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Everywhere in the software industry today we encounter the notion of model. Certainly the schedule at JAOO was filled with references to it; it even had a separate track on Model Driven Architecture.
I’ve always been very sceptical to the ideal that of executable UML and the whole “software through pictures” crowd, because I really think it isn’t that simple. The thing is that this has given me a very negative association to anything that sounds like “Model Driven Something”, because model has to be a set of UML diagrams, right?
When most well-established speakers and software professionals like Martin Fowler, Eric Evans, Dave Thomas, Andy Hunt, Kevlin Henney and the like, talk about models, they are talking about the mental concepts that we build during our investigation of the problem domain.
The main point is that a model is an abstraction of the problem area or domain for which we build the software. Now this can sometimes be represented by UML diagrams, but seldom completely and never in an absolute way.
So remember this: UML is a communication tool, the model is ultimately in your head (and hopefully in the head of your teammates…).
And whenever someone speaks about Model Driven Design or Model Driven Development, take a closer look and don’t dismiss it even if you are (rightly) sceptical of Model Driven Architecture.