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Specifying System Behavior in UML

The purpose of the paper is to present our approach for specifying system behavior. Our approach is based on operation schemas and a system interface protocol (SIP). Operation schemas describe the functionality of system operations by pre- and post-conditions; they are written in the Object Constraint Language (OCL), as defined by the Unified Modeling Language (UML). A SIP describes the temporal ordering of the system operations by a UML protocol statemachine. Operation schemas are hybrids of formal specifications approaches such as Z and VDM : hybrid in the sense that they are based on their formal counterparts but are targeted to developers that are more comfortable with procedural programming languages rather than declarative languages. Our approach offers a middle ground between the informal descriptions of use cases and the solution-oriented models of object interaction in UML. We believe that declarative behavioral specification techniques, like the one proposed in this paper, lead to more confidence in the quality of the software because they allow one to reason about system properties.

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