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(Optional) Software Engineering Case Study: Identifying Objects States and Activities in the ATM System

(Optional) Software Engineering Case Study Identifying Objects States and Activities in the ATM System

In Section 4.13, we identified many of the class attributes needed to implement the ATM system and added them to the class diagram in Fig. 4.24. In this section, we show how these attributes represent an object's state. We identify some key states that our objects may occupy and discuss how objects change state in response to various events occurring in the system. We also discuss the workflow, or activities, that objects perform in the ATM system. We present the activities of BalanceInquiry and Withdrawal TRansaction objects in this section, as they represent two of the key activities in the ATM system.

State Machine Diagrams

Each object in a system goes through a series of discrete states. An object's current state is indicated by the values of the object's attributes at a given time. State machine diagrams (commonly called state diagrams) model key states of an object and show under what circumstances the object changes state. Unlike the class diagrams presented in earlier case study sections, which focused primarily on the structure of the system, state diagrams model some of the behavior of the system.

Figure 5.26 is a simple state diagram that models some of the states of an object of class ATM. The UML represents each state in a state diagram as a rounded rectangle with the name of the state placed inside it. A solid circle with an attached stick arrowhead designates the initial state. Recall that we modeled this state information as the Boolean attribute userAuthenticated in the class diagram of Fig. 4.24. This attribute is initialized to false, or the "User not authenticated" state, according to the state diagram.

Figure 5.26. State diagram for the ATM object.


The arrows with stick arrowheads indicate transitions between states. An object can transition from one state to another in response to various events that occur in the system. The name or description of the event that causes a transition is written near the line that corresponds to the transition. For example, the ATM object changes from the "User not authenticated" state to the "User authenticated" state after the database authenticates the user. Recall from the requirements document that the database authenticates a user by comparing the account number and PIN entered by the user with those of the corresponding account in the database. If the database indicates that the user has entered a valid account number and the correct PIN, the ATM object transitions to the "User authenticated" state and changes its userAuthenticated attribute to a value of true. When the user exits the system by choosing the "exit" option from the main menu, the ATM object returns to the "User not authenticated" state in preparation for the next ATM user.

Software Engineering Observation 5.3

Software designers do not generally create state diagrams showing every possible state and state transition for all attributesthere are simply too many of them. State diagrams typically show only the most important or complex states and state transitions.

 

Activity Diagrams

Like a state diagram, an activity diagram models aspects of system behavior. Unlike a state diagram, an activity diagram models an object's workflow (sequence of events) during program execution. An activity diagram models the actions the object will perform and in what order. Recall that we used UML activity diagrams to illustrate the flow of control for the control statements presented in Chapter 4 and Chapter 5.

The activity diagram in Fig. 5.27 models the actions involved in executing a BalanceInquiry transaction. We assume that a BalanceInquiry object has already been initialized and assigned a valid account number (that of the current user), so the object knows which balance to retrieve. The diagram includes the actions that occur after the user selects a balance inquiry from the main menu and before the ATM returns the user to the main menua BalanceInquiry object does not perform or initiate these actions, so we do not model them here. The diagram begins with retrieving the available balance of the user's account from the database. Next, the BalanceInquiry retrieves the total balance of the account. Finally, the transaction displays the balances on the screen. This action completes the execution of the transaction.


Figure 5.27. Activity diagram for a BalanceInquiry transaction.

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The UML represents an action in an activity diagram as an action state modeled by a rectangle with its left and right sides replaced by arcs curving outward. Each action state contains an action expressionfor example, "get available balance of user's account from database"that specifies an action to be performed. An arrow with a stick arrowhead connects two action states, indicating the order in which the actions represented by the action states occur. The solid circle (at the top of Fig. 5.27) represents the activity's initial statethe beginning of the workflow before the object performs the modeled actions. In this case, the transaction first executes the "get available balance of user's account from database" action expression. Second, the transaction retrieves the total balance. Finally, the transaction displays both balances on the screen. The solid circle enclosed in an open circle (at the bottom of Fig. 5.27) represents the final statethe end of the workflow after the object performs the modeled actions.

Figure 5.28 shows an activity diagram for a Withdrawal transaction. We assume that a Withdrawal object has been assigned a valid account number. We do not model the user selecting a withdrawal from the main menu or the ATM returning the user to the main menu because these are not actions performed by a Withdrawal object. The transaction first displays a menu of standard withdrawal amounts (Fig. 2.17) and an option to cancel the transaction. The transaction then inputs a menu selection from the user. The activity flow now arrives at a decision symbol. This point determines the next action based on the associated guard conditions. If the user cancels the transaction, the system displays an appropriate message. Next, the cancellation flow reaches a merge symbol, where this activity flow joins the transaction's other possible activity flows (which we discuss shortly). Note that a merge can have any number of incoming transition arrows, but only one outgoing transition arrow. The decision at the bottom of the diagram determines whether the transaction should repeat from the beginning. When the user has canceled the transaction, the guard condition "cash dispensed or user canceled transaction" is true, so control transitions to the activity's final state.

