Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Modelio – a free and open-source UML modeling tool

It has been a while since I last fired up a UML CASE-tool. I hardly can remember, which one I used back then. Was it Poseidon or MagicDraw? Most of the free and open-source tools sucked back then. I was quite surprised—not pleasantly—when I saw how little matters progressed. Well, at least I found one product, which did not completely frustrate within the first fifteen minutes.

After some rather annoying experiences with (free) Eclipse UML modeling tools, like Papyrus and Umlet, I stumbled over «Modelio». To be fair, Umlet is a nice tool also, and I really like how rapid one can enter properties to a class. I failed however to create an association class, and that was that. Papyrus was a complete usability disaster. It took me about fifteen minutes to just figure out how to add a property to a class and how to name it. And even when I got it, it took a dozen or so clicks to add simple attribute to class.

Modelio, on the other hand, is rather convenient to use and produces nice looking diagrams. Properties cannot be added as rapidly as with Umlet, but the procedure is still acceptable. It provides the modeling elements I need at the moment, and that contents me.

Maybe you ask yourself, how can all of a sudden a free and open-source project blossom a quality CASE tool? Well simple, it used to be a commercial product. But now it goes the «freemium» way. The base product is free (and open-source) but more professional features, like round-trip engineering for C++, C# and (commercial) Java projects must be bought.

Unlike other freeium products or so called «community editions», Modelio appears to to be uncripled for open source Java development, including round-tip engineering, though I have not yet given it a try. It even has Hibernate support, which I will test-drive presently.

I like Modelio's business model because it gives open-source developers a professional tool at hand, while getting financed by commercial software producers, who usually can afford the license fee. Thumbs up!

1 comment:

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