Author Topic: UML didn't trigger my brain  (Read 4548 times)

nf

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UML didn't trigger my brain
« on: October 16, 2005, 08:37:54 pm »
I've been reading UML diagrams since 1999. I can read all diagrams, I do understand what they say, I know what tay are for, and I actually did some work with UML... But I don't feel able to manage a project having UML as a main tool. I am a strong programmer, a fast
database designer and I managed large scale projects, all the way until deploy, were what I did was just some Use Case and a poor state diagram. My main difficulty is to understand when to build a UML diagram whit the information you get. Theatrically I can picture the UML but when I draw the diagrams they seam poor. I'm starting a new Project that one of requirements is to document all the project with UML, I'am afraid I'm not up to it. The question is "Who do you actually learn to use UML?"

thomaskilian

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Re: UML didn't trigger my brain
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2005, 12:53:51 am »
Just a bit like my current thread. I'm currently able to model in my backroom. That is:
  • I take requirements (right with UML bacause that's no wizzardry).
  • Also - in the meantime - I'm able to model Use Cases on the fly by interviewing stakeholders. It took a while and a lot of praxis to do that.
  • But for Domain Modelling I need the privacy of my backroom.
I'll definitely need some more projects and probably one or two years to also do that on the fly. I'm currently trying to include all techniques in a single project at home by organizing my music collection in a database. I will try to do everything from Use Cases to Deployment by myself. Taking lectures would be nice, but I won't get payed for that.

nf

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Re: UML didn't trigger my brain
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2005, 02:07:07 am »
Quote
Just a bit like my current thread.


That was my first read in this forum! Nice, but the main thread was
turned.

What I lack is experience. I can't go to my work acting like a UML
expert. It certainly would put me and my work in a dangerous
position. But if not in real world... where can I practice? Where is
my hello world?

I would like you to point me to the development of a simple but
compleat analise of a system. The point is for me to model the
system and to have a guideline. I think this is common problem,...

Or, am I just not getting UML.

thomaskilian

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Re: UML didn't trigger my brain
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2005, 03:38:21 am »
Funny world. I asked about UML and now they are talking about the dead ;D

I think I can't help you much in a short way. There is no silver bullet, unfortunately. I don't know of other ways to UML than the one I'm on.  I now can see the light at the end of the tunnel but it took me several years to get there (okay, UMLing was sort of a hobby for me most of the time). However, there's no reason to despair. UML will definitely be THE modelling language of the future.

mbc

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Re: UML didn't trigger my brain
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2005, 06:33:09 am »
I think that the main point about UML that most people miss in the beginning is that it is just a language, a notation. The UML standard do not offer a methodology or a way to progress with a project.
In order to use UML in a meaningful way you must have a process that tells you what to use it for. An example could be the Unified Process or one of its many variants.
If there is a silver bullet to learning how to use UML in the context of a process, it would be to get expert help. Go to a good course and get a consultant to assist you along the way in your project to keep you on track. How to identify a good course and a good consultant?  :-/

Best regards,
Mikkel

thomaskilian

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Re: UML didn't trigger my brain
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2005, 08:10:51 am »
Quote
... How to identify a good course and a good consultant?  :-/

Trial and error :'(

jeshaw2

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Re: UML didn't trigger my brain
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2005, 08:29:47 am »
The role of programmer and db developer is a difficult starting point for becoming a UMLer.  That is because developers and analysts think about things differently; developers live in the world of deductive reasoning, analysts live in the world of inductive reasoning.  I'm talking percentages here for there is some overlap.
Quote
from Wikipedia:
Deductive reasoning is inference in which the conclusion is of lesser or equal generality than the premises, as opposed to inductive reasoning, where the conclusion is of greater generality than the premises.


IMO, what you need to learn is the process of Abstraction through the use of Inductive reasoning.  Models are essentially an abstraction of a real-world problem domain and UML is just a modeling language that is useful in documenting and communicating such abstractions.  A good book that demonstrates inductive reasoning at a programmers level would be "Head First Design Patterns" by Freeman & Freeman, Pub. O'Reilly (ISBN 0-596-00712-4)  In this context, the nature of the design pattern is of lesser importance (there are many books on patterns) than the discussion of how the authors arrive at the pattern.

For an overview on one of several analytical processes which RUP/UML support, I would suggest Model Driven Architecture

Hope this helps...

Verbal Use Cases aren't worth the paper they are written upon.

nf

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Re: UML didn't trigger my brain
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2005, 02:15:36 pm »
I practiced a grate deal of abstraction while modeling database diagrams. And that, I am good at. Probably I have a long way until I get to the core of UML (as thomaskilian did) as I did in database modeling. I still have very high expectation on UML... I see in every days work that a good model is anchor of salvation to all the team work. I can just imagine working on a fully modulated project.

