the range of features to make UML the comprehensive standard that it
needed to be to gain wide acceptance.
Booch, Rumbaugh, and Jacobson established four goals for the Unified Modeling
Language:
1. Enable the modeling of systems (not just software) using object-oriented
concepts
2. Establish an explicit coupling to conceptual as well as executable artifacts
3. Address the issues of scale inherent in complex, mission-critical systems
4. Create a modeling language usable by both humans and machines
(UML 1.4, pgs. 1-12,13)
The result of the collaborative effort of the three amigos was the release of UML
versions 0.9 and 0.9.1 in the fall of 1996. However, despite the fact that they sought
feedback from the development community, they recognized the need for broader
involvement if the UML was truly to be a standard.
Enter the Object Management Group (OMG), the standards body that brought us
CORBA, Interface Definition Language (IDL), and the CORBA Internet Inter-ORB
Protocol (IIOP). By this time UML was being recognized as vital to the goals of many
companies. It was in their best interest to see that the standard get the support it
needed to be completed. In response to this overwhelming need, the OMG published a Request for Proposal (RFP), and then the Rational Software Corporation
created the UML Partners consortium, which was committed to finishing what the
three amigos had started. Contributing members of the consortium included a mix
of vendors and system integrators: Digital Equipment Corporation, HP, i-Logix,
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IntelliCorp, IBM, ICON Computing, MCI Systemhouse, Microsoft, Oracle, Rational
Software, TI, and Unisys. The result of their efforts was published in January 1997
as UML 1.0.
At the same time, another group of companies (IBM & ObjecTime, Platinum
Technologies, Ptech, Taskon & Reich Technologies, and Softteam) was working on
and submitted another proposal for UML. And, exemplary of the UML history, the
alternative proposal was viewed not as competitive, but collaborative. The new
team joined the UML Partners consortium and the work of the two groups was
merged to produce UML 1.1 in September 1997. Since then, the OMG has assumed
formal responsibility for the ongoing development of the standard, but most of the
original consortium members still participate.
In reading this brief history you’ve probably noticed that this all happened pretty
fast. The drive to deliver the final version so quickly had its consequences. While
the architecture infrastructure and even the superstructure were relatively well
defined, some problems remained. For example, the Activity diagram did not have
the ties to the state machine semantics required to support all of the features and
notations needed for real business modeling. Also, many of the Standard Elements
were added hastily and had not been fully defined. Most important, the metamodeling approach fell short of the desired implementation, making it difficult
to align UML with the Meta-Object Facility (MOF), a foundation technology in
the OMG’s MDA strategy. Fortunately, the standard is still evolving.
The OMG set up a Revision Task Force (RTF) to oversee the ongoing evolution of
the UML standard. The RTF is responsible for addressing all questions, changes,
and enhancements to UML and for publishing subsequent releases. To date, the
RTF has taken up more than 500 formal usage and implementation issues submitted
to the OMG for consideration. In fact, you can submit your own suggestions and
comments on existing issues to [email protected]
The standard has since progressed through version 1.3 (1.2 was a purely editorial
revision) and on to version 1.4. The most recently adopted specification
(September 2002) is version 1.4.1 with Action Semantics, which, as the name
implies, added action semantics to the 1.4 specification. Action Semantics is a critical element in the creation of executable UML models.
CrossReference
To learn more about Action Semantics, refer to Chapter 19.
The Goals and Features of UML
UML is designed to meet some very specific objectives so that it can truly be a standard that addresses the practical needs of the software development community.
Any effort to be all things to all people is doomed to fail, so the UML authors have
taken care to establish clear boundaries for the features of the UML.
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The next section explains the objectives and the scope of the UML, the fundamental
features provided by the UML, and discusses the role of the OMG in the management and ongoing development of the UML as a part of its MDA strategy.
The goals of UML
The OMG knows that the success of UML hinges on its ability to address the widely
diverse real-world needs of software developers. The standard will fail if it is too
rigid or too relaxed, too narrow in scope or too all-encompassing, too bound to a
particular technology or so vague that it cannot be applied to real technologies. To
ensure that the standard will, in fact, be both practical and durable, the OMG established a list of goals.
UML will
✦ Provide modelers with a ready-to-use, expressive, and visual modeling language to develop and exchange meaningful models.
