UML (Unified Modeling Language)
UML is an object-oriented modeling language well-suited for the representation of business processes. Unlike domain-specific language, UML is a universal descriptive language. It defines naming, relationships and graphic notation for terminology, structures and procedures.
Independent of the development method being used, UML is a graphic-oriented standard in software development and one of the foremost languages for business software modelling.
With the help of terms (such as classes) and their inter-relationships, specific reusable models can be drawn up. These can be either completely or partially expressed in diagrammatic form. Diagrams of differing complexity present the relevant elements of the model, including their connections and relationships (up to software-architecture level), either as structures, or processes and/or behaviours.
UML currently offers thirteen diagram types:
- Six structure diagrams – such as according to class, component, distribution
- Seven behavioural diagrams – such as according to activity, use-case or sequence
The borders between the different diagram types are often fluid. A variety of UML tools are at one's disposal for diagram creation.
Both XMI (XML Metadata Interchange) and UML 2.0 DI (Diagram Interchange) include standardised exchange formats for models and diagrams. Models can also be communicated in program code, embedded in the developmental environment or transformed.
The advantage of UML, particularly diagrammatic visualization, is that the models being defined are thus comprehensible to and can be followed by the client. This encourages efficient communication between the project's developers and its users, which leads to faster and better results.