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Chapter 20. Mirror, Mirror

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the fairest of them all? The wicked queen in Snow White had only to look in her mirror to get the true picture. Software engineers should be so lucky. They need good mirrors that simply and accurately reflect the software being engineered. The wicked queen may have been displeased by what she learned, but at least her mirror gave a true image with no difficulty in interpretation.

That's what a good modeling notation offers: a clear image of software—unambiguous and easy to interpret. Unlike a looking glass, a useful modeling notation cannot simply reflect a detailed picture with a one-to-one correspondence to code. A good model is an accurate but selective embodiment of software, a necessarily simplified picture. The effectiveness of a modeling notation for expressing problems and their software solutions depends on how this simplification is achieved. The precise nature of the translation between the medium of the programming language and the medium of the modeling notation should be simple, straightforward, logical, and easy to learn.


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