So what is Colour Modelling

Over the last couple of weeks I have learnt to Colour Model, which introduces some interesting concepts to modelling that you don’t get from Black and White UML. Peter Coad and specifically his book on Color Modelling created the concept. On Peter Coad’s web site the first chapter of his book is available as a download which introduces it well.

At the core of Colour Modelling are four archetypes that allow classes to be categorised. The four archetypes types are:

Moment Interval (Pink) – It represents something that one needs to work with and track for business or legal reasons, something that occurs at a moment in time or over an interval of time.

Role (Yellow) – a role is a way of participation by a party (person or organization), place, or thing.

Description (Blue) –  it is a catalog-entry-like description e.g. a lookup table.

Party,Place,or Thing (Green) – A party, place, or thing is some-one or something who plays different roles.

By categorising your classes in this way you have to ask some interesting questions about the business process (pinks), who (yellow) is involved in the processes and what role (yellow) do they perform. Then there are the descriptions (blue) of all of the above.

Out of this came the Archetypal Domain Shape which firstly show how these shapes generally hang together but also the type of attributes and behaviors you would expect them to have. It provides a good way to figure out what things are and secondly pick up attributes or behaviours that may have been missed.

In the book Java Modeling In Color With UML Peter then goes into typical shapes that you would expect to see for different problem spaces. A good example of this is the parent-child type pattern you would expect to see with some thing like an order and order-details type relationship.

I read the book but it wasn’t until I got into modelling a system that I got to appreciate the beauty that is colour modelling. Colour modelling when we did our modelling exercise with the business on our project was a great communication tool allowing a clear and concise definition of the scope of the project.

Disclaimer: I am from Australia so Colour is spelt with a ‘u’.

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