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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1949 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Java Modeling in Color with UML
Peter Coad
0 13 011510 X
Prentice Hall
Christer Loefving
Appeared in:
This is a different computing book in many senses. It is a hard back title that, at first sight, looks like a child's book, because of the colourful onslaught. At first, I had a real hard time grasping it all. There are no less than three co-authors, a fact that may contribute to the confusion felt.

The preferred way to get the best out of this is to follow one of the reading paths. They are presented and explained after the very general introductory chapter and have names such as 'development process', 'specific modelling tips' and 'templates'. Avoid reading from cover to cover.

The model presented in the book builds on 'standard' UML enhanced with four fundamental so-called 'Archetype' colons. Here is a short example;

Which colour is that class?

Is it a moment or interval? It's pink.

Is it a role-played? It's yellow.

Is it a catalogue-entry-like description? It's blue.

Otherwise, it's a party, place or thing. It's green.

Even more colours are used, but these four are the essential ones. The concept is abstract and you need a lot of practice, not only reading, to understand it.

During the onslaught there is a story told. A named job-aspirant is given an hour to model a payroll system and succeeds to convince the interviewer after only 25 minutes by use of the colours (also after much practice, I suspect).

On the CD, there are a number of sample projects to investigate. Authentic and complete with project-notes, code and documentation. These projects contain hundreds of 'ready to use' classes, interfaces and methods. I also found a nice development tool,JTogether. In the enclosed free white board edition it offers simultaneous round-trip engineering for Java with UML package and class diagrams. You will also find C++ support. This tool greatly enhances the value of the book and CD and makes it useable as a self study-package. Used in this way the book comes into its own. Read some pages or a chapter, experiment with the tools, read and repeat the chapter and soon you are on your way.

A warning though, you must have a working knowledge of Java/UML and a true ambition to dig deeper to get anything out of this. No beginners! Also, as I said, it is at the first attempt pretty hard to find the right path into the text. However, for the right person in the right situation, this title is well worth both the time and money spent.