What you will Find Here

This page is the starting point into a series of pages that attempt to give a complete example of object-oriented analysis, design, and programming applied to a small size problem: a simple address book. These pages are similar in style to another, more complicated set of pages I developed earlier: A Simulation of an Automated Teller Machine (ATM). I developed both that set of pages and this in the belief that students would benefit from seeing a complete example of OO methodology applied to a single problem. The problem documented by this set of pages is much simpler than the ATM Example, and so is more accessible to undergraduate students seeing OO methodology and UML for the first time.

Beginning with a statement of requirements, the process proceeds through analysis, overall design, and detailed design. For this problem, I stopped the process just short of coding, for two reasons:

  1. Students are prone to jump right into the coding phase, without spending adequate time on design. This example is meant to focus attention on the all-important design portion of the process.
  2. The actual writing of the code is an assignment in two closed labs and an open lab programming project in one of my courses.
(Note: the ATM Example referred to above does include complete code.)


The original idea for this example came from a textbook example in the book I used for my Introduction to Programming course - An Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming with Java by C. Thomas Wu. The first time I taught the course (in the spring of 2000), I turned this example into a set of labs and a project which culminated in having students develop a fairly complete GUI for the address book (which went far beyond the example in Wu's book). In subsequent years, I have improved the labs and the project, giving my students some design information in the form of various UML diagrams. More recently, I decided that working this up into a complete example of the design process, using UML, could be a valuable teaching tool in my Object-Oriented Software Development course, which many of the students who take the introduction to programming course take the following semester. This example also illustrates the Model-View-Controller and Observer design patterns.

I currently use a vastly-simplified version of these pages for a project in the introduction to programming course.

It may be argued that more diagrams have been used than are really necessary for a project of this size. I wanted to give an example of using a variety of different UML diagrams. Even so, this example does not include any statechart, collaboration, package, activity, component, or deployment diagrams.

Note: Some of the diagrams have been deliberately omitted from the various pages. Students taking my course will no doubt come to understand the phrase "... has been left as an exercise for the reader"!

Using these Pages

Probably the best way to start using these pages is to begin with the requirements and work through the entire analysis, high-level design, and detailed design process.

  1. Begin with the Requirements and User Interface document.
    The first task that must be performed in any project is clearly understanding the requirements. This series of pages starts with a statement of the overall requirements for the software, without attempting to discuss the process of actually arriving at them. For a problem of this size, identifying the requirements is fairly straightforward. In a real system, however, identifying the requirements will generally be a non-trivial task. That, however, is not the focus of this set of pages.
  2. Then view the Use Cases and Further Analysis.
    Analysis is begun by identifying the use cases that follow from the requirements, and detailing a flow of events for each. Further analysis identifies the key classes that are suggested by the use cases, and considers how each use case can be carried out by an interaction between objects belonging to these classes.
      These two documents represent two different ways of viewing the overall system, which continue into the next phase. The Use Case document presents a use-case centric view of the system, focussing on the specific functions it provides. The Further Analysis document presents a class centric view of the system, focussing on how will be built.
  3. This example uses CRC Cards and Sequence Diagrams for high level Design. There are certainly other tools that might be used - e.g. the ATM Example referred to above makes use of Collaboration Diagrams and State Charts as well.
  4. Detailed design is done by using a detailed UML diagram for each class, showing its attributes and operations. As noted above, although I have not included the actual implementation in Java code, I have included the Javadoc documentation for the classes to "flesh out" the information in the UML diagrams.
  5. A demonstration executable version of the the system, in the form of a Java Applet. This version is limited, because the Java mechanisms to protect against malicious code limit access to the file system on the host computer. For this reason, it is not possible to use the "Open", "Save", or "Save As" features of the demonstration - attempting to do so will result in an error dialog.
  6. No actual code or complete executable version of this system is provided. The ATM Example System does provide both of these; but since I use the implementation of this system as a programming project, putting the code online would make the project just a bit too simple! :-)
  7. A page of maintenance ideas suggests changes that might be made to improve the system. These changes would necessarily involve modifying many of the sample documents, not just modifying code.

Author and Copyright Information

Though the pages are copyrighted, I hereby freely give permission for their reproduction for non commercial educational purposes. I hope they will prove useful to other faculty who are teaching OO methods. I would also really welcome suggestions and feedback - either about the design itself or the way it is presented. Input from UML guru's would especially be appreciated, as I am revising these pages in part as a way to learn UML myself!

Russell C. Bjork
Professor of Computer Science
Gordon College
255 Grapevine Road
Wenham, MA 01984
(978) 927-2300 x 4377

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Copyright © 2005, 2008 - Russell C. Bjork. Permission for non-commercial reproduction for educational use is hereby granted; all other rights are reserved.