✦ Furnish extensibility and specialization mechanisms to extend the core
concepts.
✦ Support specifications that are independent of particular programming languages and development processes.
✦ Provide a formal basis for understanding the modeling language.
✦ Encourage the growth of the object tools market.
✦ Support higher-level development concepts such as components, collaborations, frameworks, and patterns. (UML1.4 specifications)
Each of these goals is discussed in detail in the following sections.
Goal 1: Provide modelers with a ready-to-use, expressive, and visual
modeling language to develop and exchange meaningful models
UML must be defined at a level that allows it to be used as-is off the shelf. Modelers
should be able to start building diagrams without first customizing the notation to
their development environment, programming language, or application. The modeling language should work equally well for Java and C++, for accounting and aviation.
To accomplish this, the standard has to define the semantics of the modeling language as well as the visual representation of the language. Semantics provide the
rigor that ensures the consistent application of the models and model elements.
A consistent visual representation of the model elements facilitates adoption and
use of the modeling technique.
The standard also must be comprehensive but not exhaustive. It must include
all the core modeling elements common to most, not all, software projects. If it
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is not complete, modelers will not be able to use it without customization. If it is
exhaustive — well, it just can’t be. Instead, the OMG adopted the second goal.
Goal 2: Furnish extensibility and specialization mechanisms to extend
the core concepts
In overly simplified terms, the core concepts should represent the old 80/20 rule.
We should be able to build 80 percent of the systems out there with 20 percent of
the conceivable concepts. When these core concepts are not enough, there should
be a way to build on them to get what we need.
Wherever possible a modeler should not have to invent entirely new concepts.
Users should be able to use concepts already defined by UML. There are at least
three ways that UML enables modelers to create new model elements:
✦ The core defines a number of fundamental concepts that may be combined to
create the new concept.
✦ The core provides multiple definitions for a concept.
✦ UML supports the ability to customize a concept by specializing one or more
of its definitions. (To specialize means to use an existing definition and then
override and/or add elements to it.)
A UML-defined solution for wholesale extensibility is a profile. A profile is basically
an implementation of UML for a specific domain, such as a particular technology
platform or a specific line of business. A profile predefines a set of model elements
that are unique or simply common to the target environment. In this manner, profiles tailor the modeling elements so that the modeler can represent his environment more accurately than is possible with generic UML but without losing any of
the semantic clarity of UML concepts.
Goal 3: Support specifications that are independent of particular
programming languages and development processes
One very valuable reason for modeling is to separate the requirements from the
implementation. Tying UML to a particular language automatically alienates everyone not using that language. An implementation also ties UML to a point in time. For
example, when the programming language changes, UML becomes obsolete until it
can be brought up to date.
However, UML must map to the common object-oriented design constructs defined
in most OO languages. This alignment will support code generation and reverse
engineering, the integration of the modeling and coding environments. But rather
than alter UML to conform to languages, the mapping is accomplished through profiles that define the relationships between the model elements and the implementation constructs. Using a separate mapping layer effectively decouples, or separates,
UML from the implementation languages, allowing both to evolve at their own pace.
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Goal 4: Provide a formal basis for understanding the modeling
language
The language must be defined at a level that is precise yet accessible. Without precision, the models do not help define a real solution. Without accessibility, no one
will use it. The UML standard uses Class diagrams to represent the formal definitions of objects and their relationships. Each Class diagram is supplemented with
text detailing the semantics and the notation options. The constraints that define
the integrity of the model elements are expressed using Object Constraint Language
(OCL). (See Chapter 18.)
Goal 5: Encourage the growth of the object tools market
The modeling tool market is dependent on a unified standard for modeling, for the
model repository, and for model interchange. To the extent that vendors can rely
on a stable standard, they can quickly and effectively implement all three fundamental tool features. As the vendors’ cost to provide the core functionality
decreases, vendors are freed to pursue value-added modeling-environment
enhancements such as integration with coding environments, database management tools, syntax checking, model verification, and more.
We are seeing the effect of the standard today. The number of tools has mushroomed, and the feature sets offered in the tools have exploded. Where tools used
to focus almost exclusively on just being able to draw diagrams, today they are performing syntax checking of OCL statements, diagram synchronization, code generation and reverse engineering, importing from various other tools, exporting HTML
or XML reports, supporting integration with one or more coding environments, and
much more.
