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by Pierre-alain Muller
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Instant UML is a handy introduction to the Unified Modeling Language (UML) as well as the fundamentals of software engineering. Though necessarily schematic at points, this handy guide is perfect for those readers with a little design experience under their belts who want to get a handle on UML quickly.
The book first tours the evolution of software engineering with the emergence of the UML standard over the last few years, describing how formerly there were a variety of competing software methodologies until UML became the standard backed by the Object Management Group (OMG) and most big vendors. Alongside this material, the author argues for the necessity of software engineering.
A tour of basic object-oriented concepts follows--from classes and inheritance to collaboration and polymorphism--with UML diagrams to illustrate each concept. Next, the book gives a short and sweet explanation of UML notation, such as class, use case, sequence, collaboration, statechart, and deployment diagrams. (Useful appendices even contain the implementation of UML in several programming languages, including C++ and Java.)
The book proceeds to project lifecycles, comparing the older waterfall approach to software development with today's iterative approach. Instant UML closes with a case study of an access-control system for small building, in which all the relevant UML diagrams are provided. (This sample project is especially good at showing use case diagrams--the "actors" here are the security guards and entrants to the hypothetical building.) In all, this title gives a quick tour in a comprehensible fashion. First published in French, the English translation is perfectly readable and not overladen with jargon. --Richard Dragan
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