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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


The Object Primer: An Introduction to Techniques for Agile Modeling

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4.3 stars
Content Quality: 4.4 stars
Effectiveness: 4.3 stars
Ease of Use: 4.3 starsstar
Reviewed: Jun 09, 2004 by Information Technology Editorial Board
Overview:

This web site gives an overview of Agile Modeling (AM), a software development approach. It covers the philosophy and techniques of AM, including prototypes, models, requirements, and various Unified Modeling Language (UML) diagrams.

Learning Goals: Learners will develop an understanding of agile modeling values, principles and practices.

The goal of this site is to introduce AM concepts to software developers and promote the use of AM in the software development industry.

Target Student Population:

Computer professionals, students, and anyone else interested in software design techniques.

Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Basic understanding of software design and practise.

The reader must have a basic grasp of software design. Knowledge of UML would help as well.

Type of Material:

This site is a collection of essays, Web pages and diagrams.

Recommended Uses:

The author recommends this web site as a good place to begin the use of AM in software development. Developers who use and support AM may place a copy of the AM logo on their own web sites.

Technical Requirements:

A web browser and a PDF viewer.


Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.4 stars
Strengths:

There is a huge amount of material about AM and the techniques used to implement it, particularly UML. The author provides both the rationale for various aspects of AM as well as simple examples of its actual use. The material is well written, and as it comes from a single source it is consistent in tone and style. The author feels strongly that AM is an extremely useful tool and that feeling comes through in the text. The entire web site is clearly a labour of love. The author is not above explaining and reiterating even simple topics. For example, the author spends a fair amount of time discussing in some detail various types of UML diagrams when he could have assumed that the reader already knows about them. The author even provides translations of many (but not all) of his pages in languages such as Japanese.

Concerns:

Although the author provides a large number of small examples, the site seems to lack any large-scale case studies. Discussing a major project or two would help put AM into perspective.


There are a number of bad links, particularly those relating to SD Magazine and some of the non-English pages.


Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.3 stars
Strengths: Together with the materials linked from the Resources, it covers many aspects of
software development and agile modeling.

By providing a great deal of comprehensive information about AM in one place the author has made it very easy for someone interested in software development techniques to learn possibly even more than they wanted to know about AM. Compared to sites that are simply semi-organized lists of links to other sites on a particular topic this site puts it all in one place and organizes it extremely well.

Concerns: Due to lack of case studies and guiding materials it may be difficult to use the materials in class.

By being the product of a single author this site emphasizes this author's concerns and biases. The author does, however, provide links to other sites about AM, to archives of AM-related message boards, and even to articles and editorials critical of his position. This shows integrity.


Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.3 stars
Strengths:

The web site is very well organized with numerous cross links to similar topics and appropriate defintions and examples. It is very easy to use.

Concerns:

The site search uses Google and works well, but searches are not available on every page. Generally users must return to the home page to initiate a search.

A site map and glossary would be helpful. Materials are mostly plain text. One
of the links did not work (An Agile Modeling Environment for Partial Models (P.
Emanuelson)
http://www.xp2002.org/atti/ParEmanuelson--Anagilemodelingenvironmentforpartialmodels.pdf).

Other Issues and Comments:

An well written, well organized, easy to use site that is a very good introduction to the topic of Agile Modeling. It is clear that the author went to a huge amount of trouble to make this material available to the general public.