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During this course, I'll be using a few common diagramming techniques for drawing classes and interactions. These diagrams are from something called UML, or the Unified modeling Language. A UML isn't a programming language. This is a graphical notation specifically for drawing diagrams of an object-oriented system. A UML describes over a dozen different diagrams, but we're only interested in a few of the most common, such as the classic class diagram. Now you've seen this diagram already. This comes from UML.
It's a very simple graphical representation of a class. It just has three sections: the name of the class, the attributes, and the behaviors or methods. And this allows me to quickly sketch out an idea that is readable and understandable, whether you're using Java, C#, VB.NET, Ruby, Python, Objective-C, and so on. And as we go forward we'll see not just the class diagram, but a few more diagrams that are in common usage, but I want to be quite specific.
UML is not our goal here, and knowing more UML will not magically make you a better object-oriented developer. But there are a couple of reasons you may need to learn more, say, if you work for a large enterprise that already uses a lot of UML. But I will admit that my personal bias is that for most developers, knowing a little UML is actually more useful than knowing a lot of UML. Because knowing a lot of UML can lead to an over-emphasis on the diagrams themselves, and that's the tail wagging the dog.
These diagrams should be a quick, useful communication tool, a support system for your brain, not the other way around. And for the same reason, I do suggest that when you start to use them you focus first on doing them just on paper or on a whiteboard and not using an electronic tool.
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