Question using loops in activity diagram

Hi list,

i am a little bit confused how vp displays loops inside activity diagramms.

I define a loop using a loop node from the tool-pane and define the variables like body-part, setup-part and so on. The loop node inside the diagramm do not mark the selected activity and object nodes as members of the defined parts of the loop. I would expect that the loop-node will be parted in the sections of a loop like: for/while/do

How can i make the different loop-parts visible for a reader inside the diagram?

Regards

Hi Microscan,

As I know OMG (Object Management Group) haven’t yet specify the notation for Loop Node (and Conditional Node), therefore, we can just follow its parent model, Structured Activity Node’s notation, which shows nothing more than a keyword at the top of the shape.

Best regards,
Jick

Hi Jick,

thank you for your quick response.

My fault - yes you are right there is no specification until yet how to display a loop node (not in uml version 2.1.1).

In my opinion the actual reprensentation of a loop-node is not expressive enought and hence the loop-node is not usefull for me. Do you have a suggetstion for me how to model a loop inside a activity diagramm?

Thank you,

regards Microscan

Hello Microscan,

Thank you for the reply. Is it possible to present the looping by usnig decision node? Like the image attached, under certain condition the flow will go back to a former action. I suppose this should be a possible solution for you, is it?

Best regards,
Jick
using-decision-node.png

Hi Jick,

yes you could do so but my problem is to model this:

input for a lopp: a number of objects (e.g. in a collection)

loop test: input colllection is empty

loop body: do something with a element out of the input, remove the element from the input collection and perform the same activities with the next one

So with your example the loop is clear but how to model the fact that the input amount of objects is reduced by one object per loop until the input is empty?

Regards Microscan

Although the OMG haven’t specify the notation for Loop Node and Condition Node, the noun “subregion” is occured in its spec.
Could VP-UML support it by imitating the “region” in state machine diagram?
A product named “MagicDraw UML” has supported it by using similar approach.

A simple way is to allow users to add “region” to Conditional Node freely.
And the “setup”, “test”, and “body” regions are the only regions (default, not changable) appeared in a Loop Node.

Thanks.

HI tinlans,

I will talk to our engineers and get back to you.

Best regards,
Jick

Hi tinlans,

Your problem is solved in the latest version. You can now create Conditional and Loop Nodes with Regions in Activity Diagram. Hope this helps.

If there is anything else that I can do to help please do not hesitate to ask.

Best regards,
Jick
nodes_with_regions.png

Thanks a lot.

I have tested this feature.
Is it possible to add input/output pin to this kind of structured activity nodes?
I cannot find a way to add input/output pin to them.

The examples are showed in the attachments.
These notations are also appeared in some UML 2.x books, but I cannot ensure that it’s in OMG’s spec.
The web page also contains a similar statement:
http://syseng.nist.gov/se-interop/class-view?class=typeUMLInputPin

Input pins may have outgoing edges only when they are on actions that are structured nodes, and these edges must target a node contained by the structured node."

It indicates that the input pin can be attached to the structured nodes, and the input pin may have an outgoing edge in this case.
That is, the output pin may have an incoming edge if it is on a structured node.

Furthermore, the functionality of “Export as Image” is also missed some important items.
Most of UML diagrams are enclosed by a big frame, and there is a pentagon with a digram name on the top-left side.
The frame and pentagon are not presented in the exported images.
(It’s shown in the last attachment. You can compare it with the previous 2 images.)
I can only see them if I “print” the whole diagram.
Is it possible to add some options to “Export as Image” for supporting this requirement?
activity_conditional.png
activity_loop.png
activity.jpg

Dear tinlans,

Thank you for bringing this problem into our attention. We have fixed application now. Please download the patch at:
http://files3.visual-paradigm.com/200803/Patch/sp1_20080311j/VP_Suite_Windows_3_2_sp1_20080311j.exe

To use the patch:

  1. Exit any running instance of VP
  2. Install by overwriting the current installation
  3. Restart the product.

Note: This patch is made for VP Suite 3.2 SP1 (VP-UML 6.2 SP1). Please make sure you have a valid license for the product. Otherwise you won’t be able to start up the product after the installation.

If there is anything else that I can help, please do not hesitate to ask.

Best regards,
Lilian Wong

It’s great!
Thanks.

I still found a small bug.
Input pins on the structured node cannot get an object flow which comes from an action inner a structured node, but I can draw it on this new version.
(Output pins can get this kind of object flows, but input pins can’t)
InputPinBug.jpg

Hi tinlans,

Thank you for your post. As the input pin in the diagram is for loop, the direction cannot be reverse.

Best regards,
Lilian Wong

Hi. I also found that the input/output pins cannot be added to a conditional node.
In general, they should be able to attached to any kind of structured activity nodes.

By the way, I also discoverd some features (of Activity Diagram) which are missed in VP-UML.
But I have to spend a lot of time to describe them in English due to my poor English writing :frowning:
Today, I noticed that Visual Paradigm is in HK :shock:
So I guess that maybe you can read Tranditional Chinese words.

In fact, I have tested the most features of Activity Diagram and reported the results in my blog in Chinese.
And I planed to report them here one-by-one (in English) when I have free time.
If you can read Chinese words and you would like to do the extra-jobs,
you could follow this link to read that report. (SSL certification warning can be ignored since I don’t want to pay a valid one.)
Anyway, it’s really not required to do :smiley:
I will try to report them in English here as possible as I can.

Hi tinlans,

Thank you for drawing our attention on the input/output pins issue. I’ve forwarded this issue to our engineers. Once there is any feedback, I will come back to you immediately.

If you have any inquiries, please feel free to contact me again.

Best regards,
Lilian Wong

Hi tinlans,

The issue of attaching input/output pins to structured activity nodes is fixed already, please download and try the patch in the following link.
http://files3.visual-paradigm.com//200803/Patch/sp1_20080311u/VP_Suite_Windows_3_2_sp1_20080311u.exe

To use the patch:

  1. Exit any running instance of VP
  2. Install by overwriting the current installation
  3. Restart the product.

Note: This patch is made for VP Suite 3.2 SP1 (VP-UML 6.2 SP1). Please make sure you have a valid product license. Otherwise you won’t be able to start up the product after the installation.

If there is any inquiries, please feel free to contact me again.

Best regards,
Lilian Wong

Hello Lilian,

do you have this path for Linux, too?

Regards -

Dirk

Hi Dirk,

Thanks for your post. You can download the newer build from the Download site of our website (http://www.visual-paradigm.com/download/download.jsp?product=vpsuite). The newer build contains more enhancements and fix including the fix of this issue.

If there are any inquiries, please feel free to contact me.

Best regards,
Lilian Wong