Tuesday, July 13, 2004

UML Editors

Sometimes all you want to do is draw a diagram. I have periodically wanted a simple UML editor to allow me to produce diagrams to help explain the occasionally complicated class and message structures periodically required by the OO paradigm. UML does a good job of providing a vocabulary to support such informal, explainatory diagrams. Unfortunately UML comes from a high-ceremony community that inspired and supports RUP, Rational Rose, and is currently pursuing executable UML and MDA with a vengence. Hence every UML product I have been able to find is either a high-ceremony UML based IDE (ie. ArgoUML, Rational Rose), or an extension to a traditional charting program (ie. Visio, Dia). All of them suck if all you want is to quickly draw a single sequence diagram to enhance some documentation; Visio even manages the worst of both worlds, by trying to play the pseudo-ide game while retaining the lack of structured assistance of your charting programs.

Why mention this? Because I have finally found a UML program that is probably close-enough that I can live with it's short-comings; and shows sufficient promise that I might even be convinced it's worth contributing to.

So I would like to recommend that the next time you want to throw together a quick UML diagram, you check out Violet.

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