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turns simple outlines into UML sequence diagrams

UML::Sequence::SimpleSeq - turns simple outlines into UML sequence diagrams


UML::Sequence::SimpleSeq - turns simple outlines (see below) into UML sequence diagrams

SYNOPSIS UML::Sequence::SimpleSeq outline_file > sequence.xml sequence.xml > sequence.svg

OR UML::Sequence::SimpleSeq outline_file | > sequence.svg

OR UML::Sequence::SimpleSeq outline_file | > sequence.png


This file may be used directly by a script (as shown above) or as a base class for other sequencers (see UML::Sequence::JavaSeq). It supplies routines for handling simple outlines like a user could be expected to type by hand. Such outlines look like this:

    At Home.Wash Car


        this is an annotation

        the next line shows how to specify return values


        Garage.retrieve bucket -> bucket

            Kitchen.prepare bucket

                Kitchen.pour soap in bucket

                Kitchen.fill bucket

        Garage.get sponge -> sponge


        the next line specifies an external async event


        -> clickerSignal


        the next line specifies a conditional, urgent method call


        [garageDoorClosed] ! door


        the next line specifies an iterative method call


        * Driveway.apply soapy water


        Driveway.empty bucket

        -> clickerSignal

        Garage.close door

        Garage.replace sponge


        the next line specifies a class/static method call


        Garage::replace bucket

The ``class'' name and ``method'' name are separated by a dot. If there are multiple dots, the method name is everything after the last dot. Classes and methods in this context are elements of a UML sequence diagram. Classes get boxes at the top of the page. Method calls are labeled lines from one class to another. If you want two classes with the same name, you must append a suffix or prefix (try instanceName:ClassName).

Static (aka class) methods are assumed if there is not dot separator, but only double colon '::' separators, in which case the last text segment preceded by '::' is assumed to be the method name, and is displayed in italics in the output.

Return values may be specified by the '->' marker; everything to the right of the marker will be used as a label on a dashed line returning from the called object back to the caller object.

External events can be indicated by the '->' marker without any preceding object/method name. These are rendered as lines originating from the far right of the image, terminated by a half-arrow, with text to the right of the marker displayed as the label on a line.

Iterations are denoted by an introductory asterisk '*', which is preserved in the output label. Conditional statements can be added by introducing an entry with text enclosed by brackets '[]'.

For the Thread::Apartment manpage applications, urgent methods are introduced by an exclamation point '!', which is preserved in the output text label.

Annotations may be specified using C style comment delimiters, '/* */'. Everything between the delimiters will be tagged as annotation on the next directive line, which the renderer may convert to e.g., tooltips or text in a margin. NOTE: no escape is provided for closing delimiters within an annotation.

Finally, in order to properly position return values for nested method calls, whitespace characters (tabs, spaces) are used to delimit the scope of nested method calls.


Call this first with the outline file (in the format described above). Pass it the name of the file to read. Returns a reference to an array whose elements are lines from the outline with spacing preserved.


Call this with an outline (possibly generated by grab_outline). It will return a hash reference. Each method mentioned in the outline will appear as a key in the hash (the values are less important, they count the occurances of the method).


This method is a call back used by the UML::Sequence constructor. It accepts a signature and returns the ``class'' name (in scalar context) or, in list context, the ``class'', ``method'', ``returnvalue'', iterator, urgent, conditional, indicators, and any annotation. It splits the signature on the last dot it sees after removing any argument list and associated parentheses. It also looks for the '->' marker in order to collect a return values list. NOTE: BE SURE TO PRESERVE INTRO WHITESPACE FOR NESTED METHOD SCOPING!!


Original versions by Phil Crow, <> Version 0.02 by Dean Arnold, <>


Copyright 2003-2006, Philip Crow, all rights reserved.

You may modify and/or redistribute this code in the same manner as Perl itself.