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A public forum for discussing the design of software, from the user interface to the code architecture. A part of Joel on Software.

Software Design Tool

I am looking for an simple, easy to use modeling tool, suitable for small software projects. I never used UML and it seems quite complicated, are there other tools. I do not need all the UML functionality, just the basics.
daniel rejzner Send private email
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
 
 
First step, fill in this line:

___ needs ___ to learn ___ so they can ___

The reader might be yourself, a peer, a boss, a financier. Once you spell out what they need and why the rest becomes much easier.

There are several reasons or ways to use design tools ... a sketchpad, to communicate to somebody else, a historical record, a code generator. For some of these, a whiteboard or pencil & paper are perfectly fine. You can even try CRC  cards - google for details.

The next step up is any drawing program that can do boxes and arrows - Visio or PowerPoint or the open-office equivalents.

Modeling can be quite different from simply drawing pictures. A serious tool like Rational Rose (whatever they call it this year) constructs a true model and the diagrams are just views into the model. That's probably necessary if you want to generate code.

Don't let UML intimidate you and don't rule out UML tools. Look at AgileModeling.com or find a simple introductory book. For sketches and exploration you can use a tiny subset of the whole UML - boxes and arrows - and learn more only if you really need it.

Oh, and keep it fun!
Stan James Send private email
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
 
 
I use a tool called Enterprise Architect from Sparx Systems. Affordable and full featured. I have used other UML tools as well (Rose, Together) and really like EA.

I agree with the other poster, get a book on UML. UML Distilled is a good place to start. Only use what you want to use and like any tool as you use it more you will... um... use it more.
Duane Strong Send private email
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
 
 
I use graph paper and a pencil. Then I three-hole punch the diagram and place into a notebook.  It is portable and can be easily shared (copy, fax, etc).
Kenneth Brittain Send private email
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
 
 
I know a great tool called a whiteboard. I then take a picture using a digital camera and load onto my computer.
Dan Shappir Send private email
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
 
 
+ for Enterprise Architect.

It might be worth you looking into the ICONIX process. It's not as heavy going as RUP, but does show one way that you can use the UML to get from initial idea through to working application.
IanH. Send private email
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
 
 
JUDE Community is a free, lightweight UML modeling tool. It has all the necessary bells and whistles for most sw design tasks. See http://jude.change-vision.com/jude-web/product/community.html

There is also a commercial version that supports more diagram types, has neat usability features not available in community version and better export functionality.
Aleksi Sitomaniemi Send private email
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
 
 
Are you looking for a UML type of tool or a UI Designer (More visual - Helps you draw screens and button etc.)
Ishana
Sunday, August 19, 2007
 
 
For my small home projects, when I want to quickly capture an idea or concept, then I can't get enough of Cadifra UML Editor...

http://www.cadifra.com/

Its cheap and just works.  Can paste its diragrams into Word and then edit from the Word document. 

By far the best UI I've encountered for a UML tool.

BTW, I've used Artisan Real-time Studio and Enterprise Architect (EA) at work.  Not overly keen on either but EA would win in a death match.
sensible Send private email
Thursday, August 23, 2007
 
 
Thanks for the tips guys, I checked out enterprise architect - and it looks good. cheers!
Daniel Rejzner Send private email
Monday, August 27, 2007
 
 

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