Documenting Object Interaction Using Behaviour Diagrams

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 the classes and methods. This part holds all 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, not general behaviour. This paper proposes behaviour diagrams as an extension of existing diagrams to meet the requirements of modern documentation: structured documents, interactive exploration of documentation, and multimedia capabilities. A prototype system named S.I.D. is introduced that implements these extensions.

This technical report describes how Behaviour Diagrams in the S.I.D. environment can be used to document object interaction in large object-oriented systems.

Technical Report 13, Institute for Practical Computer Science, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria, April 1999.
You can download the full technical report in postscript (21 pages).