UML <-> Erlang

Ulf Wiger ulf.wiger@REDACTED
Mon Nov 17 13:52:32 CET 2003

On Sat, 15 Nov 2003 20:23:51 -0600, Eric Newhuis 
<enewhuis@REDACTED> wrote:

> Anyone tried mapping UML to Erlang / Erlang to UML?

I've looked into it from time to time, but never actually tried
implementing it (partly because I don't think it's altogether a
great idea.) One could do partial mappings, but I think it would
be important to be clear about which things do not map well.

Here's my biggest gripe:

UML 1.5 doesn't support synchronous calls (UML 2.0 does, but IMHO not
necessarily well). The fundamental principle of UML is event-based
programming, which is only a subset of what Erlang programming is
about. Thus, if you would specify your program using UML and go to
too much semantic detail, you would unecessarily (and perhaps even
dangerously) limit yourself in your programming.

You'd also have a hard time modeling selective receive, process
linking and exit semantics (e.g. supervision trees and other
recovery semantics.) UML doesn't offer any means of specifying
fine-grained error recovery, as far as I can tell.

Using UML for some structure diagrams is OK, as long as you pick
abstractions that map well to Erlang. But specifying concurrency
aspects in UML is about as much fun as a root canal, compared to
doing it in Erlang from scratch.

Ulf Wiger, Senior System Architect

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