UML consistency rules: a case study with open-source UML models
UML models are standard artifacts used by software engineers for designing software. As software is designed, different UML diagram types (e.g., class diagrams and sequence diagrams) are produced by software designers. Since the various UML diagram types describe different aspects of a software system, they are not independent but strongly depend on each other, hence they must be consistent. Inconsistencies cause faults of the final software systems. It is, therefore, paramount that they get detected, analyzed, and fixed. Consistency rules are a useful tool proposed in the literature to detect inconsistencies. They categorize syntactic constraints that help in identifying inconsistencies when violated. This case study aims at collecting and analyzing UML models with OCL consistency rules proposed in the literature and at promoting the development of a reference benchmark that can be reused by the (FM-)research community. We collected 33 UML consistency rules and 206 different UML diagrams contained in 34 open-source UML models presented in the literature. We propose an FM-based encoding of the consistency rules in OCL. This encoding allows analyzing whether the consistency rules are satisfied or violated within the 34 UML models. To assess the proposed benchmark, we analyzed how the UML models, consistency rules, diagram types contained in the benchmark help in assessing the consistency of UML models, and the consistency of diagrams across the different software development phases. Our results show that the considered UML models and consistency rules allowed identifying 2731 inconsistencies and that those inconsistencies refer to different software development phases. We concluded that the considered UML models and consistency rules could be considered as an initial benchmark that can be further extended by the research community.