The Past, Present, and Future of UML

The Past, Present, and Future of UML

Rebecca Platt (Murdoch University, Australia) and Nik Thompson (Curtin University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch651
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Since its inception, the Unified Modeling Language (UML) has risen to relative ubiquity in the IT community. However, despite its status as an ISO industry standard (International Organization for Standardization, 2005), the UML is still evolving to accommodate the changing needs of industry. This development aims to ensure that UML remains effective and relevant to the most current developments in software engineering techniques. This article charts the progress of this arguably indispensable standard and discusses the ongoing evolution in three sections: The Past, The Present, and The Future.
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The Unified Modeling Language is a form of notation that was developed with the core goal of creating a standardized representation of general-purpose models, with the focus of functionality of these primarily being for software engineering and systems development. Despite this main focus of approach in the specification design, the language is meant to attain some level of applicability regardless of the subject matter. The reason a modeling language was needed in order to achieve this was to manage the complexity of the subject at hand - whether it was system or software design or another subject entirely. As a model is by nature an abstraction of reality, it allows the user to characterize the design of the subject in an effective manner. This abstract model then enables the user to better evaluate the subject and communicate that in an efficient and meaningful way rather than attempting to demonstrate their intentions using the actual software or system in question. In order to achieve this intended core goal the language has been modified and refined over time, resulting in evolutions of varying effectiveness and popularity.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Software Engineering: The application of systematic methods and approaches for the development and maintenance of software artifacts.

Unified Modeling Language: A form of notation developed with the core goal of creating a standardized representation of general-purpose models, with the focus of functionality primarily being for software engineering.

Object Management Group: An organization created with the goal to determine a standard method of communication between distributed objects.

OOPSLA: “Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages and Applications” – an annual research conference run by the Association for Computing Machinery.

Specification: The set of requirements that must be satisfied in order for any model to comply with the current standards of UML.

Model: A conceptual diagram used to represent a system.

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