The second assignment for my Master’s course is to do a set of state diagrams for various control software (see my previous 2 posts). Since this assignment isn’t due until next month, I have decided to take the time to try out the few modelling tools I can get my hands on for free. I have used (or have tried to use) ArgoUML, Visual Studio Architecture Tools, Visio, and StarUML in the past. I was planning on doing my assignment in StarUML (since it has the state diagram and supports UML 2.0), but I was upset with the fact that the choice image was a circle instead of a diamond (what can I say I am picky). Instead, I downloaded BOUML and Visual Paradigm for UML last night and decided to give them a shot.
A few words about BOUML. This program lacks intuitiveness. I was hoping for the best with all it supported, but I just couldn’t seem to figure the UI out. I commend the author for writing such a complex program, but I would definitely use StarUML over BOUML any day.
Now, on to Visual Paradigm for UML. The one thing I can say that would sum up my experience with this tool so far is: WOW! I suppose this is to be expected of a commercial program geared directly towards UML, but I was really swept away by this program. Note, I have only played around with modeling a state diagram with this tool, so this isn’t a thorough review, but here are some pros and cons:
- This modelling tool is extremely intuitive to use. I was able to familiarize myself with the interface pretty quickly and was modelling my state diagram in no time. I especially liked how I didn’t have to fumble around how to structure my project before I got into the diagram.
- Supports UML 1.0 and 2.0, this is probably expected from a commercial modelling tool, but its nice to have the options.
- It created *very* clean diagrams. Transitions on the state diagram were easy to move around, and the lines were crisp with no jagged edges. There were also options to make curvy and other types of lines.
- The registration process for the community edition was pretty intensive, but hey you have to protect your investment.
Again, this is by no means a comprehensive review, just a first impression. I will probably look to Visual Paradigm for UML from now on for all my non-commercial modelling needs. To be honest, if my work was licensed for it I would probably prefer to use this over Visual Studio 2010’s architecture tools (which I have enjoyed so very much). I may even suggest some of the architects and leads at my workplace evaluate this product for potential use within our organization.
See http://www.visual-paradigm.com/product/vpuml/ for more info on their product line.