OOA91 requires all attributes associated with an object instance to have one and only one value (see first rule of attribution on page 19). However, OOA91 allows these values to be accumulated over time in a lifecycle model (see page 61). Thus, some attributes may not have a value at certain points in time. OOA10 formalizes this property of attributes as conditionality. An attribute must always have a value if it is not conditional, whereas, an attribute may or may not have a value if it is conditional. A
(1c) suffix may be used to label attributes which are conditional.
A simple attribute is conditional only if the attribute is explicitly made conditional by the analyst, i.e. by setting
Manual Conditional status. Obviously, a simple attribute with an initial value that is final is never conditional. A mathematically dependent attribute is conditional if its value calculation code is not guaranteed to calculate a value or if the attribute is explicitly made conditional by the analyst. A referential attribute is conditional if its associated base attribute is conditional, or if all navigation paths from the referential attribute to the base attribute are conditional or if the attribute is explicitly made conditional by the analyst. Obviously, a referential attribute with a literal value is never conditional. A polymorphic attribute is conditional if any of its true attributes are conditional or if the attribute is explicitly made conditional by the analyst.
Associating an initial value with a conditional attribute still makes sense since OOA10 allows a conditional attribute to be cleared. An attribute with no current value contains a special
UNDEFINED (but typed) value. A non-conditional attribute with no associated initial value will be initialized with the default value (if there is one) of the attribute's associated data type when an object instance is created. A conditional attribute with no associated initial value will not be initialized even if there is a default value.
OOA10 (and OOA Tool) requires all Action Language code to strictly obey conditionality constraints. When an object instance is created, all non-conditional attributes must be assigned a value within the enclosing action (if they don't have an initial or default value). If the enclosing action is modelled using a process model then all non-conditional attributes must be assigned a value within the enclosing accessor process (an accessor can access multiple objects in OOA10). This is a much stricter requirement than OOA91 which allows conditionality constraints to be satisfied within actions triggered by events sent from the original enclosing action. The problem with OOA91 is that there is no easy way to determine when conditionality constraints are broken. OOA10 takes the view that conditionality constraints are only useful if they are enforceable.