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Unified Modeling Language Reference Manual, The, Second Edition by Grady Booch, Ivar Jacobson, James Rumbaugh

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action

A primitive activity node whose execution results in a change in the state of the system or the return of a value.

Semantics

An action is a primitive activity node—that it, it is the smallest computation that can be expressed in UML. An action is an activity node that does something to the state of the system or extracts information from it. If a high-level activity is viewed as a tree of nested activity nodes, the leaves of the tree are actions. Actions include arithmetic and string functions, manipulations of objects and their values, communications among objects, and similar things. Note that flow-of-control constructs, such as conditionals and loops, are not considered actions, because they are activities that contain smaller parts. ...

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