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Applying Use Cases: A Practical Guide (2nd Edition) Paperback – Mar 13 2001

4.3 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 2 edition (March 13 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201708531
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201708530
  • Product Dimensions: 18.5 x 1.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 476 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #672,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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A use case is an interaction between your system and an actor--a person or entity using it. So it describes how your system "looks" to the outside world. In Applying Use Cases the authors show you how use cases describe what your system should do and how each thing it does should relate to other parts of the system.

Use cases are an integral part of UML and RUP so enterprise-level programmers need to know them. They are most useful in the planning stages of large projects to provide a sanity check and a framework. The authors demonstrate the use case process with a hypothetical project to develop a new mail order company. Somewhat twee "discussions" between the fictional developers humanise the subject and provide an unusual degree of narrative tension for such an academic work.

About two thirds of the book is concerned with teaching you how use case is employed. It covers documentation, diagramming, levels of detail and the review process. There's also discussion on splitting large projects and construction/delivery of the system. In the appendices you'll find resources--books and Web sites--documentation templates, UML notation and the order processing system itself taken as far as designing graphic interfaces.

All in all, a thoroughly readable, hands on, introduction to an important and useful project design tool. --Steve Patient

From the Inside Flap

There have been many changes for us and for the UML since the first edition was released in September 1998. The book has changed to stay current. The material in the first edition is also in the second edition, but you may find it in a new location. We moved the engineering-oriented material to the end of the book, and the business-oriented material to the beginning. This should make it easier for different audiences to find the material that interests them.

We updated the book to UML 1.3. A lot of the changes are in Chapters 3 and 4 because that is where we described most of the notation. The uses relationship became two relationships in UML 1.3, include and generalization. The extends relationship became extend. In both cases the notation changed as well. The definition of scenarios changed a bit too. What we used to call scenarios are now called paths.

We have added some new material that we found useful and important. Chapter 6 is a new chapter on setting the level of detail in use cases. This includes information on business process-level use cases and maintaining traceability between use cases at different levels of detail. Chapter 7, Documenting Use Cases, includes some ideas on handling login and CRUD (create, read, update, delete) in use cases. Chapter 8, Reviews, has a new section on common mistakes we have seen and how to fix them. We have included more information on sequence diagrams in Chapters 5 and 9.

There have been changes for me and Jason as well. Jason left Octel and is now a staff engineer at Cadence Design Systems. I liked having my own business, but didn't like the bookkeeping, so I took a job running the OO division of Andrews Technology, Inc. We still have Wyyzzk and Jason does some weekend consulting for that business. Things even changed on the publishing side. Addison-Wesley is now part of Pearson Education, and we have a whole new team managing the Object Technology series. They have been wonderful to work with and made the transition as smooth as possible.

One question we get asked a lot is: What do the footprints and people talking icons mean? The footprints mark major steps in the process. The people talking appear next to the storyline.

Thank you for all the e-mail about the book. We don't always get a chance to reply, but we have read all your letters and hope we have answered most of your questions in this second edition.

Geri Schneider Winters
Santa Clara, California


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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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