UML Modeling for C++ with UModel

C++ is one of the most powerful and efficient programming languages available, the de facto choice for high-performance computing, server applications, and complex architectures that demand the most powerful language constructs. The Unified Modeling Language™ (UML®) is the standard to design, visualize, and document models of software systems implemented in C++ and other source code languages.

Altova UModel competes with even the most advanced UML modeling tools with complete code engineering support in UML modeling for C++. UModel includes: C++ code generation from models, reverse engineering C++ code to generate UML models, and round-trip engineering to update revisions to either C++ code and UML models.

Model transformation even lets developers convert an existing UML model designed for Java, C#, or Visual Basic to support C++.

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Software Modeling for Projects of Any Size

UModel is Altova’s tool for software modeling with support for all 14 UML diagrams, additional UML-style diagrams for databases and XML Schemas, plus Business Process Modeling (BPM), and SysML. UModel 2016 Release 2 adds code engineering support for C# 6.0, complementing support for Java, Visual Basic, and earlier versions of C#. Creating a UML model from existing code can be a great way to analyze and document an unfamiliar project.


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Model Driven Architecture with Altova UModel

For Version 2012, UModel introduces Model Driven Architecture (MDA), with platform-independent models and a Model Transformation feature that transforms all code relevant modeling elements to and from UML, C#, Visual Basic, Java, databases, and XML Schema. Model Transformation A Model Driven Architecture approach to software engineering with platform independent models provides two primary advantages:

  • During the design phase, developers do not need to be concerned with the details and variations between software languages
  • An existing UModel project can be transformed from one source code language to another. For instance, a UML model for a C# application can become a Java or Visual Basic project

Users can even apply model transformation to projects that were reverse engineered from existing source code. For instance, an existing Java application can be reverse-engineered by UModel then transformed to generate Visual Basic classes, and many other possibilities are available. Model Transformation dialog in Altova UModel Platform Independent Models Model Driven Architecture is a set of standards and methods for applying the UML (Unified Modeling Language) administered by the Object Management Group. In Model Driven Architecture, the UML model of a software project is a platform independent model (PIM) that can be fully described without concern for the details of any specific programming language. This development strategy allows software architects and other developers to focus exclusively on logic required by the subject domain, rather than characteristics of any programming language. Data Type Mapping During model transformation, UModel maps data types from the source to the target to accommodate differences between languages. The Type Mapping dialog lets you review or even edit type mapping pairs. Type mapping for UML model transformation UModel also automatically adds the target language profile to the transformed project. UML Class Diagrams As part of the model transformation, UModel creates new UML classes and class diagrams for the target, reflecting classes and class diagrams in the original project. The screen shot below shows the Hierarchy of Account diagram for Visual Basic after model transformation from Java. The new Account class in the new folder named VB Target in the model tree contains Visual Basic syntax for all properties and operations. For instance, the new balance property is defined as the Visual Basic Single data type, whereas in Java the data type was float. After transformation, the original Account class for Java is preserved in the model in its original location in the model tree. The original UML design for Java will now generate code in multiple source code languages – Java and Visual Basic. UModel class diagram and Model Tree Persistent Transformation Parameters The transformation paradigm extends to updating existing transformations and merging the updates into the specified target models. Transformation parameters are stored in a Model Transformation Profile in the model. The Transformation Profile can be set to run transformations automatically before forward engineering code generation, and/or after reverse engineering, to update elements for one target language based on changes to model elements for another. UModel transformation parameters stored with model These Transformation Profile settings can also be changed at any time. UModel Transformation Profile settings This functionality lets UModel automate much of the maintenance of multiple source code languages as your cross-platform model evolves. If you’d like to try out Model Driven Architecture and model transformation with UModel 2012, you can download a free 30-day trial.

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UML Class Diagrams in Altova UModel

Altova products have long been recognized for their rich, intuitive user interface. One example is the UModel diagram window, which includes multiple display options for class diagrams to facilitate ease of use and improve information clarity in objected-oriented models. Class diagram style for projects that generate .NET (C# and Visual Basic) application code UModel 2011 Release 3 includes a new option for displaying class diagrams for .NET programmers. If your project will generate source code in .NET programming languages (C# or Visual Basic), your classes may contain .NET properties that can be called from outside like attributes, but are implemented internally as methods. To better organize .NET classes, UModel offers an option to display .NET properties and methods in separate operations compartments inside classes. UML class diagram for .NET This view is an optional setting in the Styles helper window for class diagram display and editing. Choosing to display separate .NET properties compartments or a single traditional UML operations compartment has no influence on code generated from the class.

