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Lesson 13 - UML - UML under the hood and Profile diagram

In the previous lesson, UML - Composite structure diagram and Object diagram, we learned how to use Composite Structure and Object diagrams. In today's UML tutorial, we're going to finish our knowledge of UML. If you wonder how it works under the hood, you're gonna understand it all today. We'll also talk about extending UML which is possible by Profile diagram. It's useful for defining our own symbols and stereotypes.

UML under the hood

UML is a relatively large-scale and strict project. You can find the official specification for download at, it's a 1000-page document.

UML is divided into 3 key components:

  • Infrastructure - The definition of basic metamodel elements (see below).
  • Superstructure - The definition of individual UML elements using metamodels.
  • OCL - An independent language for formal constraint definitions in UML diagrams. As far as the language complexity is concerned, it's comparable, for example, to SQL and we'll learn more about it further in the course.

If you've ever wondered how the individual diagrams are defined, the answer might be a surprise for you. It's by diagrams. Yes, UML actually uses itself for its definition. Each diagram is defined by several other diagrams using the basic syntax from the UML core, which is defined at the beginning of that long document.

Class diagram

Let's show the class diagram definition as an example. The definitions of UML core elements are followed by an abstract model of so-called structured classifiers.


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In this tutorial, we'll show how UML is defined internally. We'll learn to use Profile diagram to extend UML of custom stereotypes and tagged values.

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Article has been written for you by David Capka
The author is a programmer, who likes web technologies and being the lead/chief article writer at He shares his knowledge with the community and is always looking to improve. He believes that anyone can do what they set their mind to.
Unicorn university David learned IT at the Unicorn University - a prestigious college providing education on IT and economics.