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What is a Use Case Realization?

Posted by Chris Adams

Article Rating // 79607 Views // 1 Additional Answers & Comments

Categories: Business Analysis, Systems Analysis, Unified Modeling Language (UML), Use Cases, Functional Specifications


A use case realization provides a construct to organize artifacts which shown how the physical design of a system supports the logical business behavior outlined by a used case.  To show this traceability between the logical and physical design, in the use case diagram each use case is depicted as an oval shown with a solid-line border.  Then for each use case can you may show a use case realization as an oval with a dotted-line border.  The use case and its corresponding use case realization are linked using a realization dependency which is shown in UML as a dashed line with a triangular arrowhead at the end corresponding to the realized element (the use case). 

Use Case Realization

Each use case realization will define the physical design in terms of classes and collaborating objects which support the use case.  Therefore, each use case realization typically is made up of a class diagram and a number of interaction diagrams, most commonly sequence diagrams, showing the collaboration or interaction between physical objects.

Use case realizations allow the analyst to clearly separate the concerns of the logical and physical design.  Since a logical design (the business behavior and requirements) can be implemented or realized via a number of different physical implementations, if a physical design changes the logical use case can remain unaffected.  Also, a use case realization is an excellent form of requirements traceability from the logical business requirements down to the physical implementation of the solution.

Chris Adams
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MTuska posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 7:51 AM
In a RUP context the logical/physical distinction is defined differently.

According to RUP the Use Case Realization task creates the Analysis Model consisting of Boundary classes, Control classes and Entity classes diagrammed in Class Diagrams, and in Sequence Diagrams.

These Models are LOGICAL models describing whitebox inner workings of the system (as opposed to the use cases that treat the system as a Black box.

The Design Model - that is often created by adding details and modifying the Analysis Model - represents the PHYSICAL description of the system to be done.

One major difference between the Analysis Model and the Design Model, is that the Design Model contain implementation language specific information, whereas the Analysis Model does not.

Use Cases are the WHAT, the functional requirements. Use Case Realizations are the HOW, the solution (at the logical level)

Best Regards

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