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Applying Use Cases: A Practical Guide Paperback – Aug 28 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (Aug. 28 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201309815
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201309812
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 19 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,484,120 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

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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 create use cases, which help describe the requirements of a system. In their concise and very readable book, the authors of Applying Use Cases show 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

From the Inside Flap

You're about to start a new project. Sometimes it seems like colonizing the moon would be easier. But you assemble a stalwart team and prepare to set sail on the good ship Requirements hoping to reach the fabled land of Success. They say there are no failed projects in Success and the profit margin is so high, the streets are paved with gold.

There are many dangers between here and Success. Many a ship is sunk on the way some say as many as 80 percent never reach that fabled land. You query those who have tried before. Use a ship from the OO line, they say. Booch, OMT, OOSE, UML are all good models to choose from. You'll also need a chart showing risks along the way and an architecture of the major land masses. And finally you'll need to plot a course of use cases to reach your destination. Use Cases are included in the Unified Modeling Language and are used throughout the Rational Unified Process. They are gaining wide acceptance in many different businesses and industries. Most often, use cases are applied to software projects and enterprise-wide applications.

This book is for anyone interested in applying use cases to project development. While we can't guarantee you will always have successful projects when using use cases, we can give you another way of looking at the projects you are developing and some tools that will make success more likely. You will get more benefit out of the book if you have some basic knowledge of object-oriented concepts. We will use the Unified Modeling Language for the notation, explaining the notation as we use it. A good book to use for reference on the notation is UML Distilled by Fowler. This is an excellent book on the topic and easy to read.

This book is organized using the Rational Unified Process as a framework. Within the phases of the process, we talk about the activities in the phase, focusing on activities based on use cases. We touch lightly on activities that interact with use cases, such as software architecture, project management, and object-oriented analysis and design. These are very important activities, with whole books devoted to each topic. Therefore, in the resource list in Appendix A, you will find our favorite books on these topics.

We have used one example, an order-processing system for a mail order company, throughout the book. This allows us to maintain consistency and build up a reasonably complex example. Parts of the solution are given in the various chapters to illustrate the concepts.

This book is presented as a sequence of steps, though life is never that simple. Each part will contribute to the rest until the system is complete. So if a section says to create an architecture, do what you can at that time, using what you currently know. You will add to it and refine it based on knowledge gained while working through the process.

You don't have to read the whole book before starting with use cases. Chapters 1 through 5 give the basics of working with use cases. We recommend that everyone reads those chapters. Chapter 6 covers architecture and mapping use cases into the architecture. Chapter 7 covers documenting use cases. Chapter 8 covers project planning with use cases, and Chapter 9 covers reviewing the use case documents. Chapter 10 goes into moving from use cases to OOAD. Ultimately, use cases are about documenting your system. Plan on doing a lot of writing. Appendix A provides a list of books we reference throughout the text, as well as other books we have found useful when developing projects. Appendix B shows the document templates used. These provide an example and a starting point for your own project. Modify them as needed to work with your project.

In October of 1995, Rational Software Corporation merged with Objective Systems. Among other things, this merger brought with it Ivar Jacobson and his use cases. In February 1996, I wrote and delivered the first use case course for Rational, which combined use cases with the object-oriented methodologies of Grady Booch and Jim Rumbaugh. Since that time, I have taught and run workshops on use cases with many of Rational's customers, as well as customers of my consulting company, Wyyzzk Training and Consulting. As I have taught them, so they have taught me. This book came out of what I've learned through the workshops.

Acknowledgments Thanks to:

My parents, Phil and Joan Schneider. Their love and faith give me the confidence to reach for the stars and the persistence to succeed.

My professors at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, in particular Dr. Nadine Verderber, Dr. Greg Stephen, and Dr. Eric Sturley. The education I received has proved to be a firm foundation on which I could build knowledge and skills.

Dr. Ivar Jacobson for the original work on use cases. I've built on the foundations he defined. Thanks also for his comments on the book in its early stages. His comments got me past a stuck point at a critical time.

My colleagues at Rational Software Corporation for their encouragement and support, particularly the men and women in the North American Field Organization, the International Field Organization, and Technical Support. Each one is an outstanding engineer, always willing to share with the rest what he or she has learned. This free exchange of ideas has been invaluable for maturing the processes we all teach use cases, OOAD, and OOPM. In particular I want to thank my former team, Deborah Bell, Sue Mickel, and Jean-Pierre Schoch, for their support and encouragement.

Neal Reizer, Bill Fairfield, and Garth Andrews for their support and encouragement and my customers and students, who taught me much while I was mentoring them.

Karin Palmkvist who helped us tremendously by doing a final review of the manuscript.

Bob and Norma Hughes for mowing our lawn when we got too busy with the book to do it. And we didn't even ask!