Goal 6: Support higher-level development concepts such as
components, collaborations, frameworks, and patterns
The standard needs to support the modeling of higher-level concepts such as
frameworks, patterns, and collaborations. Doing so supports the advancement
of modeling and systems development. By ensuring this future potential, UML
becomes an asset that facilitates technological evolution rather than being
one more legacy that has to be dragged into the future with all the other old
technologies.
The scope of the UML
UML is designed to be the merging of best development practices and the leading
modeling concepts of the past 30 years. There is also a deliberate effort to take into
account the fact that development technologies and techniques are always changing.
With such an ambitious goal, it would be easy to fall into the trap of making UML
define everything — modeling, development methodology, project management,
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systems integration, and so forth — about the software development process. So
the first and most visible boundary established by the OMG was to define only the
modeling language, including the semantics and the notation for creating models.
Therefore, UML defines only the modeling elements used to describe the artifacts
of software development. It does not describe any process for creating those artifacts. In fact, the intent of the standard is to create a language that may be used
with any process, much like you could hand someone a hammer and say, “Hang this
picture” or “Build a house.” The same tool may be used for very different tasks. In
the same manner, UML might be (and is) used with the Rational Unified Process,
Shlaer/Mellor, Agile Modeling, or any number of proprietary methodologies.
UML also says nothing about programming languages. The object-oriented concepts applied in modeling are the same concepts applied in OO programming languages, but the relationship begins and ends with this common foundation. For
example, Java does not support multiple inheritance but UML does. Neither Java
nor UML is going to change because of this inconsistency. They each have their
own goals and audiences that drive their choices regarding how to support OO concepts. Again, the UML standard cannot be tied to a particular technology without
losing its ability to keep pace with advancements in technology.
Finally, UML does not seek to usurp other modeling techniques such as Business
Process Re-engineering (BPR) flowcharts or entity-relationship modeling. However,
it has proven itself to be robust enough to bring added precision, comprehensiveness, and flexibility to the same modeling domains. The infrastructure of UML (covered later in this chapter) is actually designed to be the basis for defining any
number of modeling languages. In the event, and to the extent that, these other
modeling techniques conform to the infrastructure, it will be possible to exchange
model elements between the various techniques. For example, a UML model could
be input to an entity-relationship model and vice versa. In fact, this is already implemented in some tools.
Features of UML
In addition to the set of diagrams defined in the UML specification, UML provides a
set of features that derive from a variety of sources but have all proven valuable in
real-world modeling:
✦ Extensibility mechanisms (stereotypes, tagged values, and constraints): No
standard, language, or tool will ever be able to address 100 percent of the
users’ needs. Trying to deliver such a tool would result in a never-ending project without any product. Instead, UML authors focused on a core set of functionality and features. Then they added a set of mechanisms — stereotypes,
tagged values, and constraints — that may be used to augment or tailor the
core concepts without corrupting the integrity of those core concepts.
Applying a stereotype to a model element is like getting dressed up for a special occasion. You remain the same person regardless of what you wear, but
the attire helps you fit into the particular situation.
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Stereotypes help identify the role of an element within the model without
defining or altering its fundamental purpose or function. Stereotypes for
model elements work much the same as stereotypes for business descriptions; that is, you might point out a company and identify it as an accounting
firm, a shoe distributor, or a grocery store. But it is still a company. Tagged
values provide the means to add new model elements that hold values — for
example, author=”Tom Pender”. Constraints allow you to define rules
regarding the integrity or use of a model element, such as the attribute
“name” must be between 1 and 40 characters including spaces and punctuation, but no special characters. UML added OCL (see Chapter 18) for formally
specifying constraints.
✦ Threads and processes: Threads and processes are an increasingly common
aspect of applications. UML supports the modeling of threads and processes
in all of the behavioral models, including the enhanced Activity diagram. (See
Chapters 8 through 13.)
✦ Patterns and collaborations: In recent years developers have come to appreciate more and more the value of designs based on proven solutions. Patterns
and collaborations allow the modelers to define standard approaches to solving common problems. A pattern may then be applied to a variety of specific
situations, bringing with it a combination of predefined roles and interactions.
