Software Development with Linux

UML modeling tools reviews Visual Paradigm for UML

WED, 01 APR 2009

I've started to review UML modeling tools since a couple of months now. I'll add my second review of free but closed source UML modeling tools for Linux to that list : Visual Paradigm for UML Community Edition.
Visual Paradigm for UML Community Edition (VP-UML CE) is a modeling platform designed for learning UML modeling through our best-of-the-breed and award winning visual modeling technology that facilitates UML visualization in the latest UML 2.1 notation in 13 different types of diagrams, as well as ER Diagrams, Requirements Diagrams, CRC Diagrams and Textual Analysis. -- Visual Paradigm's web site
I've tested Visual Paradigm for UML Community Edition 7.0, which is part of Visual Paradigm Suite 4.0, under Kubuntu 8.10 using Sun Java JRE 6.10.

As usual, I'm using the UML diagrams that can be found in the Unified Modeling Language's Wikipedia entry.

The first diagram is the class diagram. As you can see, there's no problem here. You can also notice the "Visual Paradigm Community" water mark in the picture. Unfortunately, when you export diagrams as pictures, this water mark is always present.

The next diagram, the component diagram, opposed no problem neither. Which is very interesting, since this is one of the diagram that create the most problems in the other tools I've tried.

Same thing for the composite structure diagram. This one also often create problems, but not this time. On great thing about Visual Paradigm for UML, is that when you add a new element, if you put the "/" or "+" or any other graphical artifact when naming your element, they will be associated with the correct characteristic of the element. In this case, the "/" resulted in the "derived" check box being checked in the element's property. This can really help diagramming faster.

No problem with the deployment diagram. Only the actor needed to be added in the model first and drag/dropped in the diagram, since the actor element isn't available in the deployment diagram tool bar.

The only problem I had with the object diagram, was to put the relation ship between the two objects. Had I took the time to read the documentation, I would probably have found out how to do it.

As usual, the package diagram was easily done.

Same thing for the activity diagram. The only complains I have about it is that it isn't possible to have a smaller join / fork bar. I find them too thick, but couldn't resize them more.

The state machine diagram was also made quickly. The same comment that I made for JUDE/Community apply here : the arrows are automatically put in straight line, so you have to always move them around, and it became harder once the graphic increase in size.

The use case diagram wasn't a problem. If it has been, I would have been really surprised!

The communication diagram was done easily. The only critic I have is for the messages arrow. It seems that you can't resize them or change their looks. To me, they look too bulky for this diagram.

I'm quit happy with the interaction overview diagram. This is one that is also hard (if not impossible) to do in many other tools. And I also like that you can add the preview of another diagram directly in it. So if you modify the real sequence diagram, the overview will automatically reflect that, which is exactly the reason why you have an interaction overview diagram. But unfortunately, since the diagram is bigger, the water mark is getting insane. I know that this is the free version, but it's not an evaluation copy or trial license. It's a full version, usable for non commercial purpose. Having a water mark like this means that this isn't usable at all. How am I supposed to use this tool for non-commercial purpose with this? I can't even show the diagram to someone else...!

Finally, the sequence diagram. No problem there, except for the insane water mark.

Visual Paradigm for UML Community Edition offer some other interesting features, including :

  • Database modeling

  • Freehand shape support

  • Import/export XML

  • Automatic online update

  • Plug-in support (Java)

So, all in all, Visual Paradigm for UML Community Edition is really interesting. The diagrams are easily done, and everything is present. Unfortunately, the invasive water mark destroy everything. There's no way I could use this for non-commercial project.