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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Applying Use Cases: A Practical Guide » User review

Learing abstraction by example

  • Jan 18, 2000
Rating:
+5
For every abstraction used in the development of software, there is a definition and a set of rules concerning how to use it. Unfortunately, being an abstraction, the definition is often open to interpretation and the rules are nebulous guidelines. The concept of use cases is one such abstraction. Therefore, the best way to explain them is to use them in an understandable context. That is the approach taken in this book.
The scenario is that a group of designers want to build a "simple" online ordering system. They begin with the proverbial conversation over coffee which contained the usual, "that system stinks and we could do better" phrase. From there, a general, but fairly complete process is presented. Every step in the sequence of requirements definitions is given. Many potential use cases are put forward, which is excellent, as this allows the authors to demonstrate the culling process, whereby some use cases are eliminated and others are combined.
The presentation is a combination of simulated dialog between the principals and more formal techniques of requirements capture such as actors and their diagrams. One thing that impressed me was the accuracy of the dialog. Anyone who has participated in the requirements capture process will experience a flashback. It is written with the beginner in mind, as very little programming background is needed to understand it. This is a thorough demonstration of how to create and apply use cases, without the depth that requires more formal notational techniques.
Use cases are sometimes very hard to teach, as is the case with most abstractions. In this book, the abstract is made concrete and if you read it you will learn a lot about use cases. However, you still may not be able to offer a precise definition.

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Charles Ashbacher ()
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Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
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With the emergence of the Unified Modeling Language (UML) over the last few years, developers new to the advantages of thorough software-engineering practices now have a better notational system for designing more effective software. To use UML effectively, you will want to createuse cases, which help describe the requirements of a system. In their concise and very readable book, the authors ofApplying Use Casesshow how use cases can benefit all aspects of the software-design process and let you create better software in less time.

This guide provides a case study for a mail-order business (with some e-commerce as well) as its central example. Use cases define how actors (i.e., users) are defined for all the various components of a mail-order business, including inventory, accounting, and order fulfillment. The authors suggest that while use cases are particularly useful at the beginning of a project cycle--for assessing risks and setting project timetables, for instance--they are also useful for testing and deployment of systems (specifically, for creating documentation and help manuals). The sample use cases--and supporting design documents--are what's best in this text. --Richard Dragan

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Details

ISBN-10: 0201309815
ISBN-13: 978-0201309812
Author: Geri Schneider
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional

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