design package is a collection of classes, relationships, use-case
realizations, diagrams, and other packages; it is used to structure the
design model by dividing it into smaller parts. Packages are used primarily
for model organization and typically serve as a unit of configuration
Design Model can be structured into smaller units to make it easier to
understand. By grouping Design Model elements into packages and subsystems, then
showing how those groupings relate to one another, it is easier to understand
the overall structure of the model. Note that a design
subsystem is a special kind of package which has behavioral semantics
(i.e. it realizes one or more interfaces); for more information, see Artifact:
Design Subsystem and Guidelines: Design Subsystem.
A design subsystem has a different intent from a design package, which is a
static thing, a logical analogue of the implementation
A class contained in a package can be public or private. A public
class can be associated by any other class. A private
class can be associated only by classes contained in the package.
A package interface consists of a package's public classes. The package
interface (public classes) isolates and implements the dependencies on other
packages. In this way, parallel development is simplified because you can
establish interfaces early on, and the developers need to know only about
changes in the interfaces of other packages.
You can partition the Design Model for a number of reasons:
- You can use packages and subsystems as order, configuration, or delivery
units when a system is finished.
- Allocation of resources and the competence of different development teams
may require that the project be divided among different groups at different
sites. Subsystems, with well-defined interfaces, provide a way to divide
work between teams in a controlled, coordinated way, allowing design and
implementation to proceed in parallel.
- Subsystems can be used to structure the design model in a way that
reflects the user types. Many change requirements originate from users;
subsystems ensure that changes from a particular user type will affect only
the parts of the system that correspond to that user type.
- In some applications, certain information should be accessible to only a
few people. Subsystems let you preserve secrecy in areas where it is needed.
- If you are building a support system, you can, using subsystems and
packages to give it a structure similar to the structure of the system to be
supported. In this way, you can synchronize the maintenance of the two
are used to represent the existing products and services that the system
uses (for example, COTS products, and libraries), as explained in the next
When the boundary classes are distributed to packages there are two different
strategies that can be applied; which one to choose depends on whether or not
the system interfaces are likely to change greatly in the future.
- If it is likely that the system interface will be replaced, or undergo
considerable changes, the interface should be separated from the rest of the
design model. When the user interface is changed, only these packages are
affected. An example of such a major change is the switch from a
line-oriented interface to a window-oriented interface.
If the primary aim is to simplify major interface
changes, the boundary classes should be placed in one (or several) separate
- If no major interface changes are planned, changes to the system services
should be the guiding principle, rather than changes to the interface. The
boundary classes should then be placed together with the entity and control
classes with which they are functionally related. This way, it will be easy
to see what boundary classes are affected if a certain entity or control
class is changed.
To simplify changes to the services of the system, the
boundary classes are packaged with the classes to which they are functionally
Mandatory boundary classes that are not functionally related to any entity-
or control classes, should be placed in separate packages, together with
boundary classes that belong to the same interface.
If a boundary class is related to an optional service, group it with the
classes that collaborate to provide the service, in a separate subsystem. The
subsystem will map onto an optional component which will be provided when the
optional functionality is ordered.
A package should be identified for each group of classes that are
functionally related. There are several practical criteria that can be applied
when judging if two classes are functionally related. These are, in order of
- If changes in one class' behavior and/or structure necessitate changes in
another class, the two classes are functionally related.
If a new attribute is added to the entity class Order,
this will most likely necessitate updating the control class Order
Administrator. Therefore, they belong to the same package, Order
- It is possible to find out if one class is functionally related to another
by beginning with a class - for example, an entity class - and examining the
impact of it being removed from the system. Any classes that become
superfluous as a result of a class removal are somehow connected to the
removed class. By superfluous, we mean that the class is only used by the
removed class, or is itself dependent upon the removed class.
There is a package Order Handling
containing the two control classes Order Administrator and Order
Registrar, in the Depot Handling System. Both of
these control classes model services regarding order handling in the depot.
All order attributes and relationships are stored by the entity class Order,
which only exists for order handling. If the entity class is removed, there
will be no need for the Order Administrator or the Order
Registrar, because they are only useful if the Order
is there. Therefore, the entity class Order should be
included in the same package as the two control classes.
Order Administrator and Order
Registrar belong to the same package as Order,
because they become superfluous if Order is removed from the
- Two objects can be functionally related if they interact with a large
number of messages, or have an otherwise complicated intercommunication.
The control class Task Performer sends and
receives many messages to and from the Transporter Interface.
