Despite the fact that several advanced languages have come out of the Information Age Revolution, such as Java, C++, XML, etc., many people are still designing their code with minimal design in mind. They fall back on the IDE to do the work for them and this as far as the design goes. This may seem acceptable in the short term, but if it's a long term, large project involving many individuals on the project, this is a recipe for disaster. Although, graphic design has been excepted in many of the other engineering fields: Mechanical, Electrical, Architectural, for some reason software design has been very slow to adopting these methods. The main reason, I believe, is that most people feel it's a lot of extra work. Some other reasons are that people feel the tools aren't quite there yet, lack of understanding of the methodologies, too many competing methods, too much design concepts to learn.
UML is an attempt to solve some of the common issues. It's been marketed well by Rational and it is becoming widely accepted in corporations. It seems to bring together some of the best concepts in the Object-Oriented community and provide a common way for people to communicate design. It is also adopted by the Object Management Group and is quickly becoming a standard. UML is not specific to any one implementation and brings together models that have been used for years by programmers to describe their software. I'm not saying UML is the perfect design methodology, but it has adapted well to the existing technologies and is what's out there now.
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