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Archive for April, 2014

Affordable UML plugins for Eclipse

Nowadays there are almost as many UML plugins for Eclipse as there are logging frameworks for Java. While this is good, it makes it hard to pick the right one. Many are obsolete, but they still show up in search results. Others are overpriced to say the least.

Personally I don’t need a general-purpose UML editor in Eclipse. I tend to use Visio with a custom Visio UML stencil. What I need is a cheap, light-weight plugin that can generate good-looking class diagrams and sequence diagrams from the code. If it is free and open source, so much the better. It should be really easy to use and ideally it should be possible to tweak the generated diagrams manually.

ModelGoon UML4Java is free. It can generate class diagrams and sequence diagrams in a snap. It supports conditional statements and loops, which is important in some cases. Unfortunately there is little support for customizing the diagrams. I often want to remove all logging calls from sequence diagrams, for example, and ModelGoon does not support that. Furthermore it fails on some language constructs, such as for(;;) loops. Nevertheless, when it works it is good enough and gets the job done!

ObjectAid UML Explorer is another tool. It requires a license for sequence diagrams ($19 for a single user as of this writing), class diagrams are free. It is easy to use and generates good-looking diagrams that can be tweaked. Removing all logging calls is as easy as removing the logger class from the diagram. Unfortunately there seems to be no support for conditionals or loops. That can make it very difficult to see what is going on in some cases. If it is improved a bit it can be a winner.

Do you know of a better tool with an acceptable price tag? If so, let me know.

Categories: Java