This is another indication that they should be included in the same package, Task
- A boundary class can be functionally related to a particular entity class
if the function of the boundary class is to present the entity class.
The boundary class, Pallet
Form, in the Depot Handling System, presents
an instance of the entity class Pallet to the user. Each Pallet
is represented by an identification number on the screen. If the
information about a Pallet is changed, for example, if the Pallet
is also given a name, the boundary class might have to be changed as well. Pallet
Form should therefore be included in the same package as Pallet.
- Two classes can be functionally related if they interact with, or are
affected by changes in, the same actor. If two classes do not involve the
same actor, they should not lie in the same package. The last rule can, of
course, be ignored for more important reasons.
There is a package Task Handling in the Depot
Handling System, which includes, among other things, the control
class Task Performer. This is the only package involved with
the actor Transporter, the physical transporter that can
transport a pallet in the depot. The actor interacts with the control class Task
Performer via the boundary class Transporter Interface.
This boundary class should therefore be included in the package Task
Transporter Interface and Task
Performer belong to the same package since both of them are affected
by changes in the Transporter actor.
- Two classes can be functionally related if they have relationships between
each other (associations, aggregations, and so on). Of course, this
criterion cannot be followed mindlessly, but can be used when no other
criterion is applicable.
- A class can be functionally related to the class that creates instances of
These two criteria determine when two classes should not be
placed in the same package:
- Two classes that are related to different actors should not be placed in
the same package.
- An optional and a mandatory class should not be placed in the same
First, all elements in a package must have the same optionality: there can be
no optional model elements in a mandatory package.
The mandatory entity class Article Type has,
among other things, an attribute called Restock Threshold. The
restock function, however, is optional in the system. Therefore, Article
should be split up into two entity classes, where the optional class relates the
A package that is considered mandatory might not depend on any package that
is considered optional.
As a rule, a single package can not be used by two different actors. The
reason for this is that a change in one actor's behavior should not affect other
actors as well. There are exceptions to this rule, such as for packages that
constitute optional services. Packages of this type should not be divided, no
matter how many actors use it. Therefore, split any package, or class, that is
used by several actors unless the package is optional.
All classes in the same package must be functionally related. If you have
followed the criteria in the section "Find packages from Functionally
Related Classes," the classes in one package will be functionally related
among themselves. However, a particular class might in itself contain "too
much" behavior, or relationships that do not belong to the class. Part of
the class should then be removed to become a completely new class, or to some
other class, which probably will belong to another package.
The behavior of a control class, A, in one
package should not depend too much on a class, B, in another
package. To isolate the B-specific behavior, the control class A
must be split into two control classes, A' and A".
The B-specific behavior is placed in the new control class, A",
which is placed in the same package as B. The new class A"
also gets a relationship, such as generalization, to the original object A'.
To isolate the B-specific behavior, the
control class A, which lacks homogeneity, is split into two
control classes, A' and A''.
If a class in one package has an association to a class in a different
package, then these packages depend on each other. Package dependencies are
modeled using a dependency relationship between the packages. Dependency
relationships help us to assess the consequence of changes: a package upon which
many packages depend is more difficult to change than one upon which no packages
Because several dependencies like this will be discovered during the
specification of the packages, these relationships are bound to change during
the work. The description of a dependency relationship might include information
about what class relationships have caused the dependency. Since this introduces
information that is difficult to maintain, it should be done only if the
information is pertinent and of value.
In the Depot Handling System there is a
dependency relationship from the package Order Handling to the
package Item Handling. This association arises because the
entity class Order in Order Handling has an
association to the entity class Item Type in the other package.
The package Order Handling is dependent
on Item Handling, because there is an association between two
classes in the packages.
Package coupling is good and bad: good, because coupling represent re-use,
and bad, because coupling represents dependencies that make the system harder to
change and evolve. Some general principles can be followed:
- Packages should not be cross-coupled (i.e. co-dependent); e.g. two
packages should not be dependent on one another.
In these cases, the packages need to be reorganized to
remove the cross-dependencies.
- Packages in lower layers should not be dependent upon packages in upper
layers. Packages should only be dependent upon packages in the same layer
and in the next lower layer.
In these cases, the functionality needs to be
repartitioned. One solution is to state the dependencies in terms of
interfaces, and organize the interfaces in the lower layer.
- In general, dependencies should not skip layers, unless the dependent
behavior is common across all layers, and the alternative is to simply
pass-through operation invocations across layers.
- Packages should not depend on subsystems, only on other packages or on
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