Friday, December 24, 2010

another free uml tool, bouml

Having tried metauml as my primary design utility recently, the experience isn't as good as I expected. At the beginning, I thought I would be more focused on the content/design while using a pure textual editing tool, but the result is very frustrating. Because I have to pay more attention on the organization and layout, rather than the design. metauml doesn't help me organizing elements at all, leave it all to me. I have to think in advance where should an element be placed, and instructed metauml to place the element explicitly, either in absolute coordinate or in relative coordinate. It seems ok for simple diagrams with very few elements. But as the number of elements increases, it's very hard to plan in advance. Once I made a mistake, the cost to change it is huge, I may have to re-organize everything, to keep the diagram clean.
I found an graphical tool, bouml, as an great replacement. It's efficient and powerful. bouml saves everything in text, so it's also possible to do version control. The best feature I noticed so far is its capability of reversing c++ code. By  feeding it with source code directories, it will generate a full list of classes, methods exist in the code. It's very helpful for analyzing others' projects.

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