Patterns and collaborations may be identified and defined at many levels of
abstraction, cataloged, and documented for others to use. This approach
brings reuse out of the realm of pure code and into every phase of the modeling effort, from requirements and architecture through implementation.
✦ Activity diagrams (for business process modeling): For years business and
technical staff have relied on the flowchart. UML renamed the flowchart to
Activity diagram. The Activity diagram is a simple yet effective tool to model
logic. Logic appears throughout the development process in workflow,
method design, screen navigation, calculations, and more. The value of the
Activity diagram cannot be overlooked so it has been incorporated into the
UML standard since the earliest versions. To bring it up to date, it has been
enhanced most recently with its own semantics, distinct from state machines,
to represent control flow and/or object flow.
✦ Refinement (to handle relationships between levels of abstraction): Many
concepts, such as classifiers and relationships, permeate all layers of systems
development, and the semantics for these concepts hold true regardless of
the business or technical environment. Each abstraction layer adds to, customizes, and otherwise refines the original definition. This approach supports
and in some ways encourages the development of varying applications of the
concepts at each new level of abstraction. The result of this approach has
been the development of an increasingly holistic set of models for systems
development, all founded on the same conceptual standard, but each tailored
to a unique perspective.
✦ Interfaces and components: One advantage of modeling is the ability to work
at different levels of abstraction instead of always working at the code level.
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Interfaces and components allow the modeler to work on a problem by focusing on the connectivity and communication issues that can help solve that
problem. The implementation or even the internal design of a component can
be ignored temporarily until the bigger issues of policy, protocol, interface,
and communication requirements are resolved. Working at this higher level of
abstraction produces a model that later can be, and often is, implemented in
multiple environments.
✦ Constraint language: The Object Constraint Language (OCL) provides the
syntax to define rules that insure the integrity of the model. Much of the constraint concept is borrowed from programming by contract, in which relationships between model elements are defined in terms of the rules that govern
an interaction. When two parties enter into a contract, the terms of the contract place obligations on the client (the person asking for a product or service) and the supplier (the one providing the product or service). Constraints
called pre-conditions define what the client must do in order to have the right
to receive the product or service. Constraints also define the obligations the
supplier must fulfill if the client fulfills her part. These constraints are called
post-conditions or guarantees. Constraints can also apply to individual elements to define the domain of valid values. (See Chapter 18.)
✦ Action semantics: The goal of UML has always been to model software as
accurately as possible. Modeling software means modeling behavior. The
action semantics extensions enable you to express discrete behaviors as
actions. Actions can transform information and/or change the system.
Furthermore, UML models actions as individual objects. As such, actions
may execute concurrently. In fact, that is their normal mode of execution
unless chained together to enforce sequential execution. Settling on concurrent execution as the norm better supports today’s distributed environments.
Action semantics is also a major contribution toward executable UML. (See
Chapter 19.)
Introducing UML 2.0
The next version of UML, 2.0, is due to be released sometime in 2003. Three proposals have been submitted. I have based the content of this book on those submissions and my expectation that they will be adopted in whole or in part. Version 2.0
is a substantial improvement of the underlying architecture, cleaning up many of
the fundamental definitions and improving the alignment with the other key technologies sponsored by the OMG.
I’ve outlined some of the specific objectives for version 2.0 set forth in the RFP. I
don’t expect beginners to UML to understand them from these very brief descriptions. The rest of this chapter explains many of the new terms. The rest of the book
is devoted to explaining how these concepts have been addressed in the diagrams
and in the semantics that support the diagrams. For those of you who have been
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working with UML for a while, these items should demonstrate the OMG’s commitment to the long-term success of UML.
Improve the architecture: Rework the physical metamodel so that it is more tightly
aligned with the MOF meta-metamodel. Improve the guidelines that establish what
constructs should be defined in the kernel language and what constructs should be
defined in UML profiles or standard model libraries. (See Chapter 2.)
Provide improved extensibility: Enhance the extensibility mechanisms to align
them more closely to a true “four-layer architecture.” Profiles provide much of the
customization support, at least in concept. But the extensibility features used to
create them (stereotypes, tagged values, and constraints) are still rather low-level.
UML extensibility features should align more closely with the MOF extensibility features, that is, metaclasses. (See Chapters 2 and 3.)
