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Author Topic: Free, non-sucky UML software?  (Read 9054 times)

f0dder

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Free, non-sucky UML software?
« on: October 27, 2008, 06:30:19 AM »
So... while I'm still somewhat skeptical about UML, school has made me realize that it has it's uses - and if it's something that I'll have to deal with the next 2½ years, I might as well get comfortable with it.

We use Visual Paradigm at school, which seems relatively OK. It has some bugs here and there, though, and school doesn't want to cash out to get licenses for newer versions. It's also relatively heavy, and it seems like it can do a zillion things I don't really need. Also, since it has an academic license, I probably shouldn't use it for anything not school-related.

I've looked around a bit, and stumbled upon StarUML... which kinda sucks. Huge, pretty heavy, and I couldn't find hotkeys for adding methods/properties. Ended up uninstalling it pretty quickly, it seemed pretty shoddy compared to Visual Paradigm - which doesn't even feel that great to begin with.

So I'm wondering, does anybody have other recommendations? Preferably freeware/opensource, not too bulky, comfortable to work with etc...
- carpe noctem
« Last Edit: December 13, 2009, 03:23:16 AM by f0dder »

Lashiec

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Re: Free, non-sucky UML software?
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2008, 06:52:02 AM »
There are a bunch of UML tools, but I'm afraid most of them are not exactly up to the task. When I worked with VP, I checked up ArgoUML as my computer at the time could not cope with the tremendous load of Visual Paradigm. It did not last too long, as I was able to do some of the things the project I was into at the time required, so I discarded it. Perhaps it improved since then (2 years passed), but I would not count on it. Dia also supports UML, but never tested it, and supposedly there are a few plugins for Eclipse and probably other IDEs.

IIRC, there was a free version of Visual Paradigm that required registration. It was far less featured than the normal versions, but perhaps it would just suffice for your projects, considering the normal versions went for the kitchen-sink approach. They could be (hopefully) lighter and less buggy as well.

iphigenie

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Re: Free, non-sucky UML software?
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2008, 09:17:17 AM »
I will check the one that comes with netbeans and let you know how it fares - always meant to but never tested it

tinjaw

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Re: Free, non-sucky UML software?
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2008, 11:31:17 AM »
Confession: I haven't used any UML tools yet. However, I have some bookmarks.

Free "Community" Editon of Visual Paradigm
http://www.visual-pa...communityedition.jsp

ArgoUML - open source
http://argouml.tigris.org/

PapyrusUML (eclipse)
http://www.papyrusum...mp;L=EN&ITEMID=4


iphigenie

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Re: Free, non-sucky UML software?
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2008, 05:13:30 PM »
netbeans uml http://www.netbeans....tures/uml/index.html
as i said not used the uml bit yet, but i like netbeans a lot as an ide for java, javascript and now php and ruby.

Quote
8 UML diagrams: Activity diagram, Class diagram, Collaboration diagram, Component diagram, Deployment diagram, Sequence diagram, State diagram, and Use Case diagram

screencasts http://www.netbeans....uml/screencasts.html
uml learning track http://www.netbeans....g/kb/trails/uml.html
« Last Edit: October 28, 2008, 05:16:08 PM by iphigenie »

phitsc

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Re: Free, non-sucky UML software?
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2008, 03:47:05 PM »
I used ArgoUML as well a few years ago but changed to the then free JUDE because it made much nicer print outs and exported images :) Meanwhile JUDE has experienced massive development and the product was commercialised (for good reasons I would say) but the company still provides a free community edition which is also still being developed.

Oh, just saw that they released a new version a week ago. Gotta go and get it....

ajp

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Re: Free, non-sucky UML software?
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2008, 12:04:16 PM »
Being a Pythonista and doing the ArchGenXML stuff (generating Plone content types using UML), ArgoUML seems to be the best choice, not because it is that friendly or that cool, but because it gets the job done just right.

