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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Title:
The Unified Modelling Language Reference Manual
Author:
Rumbaugh, Jacobson&Booch
ISBN:
0 201 30998 X
Publisher:
Addison-Wesley
Pages:
550pp
Price:
£39-99
Reviewer:
Francis Glassborow
Subject:
modelling languages
Appeared in:
11-4
The first part of this book gives you a very brief overview. It includes the section on history that so many authors seem to consider an essential part of any technical book. It also includes a short chapter on the nature and purpose of models. Again, not something that I find particularly useful for the intended readership, but such sections seem common.

The second part of the book leads you through the UML concepts. It starts with a walkthrough before devoting chapters to various views (static, use case, state machine, activity, interaction, physical, and model management) before concluding with chapters on extension mechanisms and the UML environment. In a way this is one of the more valuable aspects of this book. Professional software developers should be familiar with the material in this section.

Part 3 starts with a chapter of 386 pages that is an encyclopaedia of terms. I am not sure about calling this a chapter. It is not something to be read, but a reference section. However, it is informative and spending time browsing it will enhance your understanding.

In general this is the book for you after you have taken a course (either formally, or by means of self study) on UML basics. I have to say that much of the material is heavy going with a great deal of interdependency. For example we have:

initial state

A pseudostate that indicates the default starting place for a transition whose target is the boundary of a composite state.

See also composite state, creation, entry action, initialisation, junction state.
I sense that Ivar Jacobson has had quite a bit to do with writing the text as much of is tainted with his heavy opaque style.

If you are going to make regular use of the UML (and if you are serious about software development, it would be hard not to) you probably need access to this book.