Improve support for component-based development: Current technologies such
as EJB and COM+ require a means to model and manage component-based designs.
The current semantics and notation are not quite up to the task. (See Chapters 15
through 17.)
Improve the modeling of relationships: Improve the semantics for «refinement»
and «trace» dependencies. Today it is difficult to support refinement of the models
through the life cycle of a project, that is, analysis to design or design to implementation. (See Chapter 6.)
Separate the semantics of statecharts and activity graphs: The initial UML specification tried to define activity graphs as a specialization of a statechart. The overlap
has created obstacles to business modeling and has prevented the addition of valuable business modeling features. Support more relaxed concurrency in both diagrams. Support specialization of state machines. (See Chapters 11 and 13.)
Improve model management: Update the notation and semantics for models and
subsystems to improve support for enterprise architecture views.
General mechanisms: Define support for model versioning.
The Object Management Group
The organization responsible for developing the UML goals described previously is
the Object Management Group (OMG). The OMG is the official steward of the UML
standard. This is not simply because the OMG likes standards or likes to take on
work, but because it is the driving force behind a much larger plan for software
development called Model-Driven Architecture (MDA). MDA is a genuinely ambitious effort to standardize systems development. The goal is to create a complete
standard for the creation of implementation-independent models that may be
mapped to any platform, present or future. Did I say it was ambitious?
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UML plays an integral role in the development and use of the MDA approach. UML
is the language used to describe the key standards of MDA, namely UML itself, the
Meta-Object Facility (MOF), and the Common Warehouse Model (CWM). UML is
also used to create the work products of the MDA process, specifically the business
and implementation models.
Model-Driven Architecture (MDA)
Developers usually find that there is a division in most applications between the
business logic and the implementation mechanisms to support that logic. For example, selling tickets to a performance is a business practice that could be implemented using any of dozens of technologies and techniques. But no matter how it is
implemented, there are fundamental rules that must hold true. If the rules for conducting the business transaction are bound to specific implementation technologies, then changes in those technologies require changes to the rules of the
transaction. Such changes incur the risk either of corrupting the transaction or of
causing delays while you untangle the business from the technology. This makes
even changing the application to take advantage of technological advancements a
risk to the business.
Model-Driven Architecture (MDA) separates the two fundamental elements of an
application into two distinct models. The platform-independent model (PIM)
defines business functionality and behavior, the essence of the system apart from
implementation technologies. The platform-specific model (PSM) maps the PIM to a
specific technology without altering the PIM. That last phrase is critical. Defining a
PIM is like defining the job description “bookkeeper”. We can define the purpose,
responsibilities, qualifications, and skills for the job, that is, the PIM, without knowing who will actually do the job. The PSM corresponds to hiring someone to do the
job defined by the bookkeeper job description.
This example highlights the power of the MDA approach. I can hire different people
over time. I can even hire multiple people at the same time to perform the bookkeeping duties. I can even take the job description to another company and use it
there. In the same manner, I should be able to take the same PIM and deploy it in
many technologies or even in different businesses.
The division of the two models also supports interoperability. A business function
does not need to know the implementation of another business function in order
to access it. The interface is defined in PIM fashion. The PSM takes care of the
mapping to the implementation. So the calling function is unaffected by changes
to the implementation of the called function. In the bookkeeper example, the
bookkeeper PIM/job description can define an interface to the general ledger.
Where or how the general ledger is implemented is irrelevant. The interface is
always the same. Whether I implement the bookkeeping system at a department
store, software consulting firm, or insurance company, and whether the system
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is implemented in .NET or Java One, the interaction between the bookkeeper and
the general ledger is the same. So, as technologies change over time, as they
inevitably will, the business remains stable and relatively unaffected by the
changes.
This same concept applies to functions that should be globally available to systems
such as transaction management, domain specific services, and application services. Having learned from its experience with the CORBA-based Object Management
Architecture, OMG recognizes the need for three levels of MDA-based specifications
built on the standardized technologies already defined by the OMG (see Figure 1-1):
✦ Pervasive Services include security, transaction management, directory support, and event generation and handling common to most systems.
✦ Domain Facilities include standardized models for subject areas such as telecom, space sciences, biotechnology, and finance.
✦ Applications are within a domain, such as a heart monitor in the biotechnology domain or a funds transfer application in a financial domain.
