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Getting to know Stereotyping

Introducing Stereotyping

Stereotypes are one of the Unified Modeling Language Extension Mechanism that can be used to create a new type of element based on an existing UML element type. There are many cases where things of interest in a particular industry or domain would benefit from being defined as a type. The stereotyped elements often add clarity to a model and are meaningful to a model audience who is familiar with their domain. Examples include a 'contract' stereotype in the legal profession, a 'policy' stereotype in the compliance profession or a 'meter' stereotype in the energy distribution industry.

Business Analysis with stereotyped requirements in Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect

Where to find Stereotyping

Defining Stereotypes

Ribbon: Configure > Reference Data > UML Types > Stereotypes

Using Stereotypes

Element Properties Sheet: Stereotype

Usage of Stereotyping

Stereotypes can be used to help define canonical things in a domain. Once defined the stereotypes can be applied to the elements in a repository to make the elements more meaningful and recognizable to an audience. The use of images and shapes can make the resulting models even more appealing and understandable to audiences. Care should be taken not to overuse the facility as it can lead to fragmentation of meaning and also can result in models that are not understood by external audiences.

Options for Stereotyping

Stereotypes can have a number of appearance settings applied that help to distinguish the element type. These include changing the default colors of the element, or changing the appearance by assigning an image or a new shape to elements with the applied stereotype. The image is best defined in a vector format such as a metafile, so that when it is resized the image doesn't become pixilated. A Shape Script can be defined that uses a user defined script to draw the element, effectively allowing any style of element to be drawn and conditionally adding graphic features based on properties and Tagged Values.

Setting the properties for an in-model stereotype in Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect.

Learn more about Stereotyping