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UML 2 diagrams and guidelines

Scott Ambler has an excellent set of pages on the diagrams of UML 2.0. Each diagram has an entire page on what the diagram shows and a set of diagram guidelines. The learning priorities are right on, too. Here’s the table:



Learning Priority

Activity Diagram

Depicts high-level business processes, including data flow, or to model the logic of complex logic within a system.  See UML Activity diagram guidelines.


Class Diagram

Shows a collection of static model elements such as classes and types, their contents, and their relationships.  See UML Class diagram guidelines.


Communication Diagram

Shows instances of classes, their interrelationships, and the message flow between them. Communication diagrams typically focus on the structural organization of objects that send and receive messages.  Formerly called a Collaboration Diagram.  See UML Collaboration diagram guidelines.


Component Diagram

Depicts the components that compose an application, system, or enterprise. The components, their interrelationships, interactions, and their public interfaces are depicted.  See UML Component diagram guidelines.


Composite Structure Diagram

Depicts the internal structure of a classifier (such as a class, component, or use case), including the interaction points of the classifier to other parts of the system.   


Deployment Diagram

Shows the execution architecture of systems.  This includes nodes, either hardware or software execution environments, as well as the middleware connecting them.  See UML Deployment diagram guidelines.


Interaction Overview Diagram

A variant of an activity diagram which overviews the control flow within a system or business process.   Each node/activity within the diagram can represent another interaction diagram.   


Object Diagram

Depicts objects and their relationships at a point in time, typically a special case of either a class diagram or a communication diagram. 


Package Diagram

Shows how model elements are organized into packages as well as the dependencies between packages.  See Package diagram guidelines.


Sequence Diagram

Models the sequential logic, in effect the time ordering of messages between classifiers.  See UML Sequence diagram guidelines.


State Machine Diagram

Describes the states an object or interaction may be in, as well as the transitions between states. Formerly referred to as a state diagram, state chart diagram, or a state-transition diagram.  See UML State chart diagram guidelines.


Timing Diagram

Depicts the change in state or condition of a classifier instance or role over time.  Typically used to show the change in state of an object over time in response to external events. 


Use Case Diagram

Shows use cases, actors, and their interrelationships.  See UML Use case diagram guidelines.


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2 Responses to UML 2 diagrams and guidelines

  1. Dave says:

    Ah, excellent find. Thanks.

  2. Nice set of links into Scott’s work. Thanks!

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