The core of the MDA is the set of standards (MOF, UML, CWM, and XMI) and technologies (CORBA, .NET, Java, and so on). The pervasive services are built on that
core. Then based on these standards and services, businesses can build domain
specific profiles for finance, e-commerce and so on. Within each domain, businesses
may then build specific applications that conform to the supporting standards.
Finance
E-Commerce
Manufacturing
SIVE SERVIC
RVA
ES
PE
CORBA
UML
TR
AN
SECURITY
XMI/XML
Model Driven
Architecture
M
JA
SA
OF
VA
CTI
Telecom
M
Space
DIRECTORY
B SERVICES
WE
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CW
T
.NE
ONS
EVE
NT
S
HealthCare
Transportation
More...
Figure 1-1: The Model-Driven Architecture.
©OMG
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The Pervasive Services
The features included in the Pervasive Services level are those commonly found in
the existing list of CORBA services:
✦ Directory services
✦ Transactions
✦ Event handling/notification
✦ Security
The list is sure to grow in time with additions from the OMG itself, based on
CORBA, and from OMG members. Work has already started on mapping these services to PIMs so that they can be applied to all platforms through the MDA development approach.
Domain Facilities
A domain is simply a subject area, such as warehousing and distribution, or
biotechnology. Each domain has its own peculiar set of problems and concepts. For
example, there are many banks but they all conduct the same type of business. The
resources they use, the behaviors they support, and even many of the regulations
that govern their performance are the same. The differences arise in how they
choose to embellish the basic business to appeal to their customers and to improve
profitability. A domain is the description of the fundamental elements common to
all systems in the same subject area. The uses of those fundamental elements
define the applications within the domain. These applications are covered in the
next section.
Work has already begun on a number of domain models. Even though MDA-based
standards for specific domains are still under development, OMG Domain Task
Forces (DTF) have started to apply MDA to existing projects. For example, OMG’s
Life Science Research DTF, working in biotechnology, has already modified its
Mission and Goals Statement to reflect its work in MDA. In mid-2000, even before
MDA, OMG’s Healthcare DTF (formerly know by its nickname, CORBAmed) published its Clinical Image Access Service (CIAS) (www.omg.org/cgi-bin/doc?dtc/
01-07-01) including a nonstandard UML model that describes the specification
written in OMG IDL. The document provides a good example of what a future
MDA specification might look like.
Note
In a true MDA specification, the model follows the UML standard and is fully developed, defining all interfaces and operations including parameters and types, and
specifying pre- and post-conditions in OCL.
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MDA Success Stories
Companies who have applied/are applying MDA include:
✦ Regions Bank of Birmingham, Alabama
✦ Swedish Parliament
✦ Deutsche Bank Bauspar AG
✦ U.S. Government Intelligence Agency
✦ The Open System Architecture for Condition Based Monitoring (OSA-CBM) Project
✦ CGI
✦ ff-eCommerce
✦ Swisslog Software AG
✦ Adaptive; Adaptive Framework
✦ Financial Systems Architects
✦ Headway Software; Headway review
✦ IKV++ GmbH; m2c(tm)
Applications
For years, businesses have started projects by modeling the business application requirements. As the projects proceeded, they fell deeper and deeper into
implementation-dependent modeling, often losing sight of the original business
requirements in the midst of the overwhelming task of working with ever-changing
implementation technologies. As MDA-based development tools become more
widely available, projects can be focused more on the platform independent model
of the business requirements. In fact, the focus throughout the project will remain
on the original requirements while the implementation becomes more and more
automated through the application of platform specific models.
Lest you think that this is a pipe dream, take a look at the list of companies in the
sidebar who are already using this technique successfully. Many more companies
are listed at www.omg.org/mda/products_success.htm.
Meta-Object Facility (MOF)
The Meta-Object Facility (MOF) is at the heart of the MDA strategy along with the
UML, CWM, CORBA, and XMI. It is the starting point, the standard that defines the
languages used to describe systems and MDA itself. The MOF is a metamodel (often
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called M2), a model defining the concepts required to build a model and to store
the model in a repository. The model is stored by representing the metadata as
CORBA objects.
CrossReference
Models, metamodels, and meta-metamodels are more fully explained in Chapter 2.
