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Part VII: Usable Objects > Useful Cases

Chapter 46. Useful Cases

As if a nascent Hollywood script writer were hidden within every systems analyst and software designer, almost everyone nowadays seems to be turning into a scenarist. Variants on scenario-based design are springing up as fast as academics with time on their hands and consultants with flagging practices can crank out another article or compile and peddle another anthology. Every major object-oriented methodology, right down to the latest and most unified, has embraced scenarios or use cases or some other aptly or ineptly named sequential task model. Articles have been written, books have been printed, columns have been penned, classes have been taught, and discussions have been led until most professionals in the field can speak comfortably and knowledgeably about use cases without stammering or pausing to wonder whether or not the term is really English.

A number of pioneering practitioners have also reached the conclusion that use cases ought to be good for user interfaces (see Chapter 22). If use cases can be used to guide the design of object communication and the partitioning of methods across classes, they should be useful for designing human-computer communication and the partitioning of features among user interface contexts. The logic may be less than compelling, but there is, nonetheless, an intrinsic appeal to the idea, a sort of technological equivalent of sympathetic magic. After all, both terms have a common root word and they even rhyme. “Going places with use cases for user interfaces,” could well be the slogan of the hour.


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