UML consistency rules: a systematic mapping study

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  • Context: The Unified Modeling Language (UML), with its 14
    different diagram types, is the de-facto standard tool for objectoriented
    modeling and documentation. Since the various UML
    diagrams describe different aspects of one, and only one, software
    under development, they are not independent but strongly depend
    on each other in many ways. In other words, the UML diagrams
    describing a software must be consistent. Inconsistencies between
    these diagrams may be a source of the considerable increase of
    faults in software systems. It is therefore paramount that these
    inconsistencies be detected, analyzed and hopefully fixed.

    The aim of this article is to deliver a comprehensive
    summary of UML consistency rules as they are described in the
    literature to date to obtain an extensive and detailed overview of
    the current research in this area.

    We performed a Systematic Mapping Study by
    following well-known guidelines. We selected 94 primary studies
    from a search with seven search engines performed in December

    Different results are worth mentioning. First it appears
    that researchers tend to discuss very similar consistency rules,
    over and over again. Most rules are horizontal (98.07%) and
    syntactic (88.03%). The most used diagrams are the class diagram
    (71.28%), the state machine diagram (42.55%) and the sequence
    diagram (47.87%).

    The fact that many rules are duplicated in primary
    studies confirms the need for a well accepted list of consistency
    rules. This paper is a first step in this direction. Results indicate
    that much more work is needed to develop consistency rules for
    all 14 UML diagrams, in all dimensions of consistency (e.g.,
    semantic and syntactic on the one hand, horizontal, vertical and
    evolution on the other hand).

  • Torre, D. (Damiano), Labiche, Y, & Genero, M. (Marcela). (2014). UML consistency rules: a systematic mapping study. SCE Technical Reports. Department of Systems and Computer Engineering.
Date Created
  • 2014-01-01


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