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Well, I finally submitted my assignment

 
Darryl A. J. Staflund
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Android Java VI Editor
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It has been a long time since I posted to Javaranch. Kind of miss it :-)

I started the SCEA certification about a year ago. It took me a month or so to pass the Part I and expected to pass through the assignment quickly. Boy was I wrong! I had to work, learn some significant technologies, and try again and again to come up with a solution to the SCEA assignment. I finally finished the assignment, though, and submitted it a couple of days ago. I write Part III tomorrow.

I do not know why but I just want to state my experiences with Part II because I do not know if they are typical or not and I'd like to hear how others have approached the problems I have encountered.

By far the biggest I problem I had with the SCEA assignment was struggling with how best to draw my diagrams in a way that was simple, straight-forward, expressed architectural decisions, and was consistent with contemporary design pattern methodology and UML development strategies. To this day I do not know how Cade in his book came up with such simple diagrams:

1. In the architectural responsibilities that I perform on a day to day basis, I need to incorporate significant design pattern details in my documents -- especially at the client and presentation level. Cade's examples are very concise but concentrates primarily on design of the business tier, not the presentation tier. And so patterns like Front Controller, Service to Worker, Context Object, etc. are not depicted in his component diagrams. I loved the clarity of his diagrams but couldn't help but feel that the deliverables asked in Part II were written before major presentation layer frameworks like Struts hit the scene. Once I made the choice to devote considerable effort to the client and presentation tiers as well, the number and complexity of my diagrams grew accordingly.

2. I struggled a lot with exactly how one should use design patterns, use cases, and UML to come up with solution diagrams that are J2EE compliant. How, exactly, does one start from a set of use cases and sample documents, and actually iteratively develop a family of UML models that depict the solution to the problem. It was not at all obvious to me and the books I read on the topic were really quite specialized and didn't provide a map of how to get to Point B (UML diagrams) from Point A. Luckily, I stumbled across the book, "Building J2EE Applications with the Rational Unified Process" (ISBN: 0-201-79166-8) which gave me the map I needed. I am really interested in how people have approached this issue in their assignments.

3. Finding a good UML editor. It is ** soooooo important! ** I tried them all -- Rational XP (Too expensive), Poseidon (Not to my taste), and some other ones, but finally settled on Enterprise Architect by Sparx. Only when I found this editor was I able to manage the development of my documents in a way that was intuitive and easy.

4. Understanding the relation between the Class Diagram and Component Diagrams, and understanding how to draft a Class diagram that expresses the problem domain in a succinct manner in such a way that J2EE business components can be modelled after them. I don't know if I want to say more about the problems I encountered here and my solution to them because I feel I'd be touching on issues that fall within the solution space of the SCEA assignment. But Cade's example really helped me to see the connection here and led me to develop class and component diagrams that I feel are really clean and expressive.

5. I didn't really understand until late in my assignment, the importance of distinguishing the Client tier from the Presentation tier. Again, I don't feel comfortable talking about it here. But it was an important consideration in my assignment.

Anyway, I am going to draw this to an end here. Wish me luck :-)

Darryl
 
Ramon Gill
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Darryl,
I wish you luck on parts 2 & 3.

Interesting to read your thoughts on the assignment. I passed part one last November. and have not downloaded the assignment yet, due to taking 3 other exams.

Ray
 
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