More than a year ago I had a look at the market of free UML tools and followed Adam Bien’s recommendation for StarUML finally. ArgoUML, whose user interface is even better, was buggy and slow those days. Today I installed the current ArgoUML again and was surprised about the quality.
It is a bit like my yesterday’s post about Balsamiq Mockup for interface design: I need something simple to get fast results, without all these bells and whistles of roundtrip and the like.
In the beginning of UML in the 1990ties I was pretty enthusiastic about roundtrip engineering, code generation, reverse engineering and such things. Well, for short, you’ve to invest much time to get all the advantages and you still discover tweaks in the end ;-). Today I use UML pretty agile: a subset of the different diagrams and the UML tool only for drawing.
The problem with StarUML is that the development has stopped at the end of 2005. There are newer modules, but those are pretty useless to me. Most annoying is the printing bug that scrambles the layout before the print starts. You have to create an image and print this instead. Additionally, the source code analyzer doesn’t work for me.
A short test with ArgoUML today using the Java Web Installer showed that the trouble with StarUML doesn’t exists here. It is also handy and fast now. So, it’s time for change ;-).
There’s also an Eclipse Plugin, that’s a bit out of date, but it works. It looks similar to the standalone application.