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UML Distilled: A Brief Guide to the Standard Object Modeling Language

(Addison-Wesley Object Technology Series)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  1,374 ratings  ·  59 reviews
More than 300,000 developers have benefited from past editions of UML Distilled . This third edition is the best resource for quick, no-nonsense insights into understanding and using UML 2.0 and prior versions of the UML. Some readers will want to quickly get up to speed with the UML 2.0 and learn the essentials of the UML. Others will use this book as a handy, quick ...more
Paperback, Third Edition, 208 pages
Published September 15th 2003 by Addison-Wesley Professional (first published 1997)
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Jan 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Using UML for "sketching" really resonates with me.
It's nice when someone famous tells you it's ok to keep doing what you are doing.
Fowler's treatment of the various diagrams are for and how to apply them is great and concise.
A must read.
Anton Antonov
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
UML Distilled 3rd edition is what I read most recently. It's a very light read that I would say is a practical reference book for the most industry-practical UML diagrams.

It is not a good source to learn UML, you're probably better of reading "Learning UML 2.0" or a similar more UML-focused book.

UML Distilled is a mostly chaotic and unordered review and thoughts of Fowler about the usage of the specific patterns. It doesn't go through the structure, behavioural and then interaction diagrams.

Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Using this more as a reference book, then a full blown read from start to finish. That said, the writing could be a lot better. As a IT professional, this book could be better at explaining all aspects of a given UML diagram. The book reads more like the information came from a software developer's brain that a layman (or someone who is not a software developer writing code).

Considering this is one of the top recommended UML books, I high higher hopes for the book. It is disappointing it is
Anit Shrestha Manandhar
The lack of design documentation in today's software development culture has become one of the reasons of technical debt. Reading books that helps to share the views on higher level as well as in the implementation perspective is a must. Also to share technical perspectives in the planning phases, the understanding of UML is very important!

The content of the books has been good to help me be more Object Oriented thinker and a better Technical Leader.
Philippe Fanaro
May 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Everything is great and Fowler's advice throughout the book is incredibly useful for when applying UML to the real world, however I feel like this book is missing a section/chapter with a project where we can follow a back-to-back system design from a world-class software engineer such as the author.

The bibliography is really great though and the book really does serve well as a reference book for later on.
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Before reading this book, I was often at lost when using UML in software design. In the past, I put much emphasis on elaborate UML before writing code, while often got bogged down. UML distilled told me to use UML sparingly, which shed light on what UML's role really is. Not too much, not too complex. That's it!
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is my "little UML book", the big one being
A few months ago I had to plow through [Larman]. Now I needed a quick
refresher course. For this [Fowler] is great. He throws in some things in to think
about. If you are new in UML/ Object Oriented analysis/design, don't start here.
A little book doesn't mean it is easier.
Ralph N
May 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Nice quick overview on UML to gain more insight into modeling the software development process. Dont know if I would recommend this book though over the other way more useful books if youre a software engineer ...more
Nikolas Mavrogeneiadis
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really good book! Martin Fowler knows the subject very well and describe it clearly. It can be used as a reference book cause it contains a lot of diagrams about UML. Also the small size makes the book more attractive cause it has only the necessary things.
Kevin Schultz
May 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Useful reference book. It's something to skim for 10 minutes and then keep on your desk for the next time you need to sketch out a diagram.
Very helpful book. It helped me shape some loose concepts I had.

If your milestone is to become a software architect, this book is good starting point.
Feb 04, 2019 rated it did not like it
Definitely not for devs. The tiny bit of useful info a dev gets out of this book can fit on 2 pages.
Steve Whiting
Feb 17, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a fairly short (160 page) gallop through UML2. It's short and to the point, and mostly this gets across the gist of what you need to know. There are times where it strays a bit too far into terseness, and some of the text really needs to be broken up with specific examples closer to the descriptions. Particularly, the text sometimes ploughs on with some quite dense descriptions and no visual example, or has a reference to a diagram several pages away, neither of which make for easy ...more
Scott Fabel
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
As a Business Analyst, and as a Professor of Business Analysis, I am frequently reading books about business analysis tools and techniques. I am very interested in using more UML in my work, so I thought that this would be a good book for me to read. Unfortunately, I didn't think that this book was all that great--at least not for a business analyst.

