Derived classes as a basis for views in UML/OCL data models

H. Balsters

Research output: Working paperAcademic

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UML is the de facto standard language for analysis and design in object-oriented frameworks. Information systems, and in particular information systems based on databases and their applications, rely heavily on sound principles of analysis and design. Many present-day database applications employ object-oriented principles in the phases of analysis and design due to the advantages of expressiveness and clarity of such languages as UML. Database specifications often involve specifications of constraints, and the Object Constraint Language (OCL) - as part of UML - can aid in the unambiguous modelling of database constraints. One of the central notions in database modelling and in constraint specifications is the notion of a database view. A database view closely corresponds to the notion of derived class in UML. This paper will show how the notion of a derived class in UML can be given a precise semantics in terms of OCL. We will then demonstrate that the notion of a relational database view can be correctly expressed as a derived class in UML/OCL. A central part of our investigation concerns the generality of our manner of representing relational views in OCL. An important problem that we address in this respect is the representation of product spaces and relational joins. Joins are often essential in view definitions, and we shall demonstrate how we can express Cartesian products and joins within the current framework of UML/OCL language by employing the notions of derived class. As a consequence, OCL will be shown to be equipped with the full expressive power of the relational algebra, offering support for the claim that OCL can be useful as a general query language within the framework of the UML/OCL data model.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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