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Joel on Software

Design Documentation Of Dynamic Behavior

I was wondering what experience and practice some of you guys use for documenting and designing the dynamic behavior of software.

What I am referring to is not the static model of the software (class definitions, class interalationships) but rather the dynamic flow of a command through the various objects within a software system.

Of course I am aware of UML, however, the problem is that trying to maintain such documents is a real bear, and basically never gets done. What I need is some tool that can extract the flow from an existing program, annotated in some way. Then have the ability to modify that flow in a design meeting to design how a new feature should be added. Then I need some way, when the software is completed to compare the design to the actual software.

Am I living in la-la land? If not, how do the rest of you document and maintain the documentation on the dynamic flows of your software?

Jessica Boxer
Monday, August 30, 2004

well don't know if something like this really exists, but famous Reflector with IL graph plugin may helps you.
it's limited to method context and generates noneditable image, but it's based on an open source graph library (probably this plugin is os too) and Refletor have nice documented API so ... ;)

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

I'm currently using Borland's "Together for Visual Studio .NET 2003" to reverse-engineer UML sequence diagrams from C# source code; it's been an interesting experiment: I haven't decided yet whether it's quicker/better than making such diagrams by hand.

Christopher Wells
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

You might want to take a look at

Mike Gunderloy
Friday, September 3, 2004

Currently, when I need to do stuff like that, I use state diagrams and swimlanes. I have been taking a look at colored petri nets, but those seem to give me headaches.

Looks like I need to save up some bucks for that logic explorer program though. THanks, mike

Friday, September 3, 2004

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