Tuesday, November 20, 2007

[Pub] Modeling Complex Systems with UML (ICEIS)

The development of complex systems calls for appropriate tools; however, at an the beginning of a project powerful tools that enforce too much formalism early on may hinder designers more than they provide support. For sketching UML draft models the Open Source tool UMLet has become quite popular and warrants an evaluation of the tool’s usability compared to industry standard tools.

Ludwig Meyer presented the paper "Explorative UML Modeling: Comparing the Usability of UML Tools" at the 2007 ICEIS in Funchal/Madeira.

The paper argues that there are three main ways UML tools are used in large scale software engineering:
  1. to exploratively sketch key system components during initial project stages
  2. to manage large software systems by keeping design and implementation synchronized
  3. to extensively document a system after implementation
Professional tools cover (3) to some extent, and attempt to cover (2), but the vast number of programming languages, frameworks and deployment procedures makes those tasks all but impossible. By aiming at these two goals, tools must enforce formal UML language constructs more rigorously and thus become more complicated. The can become unsuitable for (1).

The paper discusses explorative UML modeling and compares the industry standard Rational Rose and the open-source UML sketching tool UMLet (available at http://www.umlet.com). It defines usability measures and assesses both tools' performance using 16 representative use cases that are typical to the creation and modification of UML diagrams.

Dindin Wahyudin (Edited by Alexander Schatten)

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