As always... The right book will save the day. I will take a look at "Head First Design Patterns" proposed by jeshaw2 (thanks a lot).

But there still is a big gap to be filled for UML, and that is a easy way to learn write UML as it is easy to learn read UML. "The simple will survive, the complex will die." and I think it ins't that complex... just not steping in the right spots.

Thank you all.

mbc

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Re: UML didn't trigger my brain
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2005, 12:45:37 am »
The book that started me off really understanding UML was "Applying UML and Patterns" by Craig Larman, and I still recommend this book to everyone that asks. Check it out.

Mikkel

davisford

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Re: UML didn't trigger my brain
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2005, 01:33:05 pm »
For me it is a combination of lots of things:

practice -- just like programming.  you can't become a good programmer by reading a book.  you have to have put in the hours, learned the pitfalls, and eventually you reach a plateau where you can write code in just about any language after you learn the syntax.  however, you can help speed up this process by reading lots of books in parallel.  i don't write a lot of code anymore -- but i keep reading programming books, b/c it keeps me sharp.  same with modeling.  you have to do a fair amount of it and you reach a plateau which should allow you to model using UML or SysML or BPML or whatever (once you learn the syntax).  

You can accomodate that practice with inspecting how others do it in parallel.  Consult many books.  I find the easiest way for me to learn something is reading the same topic from 3-4 different authors.  Books are expensive -- use Amazon used (cheap) or the library, or an online subscription like Safari.  Read Amazon reviews.  Some books that can kickstart thinking in UML (plus the ones previously mentioned):

UML 2 Toolkit (Wiley)
Unified Modeling Language User Guide (2nd Ed. Addison Wesley)
Unified Modeling Language Reference Guide (2nd Ed. Addison Wesley)
Business Modeling with UML (Wiley -- a different approach to UML for business process modeling)
...there are tons of them -- just get as many as you can and skim them here and there, and do lots of modeling yourself.

Thomas pointed out some home-based projects to doing more modeling (like modeling music database, etc.)

I actually had a silly kind of idea that I was going to do, but never followed through on it.  It would be cool if someone else did...

My idea was to create a BLOG site called "UML Diary" -- and I would basically model my day's events in UML (no text) using every and all feature of UML over time.  Each day would have one or two or three diagrams that kind of recorded what happened to me that day.  Try it out -- you'll get better at it fast.  When you find yourself looking up certain diagrams in the reference manual or the spec, and consulting books to see the best way to represent something like concurrency -- you're on your way to becoming a good modeler.

Have fun!

thomaskilian

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Re: UML didn't trigger my brain
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2005, 03:00:27 pm »
An UML BLOG - very strange ;D
Imagine what I did this day: first I consumed a lot of food (easy), then I killed my boss since he asked what I'm doing all day long (har har) and in the evening I produced a baby (yeah - with a real interface).  8) 8) 8)
I'd need a week or so to picture that in UML :P

davisford

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Re: UML didn't trigger my brain
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2005, 03:43:14 pm »
Thomas -- I think producing a baby could be shown very well through a deployment diagram, no?  ...as the baby represents your deployment.  Obviously, inheritance relationship seems logical here, as well...and on...and on.

thomaskilian

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Re: UML didn't trigger my brain
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2005, 05:43:26 pm »
Got me ;) But really tedious

mikewhit

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Re: UML didn't trigger my brain
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2005, 02:32:28 am »
I think the comments made about language are telling - people want to be able to "learn UML" just as they can learn the constructs of (e.g.) C#.

But it's no good getting someone "off the street" and teaching them by rote the C# constructs - they wouldn't really know what to do with them, whereas someone who had spent 5 years writing only FORTRAN ;-) would have a much better feel for how to use them.

In the same way, I had been programming for about 10 years (I started young ...) when I first read Yourdon & Constantine, and all those things immediately made a great deal of sense and seemed so right.

Someone new to programming reading the same book at that time would probably been rather nonplussed.

By the sound of things, you certainly have enough experience to get to grips with UML, but it depends on whether you have always "lived in the code", or have striven to see the "big picture": overview, architecture, abstractions, templates, generalisations.

UML starts to make sense and become intuitive when you start needing a whiteboard as well as a keyboardTM !!

Does any of that make sense ?

thomaskilian

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Re: UML didn't trigger my brain
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2005, 11:45:42 am »
That makes sense. Although I made the experience that tough FORTRAN programmer have real difficulties understanding objects. When I sudies informatics I had a lesson Software Engineering at Prof. Floyd (she's the wife of the Naur guy known from Backus-Naur). It was something like "Writing Classes in Cobol" (yuck!). Why Cobol? Simply, she said, because it's the most difficult approach - and if you make it there, you make it everywhere (Sinatra...) She was right :D

Unfortunately only a few survived :'(