[Uml-devel] UML for documentation and other feature requests

Manuel Lemos mlemos at acm.org
Fri Oct 19 12:41:14 UTC 2001


This UML modeller program looks promising but it lacks of key feature to
motivate to use it.

In the company that I work for we use UML for documenting projects in
such way that we use the diagrams and use case documentation to present
to the end users so they can validate them and sign on printed versions
of the documentation to certify that it what they requested.

Your UML program is not yet up to the point to use it to document
projects the way we need. It seems it works like Rational Rose. The
problem is that it is not good enough because the level of detail of use
cases (just a text box) is not sufficient. What happens is that most
people end up copying and pasting diagrams in word processors and
complement the lack of details in the use case documentation with text
entered in the word processor.

Therefore, a development manager here has designed a program in VBA for
Excel that lets you design all sorts of UML diagrams and document use
cases with the following details: Title, Purpose, Actors list,
Pre-conditions, Post-Conditions, Activation, Steps of each scenary,
Requirements, Activity diagrams, Prototypes of the screens of the user
interface. Most of these details are plain text fields, but having them
all sorted this way makes an hell of a difference in the productivity of
the project designers.

Other than that, this program generates a whole document with table of
contents with all diagrams and use case documentation that is fully
hyper linked, ie, just click on the use case graphic in the diagram and
it jumps to the page that documents that use case.

The real problem is that this program is all in Excel and even if I
wanted to use Microsoft software, I could not use the software for my
own project because it belongs to our employer. So, it would be great if
your UML program could work like this program. Just let me know if you
would like to see some screenshots (it is in Portuguese though).

Other than that, I think that it will be very hard for you and it will
take you a long time if you try to implement all the features that
people request to you. So I suggest that you embed some sort of
scripting language that lets people write scripts that command your
program. It would let people write macros that would command the program
just as if somebody would be controlling it via the GUI. It would be
like VBA for UML except that would be some other free language. It could
be TCL, which was originally thought for embedding scripting
capabilities in applications, but it could be anything else.

Once I used Amiga computers that had a powerful applications scripting
language named ARexx. It would let external scripts control applications
for a scripting shell that would run outside the programs. This was
great because it would let users extend applications in ways that the
developers could not antecipate.

I have more suggestions but for now these should give you something to
think about.

Keep up the good work,
Manuel Lemos

PS. have you thought about developing the program in such way that it
could also run on Windows. It seemed to me that if you used GTK you
could easily compile it to run under Windows all with free software.

More information about the umbrello-devel mailing list