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What is a navigable association in UML?

Posted by Chris Adams

Article Rating // 56986 Views // 1 Additional Answers & Comments

Categories: Systems Analysis, Domain Modeling, Unified Modeling Language (UML), Business Analysis Planning (BABOK KA)


Associations are relationships between classes in a UML Class Diagram.  They are represented by a solid line between classes.  Associations are typically named using a verb or verb phrase which reflects the real world problem domain.

UML Association

The normal kind of association is bidirectional by default.  This means that if an association exists between two classes, then both objects know about each other.  However, when creating a UML class diagram it is possible to use a navigable association between two classes.  This is shown by adding an arrowhead at one end of the association.  If “A” is the source class and “B” is the target class, the arrowhead would be placed on the “B” side of the association. A navigable association of this type means that at runtime object “A” knows about object “B”, but object “B” has no knowledge of or visibility into object “A”.

UML Navigable Association



Putcha posted on Monday, July 4, 2011 10:54 PM
AA Examples of Association or Relation are given but they are NOT defined. Actually the core concept is too fundamental and difficult to define. In mathematics, RELATION between two sets is defined as a subset of Cartesian product of the two sets---which looks very rigorous and correct BUT it has serious FLAW (email to [email protected] for details).

BB Property and Address are NOT good examples of Object Classes. Property could be physical objects like buildings, estates, vehicles, patents etc. it is better to name them directly. Property also means "characteristic" or "feature" of some object which must be ruled out explicitly to keep the concept clear.

CC ADDRESS is essentially a POINTER to a location in space but is NOT an object, it is an attribute of a specific region in space. There are different ways of "POINTING" address as we currently use is for human understanding. Giving coordinates is well suited for POINTING.
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