Unified Modeling Language: Making Visualization Easier

If you are into system or software development, you would know that the process is anything but easy. With so many visualizations swirling around in one’s head, it is often hard to get the same in front on the table. There could actually be a number of reasons behind that, the lack of form of expression models being one of the major one. The Unified Modeling Language (UML) is the software language that has been developed to further help streamline those shortcomings.

If you have been inquisitive about the same and want to know better about UML and the types and applications of it in the day to day life, scroll down.

What is Unified Modeling Language?

To explain in simpler terms, the Unified Modeling Language is a type of modeling language developed for the system and software developers to help visualize, construct and illustrate the various sectors of the software system along with other business models as well.

It consists of some of the complex inclusion and string of engineering practices that help simplify the complex structures into easier ones to help better conversion. The UML is one of the pillars when it comes round to the development of object oriented software.

It mainly includes the use of graphical representations to further ease the process of application and making the process even easier to access. It comes in handy for large team based work because it helps foster better communication between the team and even help in generating better designs and validate better results in the end.

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Where did it all start?

Talking about the origin of UML is actually a bit confusing for some. The main reason why UML was developed was to help provide with a standard notation for some of the object oriented methods around. It has been made for a broader range of applications, making it a very hyped language that the developers are using nowadays.

It was the collaborative efforts of Jim Rumbaugh and Ivar Jacobson that made the Unified Modeling Language a possibility in today’s world. While they created the stepping stone, the language has further undergone a number of changes and developments that has further polished it for better implementation.

Why use UML?

This is a common question that lingers around in several people’s mind. If you don’t have the concept of UML clarified, chances are that you are going to have a hard time understanding why it is worth your time.

With the growing need and demand of better software in the market, the developers and even brands alike are finding ways to automate the production of software to further contribute to unnecessary cost cutting and better results in terms of accuracy.

Apart from that, the businesses are also finding ways to manage the growing complexity of the situations around, further requiring the need for UML. The growth of the World Wide Web, or the Internet, as we like to call it is another contributing factor behind the ever rising architectural problems.

The UML was specifically designed and developed to cater to all these industry needs. While there are several applications and benefits of the UML, we are going to walk you through some of the most basic yet effective ones.

i. Better hand at sketching

As we did mention before, UML is often used for better diagramming and implementation of the thoughts into visual mediums for people to witness and assess. This helps in better communication with various parts of the system. UML makes it possible for better blending of the necessary details that are important to execute a project completely.

Some of the design possibilities included in this are the forward sketching and the backward sketching. In the forward sketching, the design is whipped up before the coding is even done. This helps in generating a better outlook on the workflow and the view on the system and how it would look like on completion. This also helps bring out the flaws beforehand which can then be fixed.

In the backward design, the UML diagram is done after the code has been written. This is mainly done to document the process better and keep a track of all the roles and the jobs involved in the workflow.

ii. Generation of blueprints

Another common reason why UML is so popularly in use because of its implementation in blueprint generation. It provides with an overall complete design of the system or software and helps in better implementation of the same. It is predominantly done with the use of Computer Aided Software Engineering Tools, otherwise known as CASE.

The only problem with the usage of these tools is the fact that they require a dignified level of expertise along with proper training to ensure effective implementation.

iii. Pseudo programming language

The last but possibly one of the most important reasons why UML is such a used form of language is because it is a pseudo programming language. It has not like a mainstream standalone program. In order to achieve better success with this, it is necessary to document the process in a different UML diagram for better representation. If one uses the correct software, the diagrams can even be transformed into codes later. This further helps in streamlining the process of writing the codes in a record time.

Types of Unified Modeling Language

When it comes to UML, there are around 14 available types which are further divided on the basis of structural diagrams and behavioural diagrams.

Structural DiagramsBehavioural Diagrams
Class DiagramUse Case Diagram
Component DiagramActivity Diagram
Deployment DiagramState Machine Diagram
Object DiagramSequence Diagram
Package DiagramCommunication Diagram
Profile DiagramInteraction Overview Diagram
Composite Structure DiagramTiming Diagram

Let us walk you through each of them in brief, shall we?

Structural UML Diagrams

1. Class diagram

UML Class Diagram

These are the types of diagrams which are primarily done for find object oriented solutions. They help showcase the breakdown of a solution in terms of attributes, operations and systems along with the procuring relationship between them all.

