Documentation Of Object Interaction

Stefan Chiettini
Johannes Kepler University Linz
Institute for Practical Computer Science
Altenbergerstraße 69, A-4040 Linz


The documentation of object-oriented systems usually consists of two parts: First there is the static part with the description of classes and methods. This part usually contains information about interfaces, inheritance relations, and aggregations. The second part, which is the topic of this paper, describes the dynamic behaviour of the system in a certain situation at run time. Common design and documentation techniques like OMT or UML introduce event trace diagrams (OMT) and sequence diagrams (UML) to visualize run time behaviour of interacting objects. These diagrams show the message sequence in a certain situation at run time. Their major weakness is that they are themselves static and therefore capable to illustrate only one special case typically called a 'scenario', not general behaviour of objects. This paper proposes behaviour diagrams as an extension of existing diagrams to meet the requirements of modern documentation: structured documents with hypertext and multimedia capabilities extended with the possibility to interactively explore the documentation.

Paper at the ECOOP'99, June 14-18, 1999, Lisbon, Portugal.
You can download the full paper in postscript.