Thursday, August 30, 2007

* 'Microsoft', 'Visual Studio Class Designer' and 'UML'

If you are anyway related to software development you must have used/heard about UML. If you develop software on Microsoft platform, you should know about 'Visual Studio Class Designer'.

UML has contributed a lot in developing a common language of communication across development team in software industry. It helps architects in communicating their design to developer community most effectively with only requirement that everyone should know UML.

UML helps in giving standard based visualizations to the designs. Some of the visualizations it provides are :

  • Class diagrams and relationships
  • Use Case diagrams
  • State diagrams
  • Component diagrams
  • Activity diagrams

With Model driven development becoming more and more effective, Microsoft couldn't find the exact fit for UML in its MDD strategy and so developed something which is loosely based on UML but simpler and gives a better base to Domain Specific Languages and Modelling. You can read more about Microsoft's MDD.

"Class Designer" is an integrated tool with Visual Studio 2005 and has support enabled all across the Visual Studio Project workspace.

Some of the activities which it allows you to do are :

  • Create, drag and drop classes, interfaces, relationships.
  • Generate code from diagram and vice-versa. It provides a real-time synchronization between the diagrams and code both ways.
  • Refactoring based on diagrams which automatically changes codes and references.
  • Export diagrams as images.

Here are some of the sample diagrams which I have created using Visual Studio 2005:




Below one shows simple and collection association.


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