Special thanks to Dr. James Rumbaugh. He has helped me through the publishing process, giving advice and encouragement along the way. His intercession led to Addison-Wesley reviewing and publishing this book. Many thanks to our distinguished reviewers. They worked as hard as we did to make this book happen.
Kurt Bittner -- Rational Software Corporation
Lois Delcambre -- Professor, Computer Science and Engineering Department, Oregon Graduate Institute
Kelli A. Houston -- Rational Software Corporation
John Sunda Hsia
Dean Larsen
Phil Price -- Qualcomm
Arthur J. Riel
Somboon Supakkul

Speaking of hard workers, we were most fortunate to be working with J. Carter Shanklin, Angela Buenning, Rachel Beavers, and Krysia Bebick at Addison Wesley Longman. Our most heartfelt thanks for all your support and encouragement. You guys did all the tough work to make this book a reality. Special thanks to Marilyn Rash, and her team of editing and typesetting experts, who made sure this book got through production.

Last, but not least, thank you to Jason Winters for his love, support, and encouragement. He is the storyteller who brought the book to life. His unique insights brought clarity to a sometimes difficult subject. Geri Schneider Winters
Santa Clara, California 0201309815P04062001

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Scott Kidder on Oct. 24 2003
Format: Paperback
Over the last year I have come to love Use Cases ... I write them before embarking on any software development project, large or small. The first taste I got of Use Cases was in the "UML Distilled" book (Fowler, Scott).
My favorite aspect of "Applying Use Cases" is how it follows a hypothetical project from Inception to Transition phases. The authors provide the reader with a clear idea of how Use Cases fit into the software development process as a whole, rather than just providing some templates for producing Use Case documents without instructions on their use.
The best, and worst, thing about books in the Object Technology Series (of which "Applying Use Cases" and "UML Distilled" both belong to) is their brevity. The concepts are conveyed very clearly and concisely, but it feels like I should be getting more substance ... .
Overall, this is a wonderful book and belongs on the shelf of any Software Engineer or Project Manager. It goes well with "Extreme Programming Explained" and "A Practical Guide to Extreme Programming", two of my favorites in this genre.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dan Clarke on Nov. 12 2002
Format: Paperback
As someone who has followed the development of UML and Use Cases for the past several years and who is now confronted with a project needing definition, I find the Scheider-Winters book very helpful -- not only in applying Use Cases, but also in defining the project itself.
I chose this book because I know Geri Schneider-Winters as a professional (we worked together at UCSC Extension.) I was not disappointed.
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Format: Paperback
Given the proper instruction, working with use cases is not as hard as it may appear. Demonstrating them requires a large, detailed example to illustrate how complex structures can be reduced to understandable chunks. Therefore, the most critical part of any book on how to apply use cases is the choice of the system to model. That feature is what makes this book stand out.
The premise is that several people, with some experience in designing systems, but certainly not experts, decide to build an order processing system. Choosing a group of non-experts is a stroke of genius, since it allows the authors to use dialog based on the premise of learning as you go, which describes most of us. This approach makes it much easier to relate to their trials and tribulations as they plunge in over their head, only to be rescued by the proper applications of use cases.
Requirements are iteratively added as needed or discovered, demonstrating how iterative development is superior to others such as the waterfall. The developers are learning the background while constructing their system. Elaborating on their initial model is a slow and steady process, however it is not without the frequent step back. These glitches are presented in a realistic format with sections devoted to common mistakes made when using use cases.
A great deal of effort is also expended in describing how refined the use cases should be. One of the topics in the section on common mistakes is making the use cases too small. Like anything else, they can be split down to the point where they complicate rather than simplify. With no fixed rules to guide the process, you are forced to rely on more common sense notions. This is always hard, but some good, effective guidelines are given.
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By A Customer on Nov. 13 2000
Format: Paperback
Summary: If you've got plenty of $$ go ahead and buy it to get a good, simplistic start but you will need more. I've been doing requirements for quite a few years now and am convinced that use cases are the way to go especially for interactive systems. The key reason being that it forces the analyst to focus on WHAT the system should do rather than the HOW it should do it(I fall in that trap quite often). This particular book uses a different writing method, more story telling in nature. Some people may like it ... I don't care for it personally because the time spent reading Jane and Billy's annoyingly pleasant and simplistic banter could be better spent playing with my kids. It does, however, get around to giving a good academic introduction to the topic but the lack of examples severely hinders it from living up to a level of "practicality" to warrant the inclusion of the word in its title in my opinion. If you are a "just give me some guidelines and show me some good examples and get out of my way" kind of person, this book will make good kindling for your next BBQ -- especially if your software will involve any remotely complex scenarios. Perhaps the problem is that I tend to conceptualize systems in too complex a manner ... but it would be nice if the book helped in that regard as well by educating me relative to pitfalls that may lead me to overcomplicate things. In the end (couldn't finish the book) I find myself still looking for a good book mostly one loaded with realistic, practical, applicable examples.
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By Charles Ashbacher TOP 100 REVIEWER on Jan. 18 2000
Format: Paperback
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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