Figure 5.28. Activity diagram for a Withdrawal TRansaction.

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If the user selects a withdrawal amount from the menu, the transaction sets amount (an attribute of class Withdrawal originally modeled in Fig. 4.24) to the value chosen by the user. The transaction next gets the available balance of the user's account (i.e., the availableBalance attribute of the user's Account object) from the database. The activity flow then arrives at another decision. If the requested withdrawal amount exceeds the user's available balance, the system displays an appropriate error message informing the user of the problem. Control then merges with the other activity flows before reaching the decision at the bottom of the diagram. The guard decision "cash not dispensed and user did not cancel" is true, so the activity flow returns to the top of the diagram, and the transaction prompts the user to input a new amount.

If the requested withdrawal amount is less than or equal to the user's available balance, the transaction tests whether the cash dispenser has enough cash to satisfy the withdrawal request. If it does not, the transaction displays an appropriate error message and passes through the merge before reaching the final decision. Cash was not dispensed, so the activity flow returns to the beginning of the activity diagram, and the transaction prompts the user to choose a new amount. If sufficient cash is available, the transaction interacts with the database to debit the withdrawal amount from the user's account (i.e., subtract the amount from both the availableBalance and totalBalance attributes of the user's Account object). The transaction then dispenses the desired amount of cash and instructs the user to take the cash that is dispensed. The main flow of activity next merges with the two error flows and the cancellation flow. In this case, cash was dispensed, so the activity flow reaches the final state.


We have taken the first steps in modeling the behavior of the ATM system and have shown how an object's attributes participate in the object's activities. In Section 6.22, we investigate the operations of our classes to create a more complete model of the system's behavior.

Software Engineering Case Study Self-Review Exercises

5.1

State whether the following statement is true or false, and if false, explain why: State diagrams model structural aspects of a system.

5.2

An activity diagram models the_________that an object performs and the order in which it performs them.

  1. actions
  2. attributes
  3. states
  4. state transitions
5.3

Based on the requirements document, create an activity diagram for a deposit transaction.

Answers to Software Engineering Case Study Self-Review Exercises

5.1

False. State diagrams model some of the behavior of a system.

5.2

a.

5.3

Figure 5.29 presents an activity diagram for a deposit transaction. The diagram models the actions that occur after the user chooses the deposit option from the main menu and before the ATM returns the user to the main menu. Recall that part of receiving a deposit amount from the user involves converting an integer number of cents to a dollar amount. Also recall that crediting a deposit amount to an account involves increasing only the totalBalance attribute of the user's Account object. The bank updates the availableBalance attribute of the user's Account object only after confirming the amount of cash in the deposit envelope and after the enclosed checks clearthis occurs independently of the ATM system.

Figure 5.29. Activity diagram for a Deposit TRansaction.

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Introduction to Computers, the Internet and World Wide Web

Introduction to C++ Programming

Introduction to Classes and Objects

Control Statements: Part 1

Control Statements: Part 2

Functions and an Introduction to Recursion

Arrays and Vectors

Pointers and Pointer-Based Strings

Classes: A Deeper Look, Part 1

Classes: A Deeper Look, Part 2

Operator Overloading; String and Array Objects

Object-Oriented Programming: Inheritance

Object-Oriented Programming: Polymorphism

Templates

Stream Input/Output

Exception Handling

File Processing

Class string and String Stream Processing

Web Programming

Searching and Sorting

Data Structures

Bits, Characters, C-Strings and structs

Standard Template Library (STL)

Other Topics

Appendix A. Operator Precedence and Associativity Chart

Appendix B. ASCII Character Set

Appendix C. Fundamental Types

Appendix D. Number Systems

Appendix E. C Legacy Code Topics

Appendix F. Preprocessor

Appendix G. ATM Case Study Code

Appendix H. UML 2: Additional Diagram Types

Appendix I. C++ Internet and Web Resources

Appendix J. Introduction to XHTML

Appendix K. XHTML Special Characters

Appendix L. Using the Visual Studio .NET Debugger

Appendix M. Using the GNU C++ Debugger

Bibliography

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C++ How to Program
C++ How to Program (5th Edition)
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