Currently the MOF defines all the foundation concepts needed to build the two
modeling languages UML and CWM. Now just to make this a little more confusing,
both UML and CWM are themselves metamodels. They are models that define modeling languages. When a metamodel like MOF is used to define another metamodel,
it becomes a meta-metamodel, or M3 for short. Since all elements defined by UML or
CWM conform to the MOF standard, it is possible to define a standardized repository for all data generated in UML or CWM or, in the future, any other languages
derived from MOF.
The model elements in the UML are created, or instantiated, from model elements
defined in the MOF. For example, the MOF defines the concept “Classifier.” UML
defines a concept called “Classifier” that inherits the description in the MOF and
then adds to it for the purpose of modeling objects. CWM also inherits “Classifier”
but for a different reason: CWM adds to the “Classifier” definition to support modeling data. Figure 1-2 illustrates this relationship between the three models.
<<metamodel>>
MOF
M3
<<instanceOf>>
M2
<<metamodel>>
UML
<<instanceOf>>
<<metamodel>>
CWM
Figure 1-2: The relationship between the MOF and the UML
and CWM languages.
©OMG 2.0
MOF is also part of the long-term OMG strategy to support the creation and
exchange of a variety of metamodels across diverse repositories. For example,
using the MOF, a UML model might be transmitted between tools by different vendors. Likewise, a UML object model might be ported to a data-modeling tool in
order to derive a logical data model from the object model.
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MOF supports this long-term strategy by providing
✦ The infrastructure for implementing CORBA-based design and reuse
repositories
✦ The definition for a set of CORBA IDL interfaces to define and manipulate
metamodels and the models created using them
✦ The rules for automatically generating the CORBA interfaces for metamodels,
thus insuring consistency
Common Warehouse Metamodel (CWM)
The Common Warehouse Model (CWM) was developed in cooperation with the
Meta-Data Coalition (MDC). The goal of CWM was to provide to the data modeling
community the same type of solution that UML provided to the object modeling
community. In the same way that UML describes a common modeling language for
building systems, CWM describes metadata interchange among data warehousing,
business intelligence, knowledge management, and portal technologies. Like UML,
CWM is a language derived from the MOF. CWM provides the mapping from MDA
PIMs to database schemas. CWM covers the full life cycle of designing, building,
and managing data warehouse applications and supports management of the life
cycle.
You can find the specifications for CWM at www.omg.org/technology/documents/
formal/cwm.htm. Two other specifications to extend CWM to the Internet are also
currently under way: CWM Web Services (www.omg.org/techprocess/meetings/
schedule/CWM_Web_Services_RFP.html) and CWM Metadata Interchange
Patterns (MIP) (www.omg.org/techprocess/meetings/schedule/CWM_MIP_
RFP.html).
XML Metadata Interchange (XMI)
At its simplest level, XMI defines a mapping from UML to XML. It defines standard
formats and Document Type Definitions (DTD) to capture UML models (and metamodels). This makes it possible to then convert a UML model into XML, distribute
it pretty much anywhere, and then convert it back to UML. The mapping also makes
it possible to exchange UML models between tools and across platforms.
CrossReference
You can read more about XMI in Chapter 22.
Technically, XMI mapping uses MOF metadata, not UML. But since UML is based
on the MOF metadata, anything defined by UML is compatible with XMI mapping
features. Additional work is being done to extend XMI to support W3C-standard
XML schema.
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Summary
UML grew out of the increasingly complex challenge to build systems that not only
met users’ requirements but that could withstand the ever-changing technological
environment. Change, complexity, and speed conspired to focus critical attention
on how to build robust, durable systems. One result was a standard language for
modeling systems, the Unified Modeling Language (UML).
But the desire for truly industry-capable tools to build systems did not stop there.
The OMG has continued to spearhead the effort to build a comprehensive strategy
in the form of Model-Driven Architecture (MDA).
There are a lot of languages involved in these strategies. Here’s how they all relate:
✦ The Meta Object Facility (MOF) defines a common meta-language for building
other languages.
✦ UML defines a meta-language, derived from the MOF, for describing objectoriented systems.
✦ The Common Warehouse Metamodel defines a meta-language, derived from
the MOF, for describing data warehousing and related systems.
✦ XML Metadata Interchange defines the means to share models derived from
the MOF.
✦
✦
✦
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