View or Hide Class Properties and Operations Developers can collapse Properties and Operations compartments using convenient grab handle tools along the right edge. They can also customize the display of classes to show or hide individual class properties and operations. The right-click context menu offers a Visible Elements dialog for any selected class. UML class diagram showing properties and operations

Altova UModel visible elements dialog

This feature lets users simplify the diagram to focus on the properties and operations relevant to the task at hand. Hidden items are indicated by ellipses. UML class diagram with some properties and operations hidden Clicking on an ellipsis re-opens the Visible elements dialog. Options for Interface Notation UModel 2011 supports alternate diagram styles for interfaces between classes. By default, new interfaces are created in class diagram style with arrowhead styles and notations to indicate the interface creator and interface users. In the class diagram below, the developer wants to concentrate on class relationships and interfaces, so all the properties and operations compartments are collapsed. UML class diagram showing interfaces Interfaces have a special Toggle Notation quick-editing button to switch from the class diagram style to the UML ball and socket interface notation. UML class diagram toggle notation helper UML class diagram with alternate interface notation Visibility Icons vs. Mathematical Operators The UModel visibility icons, along with the visibility pull-down menus in the drawing window and properties menu, have been praised because they avoid confusion with common mathematical operators that can also appear in definitions of properties and operations. But users who prefer the traditional view can choose UML Style in the Project Styles helper window. Altova UModel Styles window and traditional visibility notation All the style settings selected to display class diagrams on screen are also applied when rendering project documentation in Word, RTF, or .html formats Find out for yourself how you can improve development of your object-oriented application by customizing the display of class diagrams with Altova UModel – download a free 30-day trial today!

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Solution to the Software Testing with State Machines Challenge

Last month in our blog on Software Testing for State Machines with Altova UModel we discovered unexpected behavior in our model of an air conditioning system and challenged readers to improve the design. This post describes one possible solution. When we ran the Tester application for our model, we saw that the Power switch did not turn the system off when it was in the Standby state. In the state machine diagram in our original model, the only route into Standby from Operating mode is via the Standby button, and the only way out of the Standby state is to press the Standby button again, as seen in the detail below. Detail of a state machine diagram in Altova UModel We can create an alternate exit to power off the system from the Standby state simply by drawing a new transition line from Standby to the Off state, and assigning powerButton() as the event that triggers the transition. UModel makes assigning the trigger easy by providing a pop-up window listing events that are already defined in the model. Pop-up list of triggers for transitions in a state machine diagram in Altova UModel Our completed revision to the model with the new transition from Standby to Off looks like this: State machine diagram in Altova UModel After regenerating the Java code and compiling the new version, we can run the Tester application again. The Debug output message window shows that the system entered Standby in Event 3. Event 4, activation of the Power button, now sets the state to Off. State machine test application generated by Altova UModel Find out for yourself how you can enhance the logic of your own state machine diagrams with Altova UModel – download a free 30-day trial today!

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Software Testing for State Machines

Many varieties of software testing have gained prominence as developers search for ways to improve quality and meet project deadlines – code review, unit testing, regression testing, beta testing, test-driven development, and more. Regardless of a project’s goals or the source code language employed, it’s well accepted that the earlier a defect is found, the easier, cheaper, and more rapidly it can be fixed. Code generation from UML state machine diagrams, a new feature introduced in Altova UModel 2011 Release 2, can be used to validate conceptual logic very early in project development. Real-world design in a state machine diagram An example included with UModel provides a simple and realistic state machine diagram with a small test application you can run to see for yourself how easily it can be to test the logic of a design. The state machine diagram in the AirCondition.ump project in the UModel 2011 examples folder describes the operation of a typical heating and air conditioning system. State machine diagram in Altova UModel The system includes a power button shown on the left side in the transition from the Off state, a modeSelect function that selects heating or cooling, a speedSelect function for the fan, and a standby button that puts the system in the standby mode shown on the right. The example project folder includes all the code generated for the diagram by UModel in Java, C#, and Visual Basic. To try out the Java version, all we have to do is use the command javac to compile the code and java STMTester to run it. The tester application displays a simulated control panel with information windows about the heating and air conditioning unit. The operating buttons appear along the top, the current state is described in the first window, and output messages generated by changes in the system appear in the second window. Test control panel for state machine code generated by Altova UModel As shown above, the system initializes in the Off state, the mode is set to heater, and the fan is off. Before you operate the system, you might want to resize the control panel and state machine diagram to follow the actions of the tester application in the diagram itself, as shown in the reduced size image below. UModel state machine diagram and test control panel for generated code Operating the state machine When we click the powerButton, the Current state window is updated and a detailed description of the operations that occurred are listed as Event 1 in the Debug output messages window. Test control panel for state machine code generated by Altova UModel If it’s a hot day, we might want to change the mode to Cooling and increase the fan speed, which we can do by clicking the modeSelect and speedSelect buttons. The Current state window updates with each click, and Event 2 and Event 3 are added to the output messages window. Test control panel for state machine code generated by Altova UModel Now we can see how the tester application lets us fully exercise the logic of our state machine diagram by clicking every possible sequence of button selections to see if they produce the expected results. For instance if we put the unit in Standby mode (Event 4 below), then press speedSelect, we see in the output messages for Event 5 that no state change occurs in the substate named RegionSpeed. Compare Event 5 to Event 3 in the output messages window as shown below. Test control panel for state machine code generated by Altova UModel Now that the system is in Standby mode and we don’t need any heating or cooling, let’s save energy by pressing the Power button to turn it off. Test control panel for state machine code generated by Altova UModel Wait a second – it looks like nothing happened. No transition took place in Event 6, and the Current state in the top window is still Standby! Looking back at the state machine diagram, we can see the only way out of Standby mode is to press the Standby button again. Is that really the behavior an average user would expect, that the Power button would not turn off the system from Standby mode? Portion of a state machine diagram created with Altova UModel Just imagine how expensive this issue could be to fix if it was first identified much later in product development when the prototype was being tested by a regulatory agency! Here’s a challenge we’ll throw out on the table for our readers: how would you design another more direct route from the Standby state to the Off state? Testing your own state machines You can use the UModel state machine code generation example projects as templates to create test applications for your own designs. You will want to take advantage of the UModel feature that automatically creates operations in a class as you add operation names to transitions in your state machine. Altova UModel toolbar button for automatic creation of operations in classes Also, the UModel Help system includes detailed information about code generation from state machine diagrams and also uses the AirCondition.ump project file as an example. Find out for yourself how you can improve project development by testing the logic of your own state machine diagrams with Altova UModel – download a free 30-day trial today!

