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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Available from: Colin Atkinson
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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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    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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