This book is probably far more useful to a systems designer or developer because most of the diagrams are described in terms of how they could be
Michael Mcdermott
Jan 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: software, 2015
A good overview of UML. UML does not seem to be a large benefit to the software development process in itself, but its value stems from the value of modeling ideas on paper before sinking time into coding. Some of the techniques in this book are good to know about to help you think about your software and how your programs interact with other components of your system. UML formalizes the annotation, which is nice, but I think the thought process that goes into the diagrams more valuable. There ...more
Roshan Titus
Apr 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Got a copy of the 3rd edition which focus on UML 2.0 version and read it completely! The book is excellently written, concise in a manner which provides lot of valuable information in short words. Along with clarifying various subtle differences in UML elements and concepts, author also gives useful insights to realizing/implementing these in programming languages(eg: Page 111 discusses 3 ways to realize state diagrams including state pattern). Also author discuss various related Object oriented ...more
Jan 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: technical
So far, I am enjoying this book quite a bit (as much as a technical book can be enjoyed). It opts for brevity and serves as a highlight of the most useful UML practices instead of exhaustively describing the UML spec in detail. If you need the full gory details of UML, use another book, but if you want the "real" story of how UML is really used and get a good overview and feel - this is the book to use...
David VanderWyst
Sep 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I purchased another modeling book and found it to be too advanced so I decided to hunt down A more introductory one. This book turned out to be a fantastic introduction to the various models, with solid examples on how to use them.

The author seemed interesting to read, and held my attention throughout. This won't be the last UML book I pick up, but I'm glad I took the time to go through it. It is another one that will be around as a reference for a while.
Jon Gauthier
Jan 29, 2013 marked it as to-read
Shelves: programming, java, oop
I've always been a bit uneasy about UMLit seems to me a sort of hallmark of that über-strict, institutionalized OOP that I feel the need to avoid. The table of contents (available on Amazon) makes me think that some of these strategies might actually be useful, though. Maybe worth a skim, at least. ...more
Anton Kan
Aug 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
Wouldn't recommend this book (at least in Russian translation which I was reading), regardless of the fact that it was written by the Great Martin Fowler. The narration is pretty unlinked and a newbie would hardly understand how to use UML 2.0 correctly. May be more useful as a reference to those who just migrate from UML 1.x to UML 2.0.
Ettore Pasquini
Meh. I never understood the good in UML when I was in school, and I still don't get it 15 years later. This book is decent I guess, but I think there are more interesting subjects one should spend his/her time on.
Nov 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tech
If you want to gain practical knowledge about UML - this is the first book you should read. The author sticks to the important parts, that you will likely see in the real world and the book is easy to read.
Caroline Gordon
I figured I should remind myself of all the things UML is so I at least know what I don't know about it. It would be fun to apply this now and this book is a great guide to get you there as quickly as possible. A really practical accessible book.
TK Keanini
Apr 07, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: software developers
I'm still looking for a good book on UML. This was a good book but there are still holes in my knowledge on the subject. I can't think in UML yet. Maybe I just need more flight time.
Jul 08, 2007 rated it really liked it
This book is one referenced for getting an understanding of UML. This is one that is on my shelf as a reference.
Mar 11, 2008 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Will probably learn what I forgot a while ago :)
Jul 13, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: software engineers
Recommended to Sasha by: Robert Lyons
Shelves: to-re-read
The best book I could find on UML, and I still don't know what it is.
Aug 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
A good and concise book by Fowler.
You can read it in a snap and start using UML in your designs
Preston Lee
Feb 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The book I still consider to be the definitive desk reference for UML. A must-have for software engineers.
Feb 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
Read this when I was into UML and OO AD
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Martin Fowler (b. 1963) is a software engineer, Chief Scientist at ThoughtWorks, and an outspoken advocate for best practices in enterprise software design, particularly in regard to agile software development methodologies, including extreme programming.

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