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UML for XML pros
Ed Tittel

UML is the Unified Modeling Language,

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a visual notation originally developed to aid software developers in designing systems and applications. As it happens, the kinds of things that UML can model make it well-suited for XML-savvy professionals charged with designing XML document descriptions, or with analyzing existing documents (XML or otherwise) to create such descriptions. As I read Will Provost's story "Structural Patterns in XML" at XML.com, I encountered a series of UML diagrams that forcibly reminded me of how compact, useful, and descriptive UML notation can be for XML professionals.

That realization then led me on a search for a good, concise introduction to UML for XML tip readers. I'm pleased to say that my ultimate reference of choice was already sitting on my bookshelf, well-thumbed during research on a book we've been working on for Prentice-Hall for over a year now on the challenging subject of XML Patterns. This book is entitled UML Distilled, 2nd Edition, by Martin Fowler with Kendall Scott.

For individuals seeking to understand only the essentials of what UML is, how its notation works, and how to use it to model relationships in code or in documents, this book does its job admirably and succinctly. At under 200 pages, it's a real marvel of focused, well-explained information. For all its brevity, the book includes everything from the basics of modeling, notation, and object-oriented design, to understanding the development process, to working with the various types of diagrams for classes, interaction, packages, collaborations, states, activities, and physical components and deployments that UML supports. A single short chapter also does ample justice to the issues involved in switching from a modeling view to a coding (or markup) view of the world, and what's involved in mechanical translation from UML to other forms of notation or languages.

If you're a serious XML professional, and really want to understand how to model and represent XML document structure and capabilities, this book will open your eyes to some great representational tools and techniques. Give it a try--you won't be sorry!


About the Author

Ed Tittel is a principal at LANWrights, Inc., a network-oriented writing, training, and consulting firm based in Austin, Texas. He is the creator of the Exam Cram series and has worked on over 30 certification-related books on Microsoft, Novell, and Sun related topics. Ed teaches in the Certified Webmaster Program at Austin Community College and consults. He a member of the NetWorld + Interop faculty, where he specializes in Windows 2000 related courses and presentations.


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This was first published in December 2002

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