Context:
The Unified Modeling Language (UML), with its 14 different diagram types, is the de-facto standard modeling language for object-oriented modeling and documentation. Since the various UML diagrams describe different aspects of one, and only one, software under development, they are not independent but strongly depend on each ot her in many ways. In other words, diagrams must remain consistent. Dependencies between diagrams can become so intricate that it is sometimes even possible to synthesize one diagram on the basis of others. Support for synthesizing one UML diagram from other diagrams can provide the designer with significant help, thus speeding up the design process, decreasing the risk of errors, and guaranteeing consistency among the diagrams.

Objective:

The aim of this article is to provide a comprehensive summary of UML synthesis techniques as they have been described in literature to date in order to obtain an extensive and detailed overview of the current research in this area.

Method:
We have performed a Systematic Mapping Study by following well-known guide-lines. We selected ten primary studies by means of a search with seven search engines per-formed on October 2, 2013.

Results:
Various results are worth mentioning. First it appears that researchers have not frequently published papers concerning UML synthesis techniques since 2004 (with the exception of two papers published in 2010). Only half of the UML diagram types are involved in the synthesis techniques we discovered. The UML diagram type most frequently used as the source for synthesizing another diagram is the sequence diagram (66.7%), and the most synthesized diagrams are the state machine diagram (58.3%) and the class diagram (25%).

Conclusion:
The fact that we did not obtain a large number of primary stud ies over a 14 year period (only ten papers) indicates that synthesizing a UML diagram from other UML diagrams is not a particularly active line of research. Research on UML diagram synthesis is nevertheless relevant since synthesis techniques rely on or en force diagram consistency , and studying UML diagram consistency is an active line of research. Another r esult is that research is need ed to investigate synthesis techniques for other types of UML diagrams than those involved in our primary studies.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Unified Modeling Language (UML), UML synthesis techniques, UML consistency, Systematic Mapping Study
Publisher Department of Systems and Computer Engineering
Series SCE Technical Reports
Citation
Torre, Damiano, Labiche, Y, & Genero, Marcela. (2015). UML diagram synthesis techniques: a systematic mapping study. SCE Technical Reports. Department of Systems and Computer Engineering.