There are literally hundred of UML tools. But before we start, let me give you my advice when choosing a UML2 tool: think carefully what you need the tool for!. There is no one size fits all UML tool. Sometimes old plain text triumphs over nice cool graphics. If you think graphical UML editors are too slow or cumbersome, there are plenty of textual UML tools available and some of them rather successful. All textual UML tools offer some kind of mostly simple language to describe your UML class, sequence, activity ,… diagrams.
You can use this textual UML description to store and compare your models but you can still visualize teh resulting diagram since all of them are able to automatically display the corresponding graphical UML diagram from its textual description.
Wanna know more? In its purest state, Executable UML eliminates the need of programming the software system. Several executable UML tools are now available. Check the full list of Executable UML tools we have discovered so far!. Not really a surprise, we are seeing the same trend everywhere e. But there are other good alternatives as well. Especial mentin to UML designer built with Sirius a framework to create your own customized modeling environment.
You can find other Eclipse UML2 compatible tools but take into account that the list is outdated. Many of the tools mentioned above are open source or have at least a free plan. In addition, I did a bit of googling, and came up with the following helpful resource: Rating UML Editors on judebert.
I took the liberty of borrowing some of the requirements from that site - thank you Judebert. I didn't follow a rigorous test procedure.
How can I build a UML diagram from scratch? These include at least half of the Fortune quoted businesses and more than , public and private enterprises across the globe. For those wanting to try it out a thirty-day trial is available to download, and for that period you can experience full functionality. Those that get through an initially challenging learning curve report that once mastered this is a great application for creating professional looking schematics rapidly and efficiently. You 'write' your diagram in a very simple domain-specific language.
The main goal was to quickly install a tool and see if it meets my "must" requirements. Depending on how satisfied I was with my first impression I then went on to draw a class diagram with 1 package, 8 classes, a number of relationships of different types and different levels of detail including multiplicity and roles to see how labels are placed. I also tried to draw a sequence diagram, but with less attention to details: I mainly wanted to see whether operations I had defined on a class in the class diagram are available in the sequence diagram, and if execution specifications on the same lifeline properly overlap.
The winner so far is Astah : It is not open source, and the community edition does not allow exporting to XMI, but these are both low-priority criteria. Visual Paradigm for UML takes the second place: It has a full feature set and offers the best overall usability of all the tools I have looked at so far. The only reason why VPUML does not win the race is the limitation to one diagram per type and project. I would like to add that except for Visual Paradigm for UML, none of the tools are really good at managing relationships in a class diagram.
Some of the tools are less horrible than others so that you actually succeed with placing end points, labels and so on where you really want them Astah is one of them , but the effort to get there is usually high, the work is tedious, and a few changes to the diagram layout often destroy the careful placement that has taken place before, because the software performs some automatic "adjustments". The following is a list of popular tools which I didn't even look at for one reason or another mostly because they cost money :.
Having done a couple of "serious" modelling contracts for different clients, I have found that EA Enterprise Architect is powerful and relatively easy to use. For the money you used to?
There is also a free limited model size IIRC trial version to play with. As stated in the Subject line, the EA tool is the one piece of software where you get a full spec tool for a modest sum - it should be worth its value within the first few days of use. Yeah, Sparx EA is really excellent value for money - where I'm working we are also using this modelling tool.
I'm looking for a free UML tool for sketching out projects, but have no experience with these tools at all. This comparison has given me a good head start, and saved me a lot of discovery time.
Thanks for sharing your findings! Thank you for the write-up. I wish I had found this earlier when I was choosing which tool to use, it would have saved me time. Back then I came to much of the same conclusions, although I didn't try as many modellers. I settled on Modelio because I prefer open source even if it comes with a few usability glitches. It has one other problem though: the exported images are too small to be easily readable.
Since it's open source, it shouldn't bee too difficult to dig into it and change that, but I haven't gotten around to doing that yet. In my former job, we used Sparx EA and I agree with the former commenters that it is worth it if you can afford it. It is much more fully featured than Modelio and some of the others here. Before that I had also used ArgoUML, which also has a very good feature set also with code generation , and I found it easy to work with. However I much prefer modelling UML 2 these days, particularly for activity diagrams.
Please send e-mails to herzbube herzbube. Evaluation of free UML tools. Requirements "Must" requirements: Must be free as in "free beer" Must be usable without any time limitation Must support at least class and sequence diagrams Must allow saving the model or diagram so that it can be loaded again and modified at a later time Must allow export of diagrams in a popular image format.
For instance, relations in class diagrams and method calls in sequence diagrams should "follow" the objects they are attached to, and labels should be reasonably placed. Should allow customizing of relationship appearance in a class diagram specifically location of labels and end points Should be reasonably maintained, i. Snap to grid works, and the Ctrl key modifier makes sure that a shape can only be moved horizontally or vertically. Customize relationship appearance: Poor. Relationship end points can only be attached to class shapes in predefined places corners, edge center.
Relationship labels for role names and multiplicity are placed automatically and cannot be changed. This causes the labels to be sometimes cut off. In addition, when relationships in a class diagram are dragged around, they usually lose the connection to their classes. They can be re-attached, but this is time-consuming and very annoying work. Supports diagram types other than class and sequence diagrams: Yes there are shapes for activity, deployment, use case and other diagrams Mac OS X: Yes, runs in the X.
Relationships can be drawn only at right angles, i. The default line width is too thick. I was unable to find out where to change the default. Verdict: Poor.
Although Dia might have all the functionality to draw a nice class diagram, I felt very frustrated by the user experience, especially because relationships continually lose their connections to classes and need to be re-attached. I might come back to Dia for because it is truly free, but not for drawing UML diagrams. Poseidon for UML Version tested: 8.
Although it is possible to export a diagram to. This means that you lose all your work every time you quit the application. I stopped testing the software the second I realized this crippling limitation, so I can't say anything else positive or negative about Poseidon for UML. I do , however, have a comment directed at Gentleware the makers of Poseidon , and it's this: I find it outrageous that you label your software "Community Edition", when it actually is a trial version.
A community edition clearly implies that you want to offer something of possibly limited value to the public at large, at no cost. But in this case the no-cost value is exactly zero, nada, zilch!
Please, guys, be honest and admit that you want to make money and don't try to pretend you care about the community. Registration at the website is required in order to get a licence key file. So far I haven't found any defects or usability issues.
It is actually a pleasure to work with this tool, even when it comes to fiddling with relationship labels and lines. Negative remarks: The limitation of the community edition is that you can only create one diagram per diagram type per project. As soon as you create a second class diagram, for instance, all exported images are severely watermarked to the effect that they become almost unreadable.
Verdict: Perfect, except for the crippling just-one-diagram-per-type limitation. UMLet Version tested: Relationship labels roles, multiplicity are automatically placed and cannot be manually moved. In mild cases the result is visually unappealing, but often a label becomes partially obscured because the relationship line goes right through it. Supports diagram types other than class and sequence diagrams: Yes activity, deployment, use case and others Mac OS X: Yes, is a Java app.