Oct 21

I just discovered TextUML, an Eclipse extension that enables you to define UML models textually. It started out as a free but closed source project and was open sourced eventually.

The core of this tool is the editor for the textual UML representation that provides many features that developers are used to (syntax highlighting, validation, outline view etc.). Additionally, Graphviz can be integrated to create diagrams from the textual models.

There are detailed instructions for the installation of TextUML and the Graphviz integration and a tutorial to get started with textual modeling.

A huge advantage of textual over graphical notations is in my opinion the possibility to create diffs which means you can easily put those textual models under version control and profit from Eclipse’s compare mechanism. This enables teams of developers to share a common model and to edit it concurrently like any other piece of source code.

According to Rafael Chaves’ (the author of the project) comment on the previously linked article,

[…] the final goal is at some point to submit a proposal to Eclipse.org […]

I hope that this goal will be reached, because TextUML is a very interesting and promising project. Claiming

  • increased modeling productivity
  • live graphical visualization of your class diagrams

as two of the key benefits of using TextUML, the goal should not be too far away. Productivity is always welcome and the graphical visualization may be one of the key arguments for your manager ;)

Seriously, even if it’s not the core feature of TextUML, a simple and efficient way to create class diagrams quickly would be a great win for any technical documentation or idea sketching as well.

Oct 15

Programmers, join the Stack Overflow!

Tags: , , Comments Off on Programmers, join the Stack Overflow!

This is not supposed to be a flame war. It’s just an attempt to bring a little more diversity to the already interesting and very well implemented Stack Overflow.

I have been a member since the beginning of August and was lucky enough to join the private beta. Currently, the site is in public beta status and there have been a lot of interesting questions already.

In my opinion, questions concerning the Microsoft stack still dominate the site. Many have attributed this to the fact that Jeff’s and Joel’s readers are coming from this background. However, the goal of the site was to have resources for any kind of programming language/environment that may exist.

In order to support the achievement of that goal, this is a call to all programmers out there, no matter how weird the language they (must) use:

Join the Stack Overflow and share your rare knowledge!

Or just try to find some answers where Google can’t look (yet?): In the brains of some fellow programmers ;)