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Analysis Class
Analysis classes represent an early conceptual model for ‘things in the system which have responsibilities and behavior’.
UML representation: Class, stereotyped as «boundary», «entity» or «control».
Role: Designer
More information:

Input to Activities: Output from Activities:

Purpose To top of page

Analysis classes are used to capture the major "clumps of responsibility" in the system. They represent the prototypical classes of the system, and are a 'first-pass' at the major abstractions that the system must handle. Analysis classes may be maintained in their own right, if a "high-level", conceptual overview of the system is desired. Analysis classes also give rise to the major abstractions of the system design: the design classes and subsystems of the system.

Properties To top of page

Property Name

Brief Description

UML Representation

name the name of the class attribute
description a brief description of the role of the class in the system attribute
responsibilities a listing of the responsibilities of the class attribute
attributes the attributes of the class attribute

Timing To top of page

Analysis classes are identified primarily in the Elaboration Phase, as Use Cases are analyzed. Some Analysis Classes may be identified as late as the Construction Phase, for Use Cases which are not analyzed until the Construction Phase.

Responsibility To top of page

A designer is responsible for the integrity of the analysis class, ensuring that:

  • It is complete and logically consistent.
  • That all information (see properties above) is captured and is correct.

Tailoring To top of page

The analysis classes, taken together, represent an early conceptual model of the system. This conceptual model evolves quickly and remains fluid for some time as different representations and their implications are explored. Formal documentation can impede this process, so be careful how much energy you expend on maintaining this ‘model’ in a formal sense; you can waste a lot of time polishing a model which is largely expendable. Analysis classes rarely survive into the design unchanged. Many of them represent whole collaborations of objects, often encapsulated by subsystems.

Usually, simple note-cards, such as the example below, are sufficient (this is based on the well-known CRC Card technique - see [WIR90] for details of this technique). On the front side of the card, capture the name and description of the class. An example for a Course in a course registration system is listed below:

Class Name Course


The Course is responsible for maintaining information about a set of course sections having a common subject, requirements and syllabus.
Responsibilities To maintain information about the course.
Attributes Description Type
Course Title The name of the course string
Description A short description of the course string

On the back of the card, draw a diagram of the class:

Class diagram for Course

There is one analysis class card for each class discovered during the use-case-analysis workshop.

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