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Software Review: UModel 2010 from Altova

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Once again the latest version of Altova's UModel has added some rich new features to its already packed UML tool for software modeling and application development. While still complex by its general nature, UML is a set of models that can be used to describe and design software. UModel was developed with the interest of making the UML process easier.

The Unified Modeling Language (UML) is a graphical language for organizing, analyzing, and planning software projects before coding begins. The UML attempts to take lessons learned in other engineering disciplines and apply them to software development.

UModel 2010The UML specification is maintained by the Object Management Group (OMG) and was originally created in 1997 by combining of the strengths of three competing software modeling technologies. The current specification (UML 2.2) reflects revisions, suggestions, and enhancements resulting from years of applying UML in practice.

UModel is a graphical modeling designer that will allow you to visually design application models in UML and generate Java, C#, or Visual Basic.Net code, as well as project documentation. It will also allow you to reverse engineer existing programs into UML 2 diagrams, fine tune them, and then regenerate the updated code.

While the UML is a complete modeling language, but it does not discuss the methodology for the development, code generation, and round trip engineering process. This gives UModel the ability to allow you the maximum flexibility during these creative processes.

So what's new with UModel 2010?
• SysML Diagrams lets you create SysML diagrams for embedded systems modeling. This is a graphical modeling language that is related to UML and is optimized for designing software to control and operate embedded systems and other complex devices. An embedded system takes inputs and creates output and its internal operations can be opaque. This can make software to control embedded systems difficult to develop, test, and debug. The SysML diagrams can be divided into ones that capture the system requirements and physical constraints, ones that describe the structure of the system, and ones that describe the behavior of the system. UModel supports all the SysML Diagrams and extentions.

• Automated creation of multiple sequence diagrams from source code lets you draw UML sequence diagrams that describe the interactions between objects within your application and specify the messages that objects send and receive. This gives you the ability to map scenarios described by a use case in step-by-step detail to define how objects collaborate to achieve your applications goals.

UModel 2010• Integrated scripting environment with a graphical form editor that gives you the ability to automate your work. This will let you adapt UModel to your project’s requirements and to your team’s development style. As you enhance your UML model through multiple iterations, the scripting environment can help you accelerate productivity by customizing UModel functionality and automating repeated operations. You can use this scripting environment to automate operations, write and save macros to automate repeating tasks, create custom menus, and create event handlers that define custom responses to application events.

• Enhancements for diagramming, documentation generation, and code engineering provide enhanced control over line styles with line thickness controls that can be applied individually, in a single diagram, or across an entire project. Hyperlinks may be defined in the documentation window, and elements in the model tree may be referenced by hyperlinks. Comments entered in the documentation window can be displayed and edited directly in the diagram, as well as improvements to reverse engineering of existing code in Java, C# and Visual Basic.

• Windows 7 compatibility ensures that your ability to continue to use UModel will last far on into the future.

UModel 2010 is available from Altova. It is $189 for the Enterprise version and $129 for the Professional version. It also comes as part of one of the Altova Missionkits as well. Still unsure? You can download a 30-day trial version as well.

UModel 2010Like any UML modeling tool, there is a little learning curve work through but overall it is not too bad once you get the hang of it. There is a lot of online help as well as a PDF User and Reference manual that is over 1000 pages in length. If you are unsure if this product is for you, there is also a video that steps you through what all UModel can do.

If you want an easy way to create UML models, you really need to check out UModel 2010.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.