Has anyone used UML?

John Bell jbellprj at iinet.net.au
Sun Jun 3 17:51:44 CEST 2001

Hi Frank,

I've used a couple of formal methodologies in my time and am just getting into
UML.  The book that I'm reading is by the authors of UML:  "The Unified
Modeling Language User Guide" Grady Booch, James Rumbaugh and Ivor Jacobsen;
Addison Wesley Longman;  ISBN 0-201-57168-4.  This is a decent starting point.
They also do a UML Reference Manual (ISBN 0-201-30998-X) which I haven't
bought.  They're both part of a HUGE series (about 60 books) by AWL on the

An important point is that UML is only part of the overall methodology they
recommend.  All three authors work for Rational Software (the people who make
Rational Rose, the leading commercial UML product) who recomend an approach
documented in "The Unified Software Development Process" (Same authors ISBN
0-201-57169-2) which I also haven't read.

If you're interrested in Software then I know of the following that's not in
the commercial arena:

* I read the other day that the new version of dia (0.88.1) to some degree
supports UML for Python specifically!  I downloaded it yesterday (from
Sourceforge I think) but haven't looked at it yet.

* There are a couple of Python specific UML projects underway on sourceforge
but they seem to be pre-alpha.

* When I bought the Workstation Deluxe version of Redhat 7.0 there was some S/W
called metaedit+ included that is a major league UML kit.  See
www.metacase.com.  Note that this was 7.0.  I haven't got my 7.1 set yet and
don't know if it's included.

The key site to look at (if you haven't already) is www.omg.com (click on the
UML icon.

As I said I'm pretty early in the process of looking at all this.  I've gone
through the tutorial that comes with Metaedit+ and I'm about half way through
the UML User Guide.  My first impressions are that this is a GOOD THING.  I
gave up seat of the pants programming when I left uni but have found my normal
methodologies don't work so well with Python.  I'm always retrofitting classes
rather than designing from a class based approach.  This often leads to massive
rewrites that are wasteful.  Luckily my Python work is for my own business
rather than for a customer!  I'm hopeful that UML will lead to me writing
better Python the first time.


Frank Millman wrote:

> After 15 years of designing applications using the good old "seat of the
> pants" method, I have decided that, if I am to move forward, I need a more
> formal methodology.
> I have recently read about UML (Unified Modelling Language), a
> standards-based method of designing and documenting any software project. It
> looks interesting, but it seems to have a steep learning curve.
> Does anyone have any knowledge or experience of UML that they would like to
> share?
> Frank Millman


John Bell

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