UML Use Case Diagrams can be used to describe the functionality of a system in a horizontal way. Other than merely representing the details of individual features of your system, the UCDs can be used to show all of its available functionality. Important to note, that UCDs are fundamentally different from sequence diagrams or flow charts because they do not make any attempt to represent the order or number of times that the systems actions and sub-actions should be executed.
UCDs have only 4 major elements: The actors that the system you are describing interacts with, system itself use cases, services, and the system knows how to perform, lines that represent relationships between these elements.
You should use UCDs to represent the functionality of your system from a top-down perspective (that is, at a glance the system's functionality is obvious, all descriptions are at a very high level. More detail can later be added to the diagram to elucidate interesting points in the system's behavior.)
Example: A UCD is well suited to the task of describing all of the things that can be done with a database system, by all of the people who might use it (the administrators, the developers, the data entry personnel.)
You should NOT use UCDs to represent exception behavior (when errors happen) or to try to illustrate the sequence of steps that must be performed in order to complete a task. To use Sequence diagrams to show these design features.
Example: A UCD would be poorly suited to describing the TCP/IP network protocol; there are many exception cases, the branching behaviors, conditional functionality (what happens when a packet is lost or late, and what about when the connection dies?)
While a use case itself might drill into a lot of detail about every possibility, use-case diagram can help provide higher-level view of the system. It has been said before that "Use case diagrams are the blueprints for your system". The diagrams provide simplified and graphical representation of what the system must actually do.
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