For the most part, a class has three distinct parts in it. It includes the name at the very top, followed by the attributes and then the operation model. In larger solutions, the classes are grouped together to create class diagrams.

2. Component diagram

UML Component Diagram

When it comes down to the component diagram, it is used for better structural representations of the relationship of the components involved in a single system. These kinds of diagrams are predominantly favoured for the complex systems involved in work.

They include interfaces for communication which are then linked with connectors for better rendition of the relationships involved.

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3. Deployment diagram

UML Deployment Diagram

Deployment diagram is the next one in the list which is responsible to graphically show the hardware of the system. It is used for the representation of the software in the hardware as well. This form of diagram is predominantly used for better graphical representation of the software solution when it is integrated into multiple machines across, each with an unique configuration.

4. Object diagram

UML Object Diagram

Often otherwise termed as Instance diagrams, object diagrams are mainly a lot similar like the class diagrams. They are used to represent and depict the relationship between the objects in question but the same represents the same with the real life examples.

The main objective with this diagram is to provide one with a real time knowledge of how their system will look like in a given time. They come with imbibed data in them which further helps in better understanding of the complex relationships between the objects.

5. Package diagram

UML Package Diagram

Just like the name of the diagram suggests, the package diagrams are used to relate and depict the dependency of the packages involved in a system.

6. Profile diagram

UML Profile Diagram

Coming round to the next one which is the Profile diagram. It is predominantly a new variant of diagram which has recently been introduced under the UML 2. Owing to it still being in the stage of infancy, its application in the day to day systems isn’t that predominant.

7. Composite structure diagram

UML Composite Structure Diagram

As weird and confusing as this might see like, the composite structure diagrams are used to further elaborate on the objects involved in individual classes. In simpler words, it is mainly used to further showcase and understand the internal structure of the class.

Behavioural UML Diagrams

8. Use case diagram

UML Use Case Diagram

This is one of the most popular modes of behavioural diagrams in UML. It helps provide with a clear and better graphical overview of the characters involved in the system. The same also highlights the kind of functions they indulge in along with the implementations of those said function. It is a perfect diagrammatic representation for the project discussion and identifying some of the main processes involved in the said project.

9. Activity diagram

UML Activity Diagram

Just as the name suggests, activity diagram is used to create a diagrammatic representation of the involved workflow in a graphical way. They are mainly used to help understand the business workflow in the form of a flow chart and can even be used as an alternative for the state machine diagrams.

10. State Machine Diagram

UML State Machine Diagram

The State machine diagram is a lot similar to the activity diagrams and is predominantly used to express the behaviour of the objects in accordance to the kind of state that they are in. They are also alternatively known as state chart diagrams at times.

11. Sequence Diagram

UML Sequence Diagram

The next one on the list is the Sequence diagram which is mainly used to provide with a better graphical representation of how the objects interact with one another and even help keep track of the order in which those interactions have happened. They are mainly used to help depict the representation of a interaction involved in a given scenario.

12. Communication Diagram

UML Communication Diagram

They are also often known as the collaboration diagrams and are used to highlight the kind of message that are being passed along the objects in a given system.

13. Interaction Overview Diagram

UML Interaction Overview Diagram

They resemble the activity diagram a lot but they differ in the way that they emphasize solely on the representation of the sequence of interactions while the activity one shows the series of processes involved.

14. Timing Diagram

UML Timing Diagram

Last but not the least on the list of the types of UML has to be the timing diagram which are responsible for providing with a better insight on the behaviour of the objects in a system in a given time period.

UML Diagram Symbols

While drawing the UML diagram, it is important that you are aware of some of the basic symbols involved in it. Knowing these help ensure better graphical representation and understanding of the drawings. Some of the most important ones include:

For Public For Public
For Private For Private
For Protected For Protected
For Derived For Derived
For Package For Package
Generalization Generalization
Inheritance Inheritance
Composition Composition
Aggregation Aggregation
Dependencies Dependencies
Properties Properties
Multiplicity Multiplicity

UML is gaining popularity over the course of time. If you have been on the lookout for a comprehensive idea about Unified Modeling Language, we hope this is more than enough.

All the above images source: https://www.visual-paradigm.com/

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