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Object Modeling: The Example Teaches

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Working with a team building an object model recently, Steve Palmer was reminded of the power of a good example. In this article, he provides two related strategies for using examples to illustrate a class diagram.
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"Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other."

—Edmund Burke

"Example is always more efficacious than precept."

—Samuel Johnson

"The example teaches."

—Latin proverb

"Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing."

—Albert Schweitzer

"Example isn't another way to teach, it is the only way to teach."

—Albert Einstein

"I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day."

—Edgar A. Guest

Strategy 1: Ask the Domain Experts to Provide an Example

If you're having trouble visualizing whether a class diagram meets the needs of the business, ask the domain experts to provide a concrete example that you can walk through with them.


  • A good example is worth a thousand words of description.

  • A good example illustrates both the usual occurrences and the types of exceptional cases that may arise.

  • A good example is complex enough to contain ample teaching points but simple enough to be understood.

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