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UML vs Flow Charting

Travis Gibson
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Joined: Oct 17, 2000
Posts: 100
Fellow Ranchers
I have heard a lot of ramblings about UML, Rational Rose, ect. They almost seem to be the buzz words of the IT industry right now.
But since you don't actually code from UML how is it any better than standard IT flowcharting? I mean, with flowcharting you can actually describe the flow or interaction of modules.
It is my understanding(Which is still kind of basic at this point) that UML can be used to describe state as opposed to logic flow of modules but in the real world is that necessary a better thing?
I know from my standpoint describing a class works gives me a better design view(flowcharting) than describing the state of the class.
Please help me in trying to understand the difference.
Travis M Gibson, SCJP

Regards,<BR>Travis M. Gibson, SCJP<BR>Java Developer<BR><BR>
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Joined: Nov 22, 2008
Posts: 18944
It depends at what stage of the project you are using which portion of UML. During Inception I can see that UML does not give the entire picture to the user. At this phase, Actor Diagrams and Use Cases are recommended in UML. Frankly speaking, the project sponsors can relate better to Data Flow Diagrams. Class Diagrams, Sequence Diagrams and Collaboration Diagrams are useful later on during Elaboration and primarily during contruction.
Is flowcharting similar to Activity Diagrams and State Diagrams in UML?
Laojar Chuger
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Joined: Dec 20, 2000
Posts: 111
Stick to flowchart if you are doing procedural programming.
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
The "activity diagram" does sort of fill the role of the flowchart. But a flowchart doesn't show interaction between classes and that is the key to object oriented programming. With UML, we identify candidate classes and then show how they interact with each other in a sequence diagram. That is 1,000x more likely to lead to good oo design than working with flow charts.

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John Wetherbie

Joined: Apr 05, 2000
Posts: 1449
Well, you can generate code in Rose from a UML diagram. But I personally wouldn't recommend it.
I think about high-level flows/interactions for a program or system at the beginning of a project but don't draw actual flowcharts at all. I do lots of use cases, sequence diagrams, and class diagrams. I don't really think I've needed to do a flow chart on any of the projects I've done (all OO in C++ or Java).
As Erich pointed out you could use flow charts to present a high-level description of what is going on in the system.

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Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
I would use Rose to generate class skeletons after I have developed my sequence diagrams.
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
I was thinking about this issue and the fact is that in a well-designed, well-partitioned application, the sequence diagram provides even more informaation than a flow chart ever could. Flow charts are pointless other than for explaining a use case and developing a test script.
I agree. Here's the link:
subject: UML vs Flow Charting
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