Inside UML Version 2.0

The Unified Modeling Language is a visual modeling language used for creating maps of complex systems. In much the same way an architect drafts a blueprint for a new building, a project manager can use UML to document how a new system will be constructed, or how it will run. A system can be anything from a software program to the IT infrastructure of an entire agency.

According to Jon Siegel, vice president of technology transfer for the Object Management Group, the nonprofit industry consortium that oversees UML development, some of the most notable new features of version 2.0 include:

Nested Classifiers: This feature allows users to embed a set of classes within another set of classes. Someone can build a simple high-level model of a system, then embed more detailed views of discrete operational components. For instance, a high-level diagram of an entire agency can contain additional descriptions of the operations of each department. Likewise, those department modules could list all the software used by that department.

Improved Behavioral Modeling: OMG unified all the different UML models for describing behaviors through the introduction of a basic behavioral element. A behavior is how an object interacts with other objects within a system.

Improved relationship between structural and behavioral models: OMG has developed a way to tie together structural and behavioral diagrams, allowing users to do such things as merge activity diagrams into one metamodel. 'You can say in your model that this behavior represents the behavior of this class or component,' Siegel said.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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