ArchGenXML includes an ArgoUML-specific template with all the tagged values available to Plone's archetypes, so there, ArgoUML is the de-facto standard in the Plone world.

But for other uses, printout quality and else, I can't tell.

jsfaint

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Re: Free, non-sucky UML software?
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2008, 07:38:44 PM »
Maybe you can try this one, Jude, The community edtion is free.
Programmed in java.
The Homepage is:
http://jude.change-v.../jude-web/index.html

f0dder

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Re: Free, non-sucky UML software?
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2009, 06:08:01 PM »
*bump*!
Why is it that all the free UML software sucks?

Today I gave both ArgoUML and JUDE (now Astah) a try... both look semi-decent, but have absolutely horrible keyboard support. ArgoUML doesn't seem to have any (documented, anyway) methods of adding operations/fields, whereas Astah does but often ends up with focus in the menu bar.

Are all the normal UML users mouse goons? How on earth do you have any kind of productivity if you constantly have to switch between mouse and keyboard to accomplish anything?

I looked at the WikiPedia List of UML tools, but wasn't really encouraged to try anything else - the other (free) choices seemed to be either outdated, sucky, or both.

So far the lesser evil is Visual Paradigm. It's bloated and has bugs, but at least it's managable and has (compared to the other offerings >_<) half-decent keyboard support. It produces terribly bloated output files, but at least it's zipped XML which should stand some chance of being interpretable by other software, whereas Astah for instance produces a zipped binary memory dump of Java Serializable objects.
- carpe noctem

mwb1100

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Re: Free, non-sucky UML software?
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2009, 09:52:48 PM »
FWIW I've had trouble getting into the right mindset for any UML tool that I've tried - free or not. They each seem to have their own idea of how things should work, and pretty much none of them are intuitive (to me anyway).  To be fair, I have the same problem with any drawing program, so it's probably something wired up wrong in my head (I actually find using MS Word's drawing capabilities to be about the easiest for me to use for simple diagrams - for anything complex I try to get someone else to do it).

Whether by hand or using software, I'm in awe of anyone who can produce nice drawings - I have trouble with stick figures (I had to steal my avatar from some website).

The UML tool I've found least objectionable is Enterprise Architect (http://www.sparxsystems.com.au) - not free, but far less money than most other non-free options, though it seems to cost more now than when I bought it several years ago.  I haven't tried Visual Paradigm in a while, but back when I gave it a spin it didn't convince me to switch. That might not have been because of any problems but rather because it wasn't enough of a step up from EA to warrant paying for something else - I honestly can't recall.

I don't know what EA's native data format is, but it claims to support XMI which is a standard for describing UML diagrams in XML.  But I wouldn't be surprised if getting the XMI into (or from) some other program in a reasonable fashion requires a lot of teeth pulling and cursing (just speculation - I've never tried).

f0dder

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Re: Free, non-sucky UML software?
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2009, 03:45:16 AM »
mwb1100: Enterprise Architect looks nice from the screenshots and feature-list at their site, but it's definitely outside my price range, and has way more features than I'll ever need... I only really need class diagrams (but the ability to manipulate them fast & efficiently; I don't even need them to look super-pretty, see attached screenshot for how Astah looks - it's not superpretty, but it's good enough).

Sequence and State diagrams could also be useful, use-case diagrams with decent textual description tables would be a bonus, and code generation would be the icing on the cake... but I'd trade a lot of that for an efficient UI with good keyboard support :)

As for the file format, it's not *that* much of an issue, I just don't feel super comfortable having too much vendor lock-in for something as important as source code related files. While there's probably no decent interchange between the various UML tools, at least something XML based gives you the possibility to waste a couple of weeks writing your own conversion tools, without first having to reverse engineer a binary format :)

Would've been cool if there was a decent tool producing non-bloated XML output, though - would integrate a lot better with subversion (or other source control) than various binary formats.

SekritCore.pngFree, non-sucky UML software?
- carpe noctem
« Last Edit: December 13, 2009, 03:47:56 AM by f0dder »