Conference Paper

Stereotypical Encounters of the Third Kind.

DOI: 10.1007/3-540-45800-X_9 Conference: UML 2002 - The Unified Modeling Language, 5th International Conference, Dresden, Germany, September 30 - October 4, 2002, Proceedings
Source: DBLP


As one of the UML’s main extension mechanisms, stereotypes play a crucial role in the UML’s ability to serve a wide and growing
base of users. However, the precise meaning of stereotypes and their intended mode of use has never been entirely clear and
has even generated much debate among experts. Two basic ways of using UML stereotypes have been observed in practice: one
to support the classification of classes as a means of emulating metamodel extensions, the other to support the classification
of objects as a means of assigning them certain properties. In this paper we analyze these two recognized stereotype usage
scenarios and explain the rationale for explicitly identifying a third form of usage scenario. We propose some notational
concepts which could be used to explicitly distinguish the three usage scenarios and provide heuristics as to when each should
be used. Finally, we conclude by proposing enhancements to the UML which could support all three forms cleanly and concisely.

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    ABSTRACT: Graphical modeling is becoming an increasingly important part of software engineering as it provides means of increasing productivity by raising the level of abstraction in software devel-opment. One of the most widely adopted modeling notations is the Unified Modeling Language (UML) which has gained popularity due to its generality and broad applicability. Despite its advantages, this general purpose notation is burdened with the lack of purpose specific model-ing abstractions. The modeling abstractions in the language lack specialized properties and thus models might not precisely express the intentions of the modeler. In consequence, this leads to ineffectiveness of using models in UML. This thesis presents research aimed at improving modeling with UML. By exploiting the language customization mechanisms inherent in UML – stereotypes and profiles – the research presented in the thesis explores such aspects of improving modeling as creating language cus-tomizations or using a customized modeling language. The context, in which the modeling is considered, is delineated by the principles of model driven software development (MDD). The principles recognize the usage of models as the primary artefacts in software development thus providing a solid foundation for considering the use of models in software development. One of the contributions in the thesis is the identification and definition of factors determin-ing the successful realization of MDD in industry. These factors provide means of positioning language customization in the forefront of MDD. Another contribution in the thesis is eliciting and prioritizing a set of criteria for choosing between language customization mechanisms, which is a result of another industrial case study. A series of experiments in academic and industrial environments showed the magnitude of improvements to be expected after replacing a standard modeling language with a customized modeling notation. This series of experiments provided a basis for experimenting with stereo-types and software inspections which indicated a considerable increase in effectiveness of the reading techniques used in software inspections after replacing a standard notation with a cus-tomized one. The results from all empirical studies affected the development of quality assessment crite-ria for stereotypes. The criteria and the exploration of several existing profiles led to the devel-opment of guidelines for creating “good” stereotypes by analyzing existing UML profiles. An additional contribution in the thesis is exploring the usage of an alternative mechanism to stereo-types – model libraries – for adaptation of a modeling language. The way in which model librar-ies can be created in an efficient way is studied by creating a method for extracting knowledge from ontologies into UML domain models. The results of the research presented in the thesis show how to improve modeling with UML by customizing the language with stereotypes. The main contribution is the exploration and evaluation of issues related to creating language customizations and using the customized language.
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    ABSTRACT: The Unified Modeling Language (UML) is a visual modeling language for documenting and specifying software. It is gaining popularity as a language for a variety of purposes. It was designed as a result of a unifying activity in the last decade. Since this general purpose language cannot suit all possible needs, it has built-in mechanisms for providing extensibility for specific purposes. One such mechanism is the notion of stereotype, which is a means of branding the existing model element with a new semantics. Such extended elements can then act as new model elements as if they were standard model elements. This notion is only one of the possible ways of customizations of the language. The other, more powerful technique is metamodeling, which enables to change UML by directly changing its specification. The thesis investigates the notion of stereotype in UML both from theoretical and practical perspectives. It examines the notion of stereotype as it originally appeared in object-oriented software development as a means of branding objects according to their secondary classification in the system. The initial intent behind stereotypes is compared with the view of stereotypes in UML and similar languages, which later on provides a basis for an understanding of a stereotype in the thesis. The thesis elaborates on a classification of stereotypes from the perspective of their usage. The classification categorizes different usages of stereotypes in different situations. Based on the classification, one such usage is evaluated in an empirical way. The evaluation is done in the form of an experiment on how the stereotypes influence the understanding of UML models. An example of a customization of UML for a conceptual database model is presented. It is a basis for a study on the expressiveness of stereotypes in the context of persistency modeling in objectoriented software. Two ways of the introduction of the stereotypes into the software development process (dependent and independent of UML tools) are outlined.The thesis contains also a presentation of how the knowledge expressed as ontology can be imported into domain models expressed in UML. This research can be seen as a further study on the customization of UML towards usage of ontology-based knowledge.
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    ABSTRACT: The notion of stereotype was introduced in UM L as a means of enabling extension and customization of the language. The proper inclusion of stereotypes into the software development process can improve the understandability of the model and enable automatization of certain tasks in the software development. Based on a classification of the uses of the stereotype notion presented in the paper, practical suggestions how stereotypes can be introduced into development process - starting from formal specification ending with customization of a tool - is recalled. The two techniques of introduction of the stereotypes into UM L designs - dependent and independent of UML-tools - are presented. The paper also draws a set of requirements for UM L tools, which enable effective introduction of stereotypes.
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