Tuesday, February 19, 2008

UML Hell

I've been searching for a UML editor for a while that I like. So you don't have to, I installed (or tried to) several UML editors and took each for a spin. I needed some diagramming mainly for collaboration and presentations... and my choices usually broke down into a) crappy but usable or b) pretty but unusable.

  • Poseidon for UML Community Edition is "free," but you have to register the product. I dislike typing. Didn't install it.
  • Gaphor wouldn't even install or run with my Python setup. Tried for 15 minutes then threw in the towel.
  • Umbrello I've actually used for some time now and consider it my favorite UML editor. When it doesn't crash. Which it does. A lot. I used both the KDE 3.5 and KDE 4 versions, both enjoy the segfault.
  • UMLet remained up, but the UI just didn't do it for me. It was more a random collection of widgets than an enforced UML diagramming tool.
  • Violet was one I really, really like. It was simple to the point of minimalism, which I like. However it had some serious UI bugs that made all elements change their text attribute at the same time.
  • Dia isn't a strict UML editing tool - it's more of a casual diagramming tool. It works really, really well when you want to brainstorm or braindump ideas. But I was looking for something that strictly enforced UML patterns and let me define attributes, methods, classes, sequence diagrams, etc.
  • ArgoUML, once again, is the only one that can make the cut. This is the open source relative of Poseidon and includes a ton of functionality. ArgoUML has been under active development for years and years, and continues to be the only big player on the block. And with Java WebStart deployment it's exceptionally easy to get cross-platform installation on everyone's machine.

    So ArgoUML is still the hands-down cross-platform favorite, with Dia playing a different role yet still the only other contender. At least I finally freakin' settled on one for good.

    1. Hi,

      Have you tried Trace Modeler? It's an easy to use and smart UML sequence diagram editor.

      It only does sequence diagrams, but it does them really well I think. For example, it combines drag & drop with full automatic layout. This means that you are free to focus purely on the content, while Trace Modeler takes care of all the rest.

      It has some other neat features like control flow highlighting, call inlining, easy scrolling and zooming, a special mode for presentations, etc. But I'll leave those for you to explore ;o)

      If you're in a hurry, here's a 30 sec demo of Trace Modeler in action.

      It works on any platform (only needs Java 5).

      Let me know if it is up to your standards if you give it a try, I'm always happy to get feedback!

      Best regards,

    2. The demo is definitely nifty. Thanks for the link!


    Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.