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Rip UML straight out of java

I’ve been playing with the idea of taking the UML straight out of java, so I can do multiplatform UML Sketching using basically plaintext .

So I went and downloaded UMLGraph and incorporated it into the my build system.

So far I like it, but I have a couple of thoughts on it.

  • It would be nice if it allowed for translating accesors into attributes. For example, a piece of code such as:

    public void setFirstName(String firstName);
    public String getFirstName();

    Should be modeled as a single “firstName” attribute. This should be configurable per class. This is specially important if you use DAO a lot. I think it’s important to know at a glance if there are extra “operations” other than basic field access.

  • I haven’t tried very hard yet, but from the docs it is not obvious how to create a sequence diagram. It mentions the syntax, but where do you put this text? In the comments of the file? In a new file? What’s the extension it expects? Will it scan for it automatically or do I need to call the command line in a special way? Sequence diagrams feel a bit like an afterthought. Maybe I’ll feel different once I get one to work. 😉
  • UMLGraph seems to create one (1) diagram per invocation. I had to write an ant task that called another ant task for each of the packages I wanted to generate a graph for. It would be nice if it tghere was an option for “one graph/page per package” or something like that. Calling it with all your source gives you a giant diagram that really stresses the Windows Picture Viewer. 🙂 Apparently Maven’s DotUML Plugin uses UMLGraph and supports this feature by setting the property maven.dotuml.singlepackage to false.

1 Comment

  1. Elijah

    Could you post a snippet of the ant build.xml file you used to get UMLGraph to only draw a single package. I have been wracking my brain trying to get ant to do it.

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