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UML Database Modeling in UModel 2011

As software applications interact with growing amounts of data, database designs and structures become critical to development of successful projects. UModel® 2011, just launched on September 8, 2010, adds a new feature that empowers users to extend software modeling functionality by modeling relational databases along with Java, C#, and Visual Basic software applications. UModel 2011 accelerates database modeling with features that permits users to:

  • Import existing tables from all popular relational databases to create UML database diagrams
  • Modify diagrams for existing tables and generate SQL database change scripts to synchronize the database
  • Design new database tables and relationships from scratch and issue SQL CREATE scripts

UML database diagram UModel Database Diagram Supported Databases The UModel 2011 database diagram functionality supports multiple databases and automatically adjusts SQL dialects, data types, and other specialized features for the following databases:

  • Microsoft® SQL Server® 2000, 2005, 2008
  • IBM DB2® 8, 9
  • IBM DB2 for iSeries® v5.4, 6.1
  • Oracle® 9i, 10g, 11g
  • Sybase® 12
  • MySQL® 4, 5
  • PostgreSQL 8
  • Microsoft Access™ 2003, 2007

UModel Database Diagram Elements UModel 2011 database diagrams support all the following database elements:

  • Database schemas
  • Tables
  • Views
  • Check Constraints
  • Primary / Foreign / Unique keys
  • Indexes
  • Stored procedures
  • Functions
  • Triggers
  • Database Relationship Associations
  • Database Relationship with Attributes

Import Existing Database Structures Users can import an existing relational database via a selection in the UModel 2011 Project menu. UModel Project menu The Import SQL Database option opens the UModel 2011 Database Connection dialog, with the Database Connection Wizard and all the additional connection options available in DatabaseSpy and other Altova MissionKit tools that interact with popular relational databases. UModel database connection dialog When importing a database, UModel 2011 also automatically adds a database profile to the project. UModel 2011 database diagrams are displayed in a special category in the Diagram Tree Helper window. UModel Diagram Tree helper window Modifying Databases in the Model UModel 2011 database diagrams use a dedicated toolbar with icons indicating database elements that are shared with DatabaseSpy, easing the learning curve between tools. UModel database diagram toolbar As editing proceeds in UModel 2011, the SQL Auto-completion helper window assists with creation of diagrams valid for the SQL database type. UModel database diagram SQL autocompletion window As an alternative to working directly in the diagram, users can also edit database elements in the Properties helper window. UModel database diagram Properties helper window Database Change Scripts When a developer synchronizes program code from the UModel project, changes in any database diagram generate a Database Change Script with SQL commands to implement the revisions. Database Change Scripts created in UModel can be saved as SQL files, executed directly in the database, or opened in a DatabaseSpy SQL Editor window via a convenient button in the UModel Database Change Script dialog. UModel Database Change Script Conversely, if another team member modifies a table directly in the database, a developer can update the UML model by merging the database changes. UModel Message window After synchronization of the UML model with the latest version of the database, the database diagram shows a new column in the Teachers table. UModel updated database diagram Like all other UModel diagram types, UModel 2011 lets users save database diagrams as image files and include them in automatically-generated project documentation. Visit the Altova What’s New page to learn more about all the new features in the Altova MissionKit 2011. Model databases along with system requirements, business rules, and application code for your next development project – click here to download a free 30-day trial of UModel 2011 today!

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