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Design Model

The Artifact: Design Model is an object model describing the realization of use cases, and serves as an abstraction of the implementation model and its source code.

Mapping from the Analysis Model To top of page

Artifact: Analysis Classes represent roles played by instances of design elements; these roles may be fulfilled by one or more design model elements. In addition, a single design element may fulfill multiple roles. The following observations discuss the ways the analysis roles may be fulfilled:

  • An analysis class can become one single class in the design model.
  • An analysis class can become a part of a class in the design model.
  • An analysis class can become an aggregate class in the design model. (Meaning that the parts in this aggregate may not be explicitly modeled in the analysis model.)
  • An analysis class can become a group of classes that inherits from the same class in the design model.
  • An analysis class can become a group of functionally related classes in the design model.
  • An analysis class can become a package in the design model (meaning that it can become a component.)
  • An analysis class can become a relationship in the design model.
  • A relationship between analysis classes can become a class in the design model.
  • Analysis classes handle primarily functional requirements, and model objects from the "problem" domain; design classes handle non-functional requirements, and model objects from the "solution" domain.
  • Analysis classes can be used to represent "the objects we want the system to support," without taking a decision on how much of them to support with hardware and how much with software. Thus, part of an analysis class can be realized by hardware, and not modeled in the design model at all.

Any combination of the above are also possible.

Mapping to the Implementation Model To top of page

You should decide before the design starts how classes in the design model should relate to implementation classes; this should be described in the Design Guidelines specific to the project.

The design model can be more or less close to the implementation model, depending on how you map its classes, packages and subsystems to components, packages and subsystems in the implementation model. During implementation, you will often address small tactical issues related to the implementation environment that shouldn't have impact on the design model. For example, classes and subsystems can be added during implementation to handle parallel development, or to adjust import dependencies. For more information, refer to Activity: Structure the Implementation Model and Concepts: Mapping from Design to Code.

There should be a consistent mapping from the design model to the implementation model. The Artifact: Design Guidelines should define this mapping, and a consistent level of abstraction should be applied across the design model.

Characteristics of a Good Design Model To top of page

A good design model has the following characteristics:

  • It satisfies the system requirements.
  • It is resistant to changes in the implementation environment.
  • It is easy to maintain in relation to other possible object models and to system implementation.
  • It is clear how to implement.
  • It does not include information that is best documented in program code.
  • It is easily adapted to changes in requirements.

For specific characteristics, see Checkpoints: Design Model.

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