|Structural UML diagrams|
|Behavioral UML diagrams|
A sequence diagram is a kind of interaction diagram that shows how processes operate with one another and in what order. It is a construct of a Message Sequence Chart. A sequence diagram shows object interactions arranged in time sequence. It depicts the objects and classes involved in the scenario and the sequence of messages exchanged between the objects needed to carry out the functionality of the scenario. Sequence diagrams are typically associated with use case realizations in the Logical View of the system under development. Sequence diagrams are sometimes called event diagrams, event scenarios, and timing diagrams.
A sequence diagram shows, as parallel vertical lines (lifelines), different processes or objects that live simultaneously, and, as horizontal arrows, the messages exchanged between them, in the order in which they occur. This allows the specification of simple runtime scenarios in a graphical manner.
Diagram building blocks 
If the lifeline is that of an object, it demonstrates a role. Note that leaving the instance name blank can represent anonymous and unnamed instances.
In order to display interaction, messages are used. These are horizontal arrows with the message name written above them. Solid arrows with full heads are synchronous calls, solid arrows with stick heads are asynchronous calls and dashed arrows with stick heads are return messages. This definition is true as of UML 2, considerably different from UML 1.x. If a caller sends a synchronous message, it must wait until the message is done, such as invoking a subroutine. If a caller sends an asynchronous message, it can continue processing and doesn’t have to wait for a response. You see asynchronous calls in multithreaded applications and in message-oriented middleware. Asynchrony gives better responsiveness and reduces the temporal coupling but is harder to debug. Activation boxes, or method-call boxes, are opaque rectangles drawn on top of lifelines to represent that processes are being performed in response to the message (ExecutionSpecifications in UML).
Objects calling methods on themselves use messages and add new activation boxes on top of any others to indicate a further level of processing.
When an object is destroyed (removed from memory), an X is drawn on top of the lifeline, and the dashed line ceases to be drawn below it (this is not the case in the first example though). It should be the result of a message, either from the object itself, or another.
A message sent from outside the diagram can be represented by a message originating from a filled-in circle (found message in UML) or from a border of the sequence diagram (gate in UML).
UML 2 has introduced significant improvements to the capabilities of sequence diagrams. Most of these improvements are based on the idea of interaction fragments which represent smaller pieces of an enclosing interaction. Multiple interaction fragments are combined to create a variety of combined fragments, which are then used to model interactions that include parallelism, conditional branches, optional interactions.
- OMG (2008). OMG Unified Modeling Language (OMG UML), Superstructure, V2.1.2, p. 485.
- OMG (2008). OMG Unified Modeling Language (OMG UML), Superstructure, V2.1.2. p. 467.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Sequence diagrams|
- Current UML Specification by Object Management Group (OMG)
- Introduction to UML 2 Sequence Diagrams by Scott W. Ambler.
- A Quick Introduction to UML Sequence Diagrams by Yanic Inghelbrecht
- UML 2 Sequence Diagrams
- A free Sequence Diagram web-based tool By WebSequenceDiagrams.com
- A free web-based tool to create textual sequence diagrams
- ckwnc - Web based UML Sequence Diagram creation tool
- UML Sequence Diagram SaaS