Enrich VSTA 2010 Use case diagram with SketchFlow Screens

A use case diagram visualizes the interaction of an external user with your system. So, you can say that in many situations [cases] that there is a need for an user interface, a screen.

Not that strange that RUP connects the user interface designer to use cases. [see image below at the bottom]

wfs_and3 

UML Type: Artifact

Something every diagram has in VSTS 2010 is the UML type ‘Artifact’. With this type we can attach physical pieces of information to or diagrams.

For example in this diagram below, I defined an artifact which points to a class file. [don’t think it very useful to associate C# class files with use cases.. but as an example]

code file

Some nice functionality of this ‘artifact’ shapes gives us the capability to double click the shape and jumps to this file. More useful, what you also can do is point to a Word document with some additional information according to this use case diagram, double clicking will open the file in Word [or you’re preferred text editor].

Microsoft Expression Blend 3

SketchFlow is a visual tool for prototyping desktop and web applications [WPF/ Silverlight].You can download the trail here. The image below, is a prototype of an application made with SketchFlow. A bit sketching, playing with colors real designers work... :-)

sketch

Smashing Magazine had a nice overview of sketch techniques last week “35 Excellent Wireframing Resources” and I made some several weeks ago for this post Storyboard: Architectural Inspections - VSTA2010 – AppArchGuid.

Now, the interesting piece is that SketchFlow, Blend solutions have the same structure as Visual Studio solutions. So, we can open or sketch in Visual Studio. as you can see in the image below, it’s just a normal Silverlight 3.0 project. [installing Expression Studio gives VSTS the ability to open Silverlight 3 projects].

silverlight

From this point it’s very easy to add the ‘XAML’ screens as an artifact link to our Use Case Diagrams.

file

The small challenge at this point is that double clicking on the artifact opens the XAML file of your prototype in ‘your preferred XAML viewer’ your internet browser, showing nothing. A small tweak [replace the full path property value with a batch file with one command “devenv.exe /edit filetoopen.xaml”, the /edit opens the file in the current open environment] makes it possible to open the XAML file in the currently open Visual Studio edition.

Finally the result is a Use Case Diagram with several artifacts referring to user interface screens. Which gives the user interface designer, the system specialist, the customer actually everybody who is involved in this software project an overview of the solution, which results in better understanding and the user interface designer still can work in SketchFlow.

all 

final note: there are still a few integration problems, but I do think this is a valuable scenario….

Comments (19) -

Enrich VSTA 2010 Use case diagram with SketchFlow Screens  , ok that made me curious. I have recently begun to develop using Silverlight but  am finding it is a real learning curve.  My previous experience is with php, mysql, most linux based tools and flash. The ambition of applying Silverlight to produce a good page which runs rapidly in all the major browsers, Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox and Chrome seems a large headache that is taking me numerous hours to master.  Absorbing to read your opinions and the comments in your web site on Silverlight.  I feel the tutorial websites and Microsofts offering are strict and cover the same items, dialog in blogs oftentimes covers genuine methods to beat issues which leads me through the learning curve more rapidly.  Thank you for the post, it has assisted in a small way to take me through the migration.

When is the next post comming on this topic.


Regards

james

Hi nice site design


Regards

barry

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Nice information, many thanks to the author. It is incomprehensible to me now, but in general, the usefulness and significance is overwhelming. Thanks again and good luck!

I like what I see. keep it going

Have you ever considered adding more videos to your blog posts to keep the readers more entertained

I guess there's always an easier way ...

Awesome post. Bookmarked it already. Best regards, Ahmed.

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One of my favorite artists, thank you! A thoughtful insight and ideas I will use on my blog.

One of my favorite artists, thank you! A thoughtful insight and ideas I will use on my blog.

hope this helps and thanks again for your great post

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