mišljenja i zapažanja o društvu i životu u Hrvatskoj

Umbrello activity diagram

UML modelling is one of the more under-served aspects or areas of software development within the FOSS ecosystem, so I find myself pushed to frequently re-evaluate less than ideal offerings.

Umbrello is one of the tools I have revisited a few times and, to cut a long story short, it is one of the tools I will not use again until or unless it significantly evolves. To be fair, I appreciate a number of its properties:

  • in certain respects it is quite fast: during start up, initial work on a diagram, saving of diagrams, editing of individual objects…
  • it builds a fairly extensive and sensible underlying concept dictionary
  • it allows me to document the model on every level
  • it is fairly simple to get around
  • it supports a fair number of UML diagram types

However, there is no shortage of issues:

  • the application crashes fairly frequently and without warning
  • managing multiple objects on a diagram (to delete them, move them etc.) is basically broken
  • undo appears to be unreliable
  • performance really suffers after working for some time on a model, it is not clear what causes it
  • laying out sequence diagrams is extremely buggy
  • its file format does not appear to follow any version of the XMI standard (although it is not clear that XMI is anything more than a nominal standard)
  • selecting a diagram element does not select it in the UML model view and vice versa
  • it has its own diagram semantic rules which don’t make much sense to me (my interpretation of why it does it the way it does might easily be wrong, though)
  • does not really fit into a gnome environment
  • does not register fairly standard key-press combinations (e.g. the context menu key)
  • the graphs aren’t really very pretty (no anti-aliasing, simple and vivid colours…)
  • keyboard navigation in the UML Model view does not trigger a Documentation view update (workaround: use a mouse)

I’m sure other users could extend the list significantly.

From this point on, I will see what ArgoUML can do.

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