Some UML Tools
Short description and how to use them
Prof. Dencho Batanov
My primary requirements for choosing UML tool(s) for you were
• that it should support most important, if not all, UML analysis diagrams (at least
class, use-case and sequence),
• that it be easy to use, reliable, scalable,
• that it be free or almost free especially to universities, and
• that there be a version that students may install on their home machines.
Violet is a UML editor with these benefits:
• It is very easy to learn and use
• It draws nice-looking class, sequence, state, object and use-case diagrams
• It is completely free (includes source, distributed under the GNU General Public
• It is cross-platform
Violet is intended for students, teachers, and authors who need to produce simple UML
diagrams quickly. It is not intended as an industrial strength tool.
How to use it:
1. Violet runs on any platform that has a JDK 1.4 or 5.0 Runtime Environment. If
you don't have it, download and install the appropriate JDK or JRE. (JDK 1.3 or
before is not supported. Violet needs several features that are only present in 1.4
2. Download the JAR (ZIP) file, for example
violet-0.21.1.jar (the latest) or violet-0.16a.zip (the classic version)
Note: The file is included in my Resources folder.
3. Save it at a location of your choice (more convenient is directly on your basic
hard drive). With some browsers, you need to right click (or click and hold) on
the link and select "Save file as..." from the context menu.
4. Open a command shell and run
java -jar violet-version.jar
On some operating systems, you may be able to double-click on the jar file
Note: Open file violet.htm in my Resources folder and go to the short
Have fun with Violet!
Web site: http://argouml.tigris.org
ArgoUML is a powerful yet easy-to-use interactive, graphical software design
environment that supports the design, development and documentation of object-oriented
software applications. If you are familiar with a family of software applications called
Computer Aided Software Engineering (CASE) tools then you should find ArgoUML
The users of ArgoUML are software designers & architects, software developers,
business analysts, systems analysts and other professionals involved in the analysis,
design and development of software applications.
• Open standards: XMI, SVG and PGML
• 100% Platform independent thanks to the exclusive use of Java
• Open Source, which allows extending or customizing.
• Cognitive features like: reflection-in-action, opportunistic design,
comprehension and problem solving.
How to use it:
Minimum system requirements:
• Any Operating System that supports Java.
• 10MB of free disk storage space on your hard disk.
• Mouse (or other pointing device) and a Keyboard.
• Java 2 JRE or JDK version 1.4 or higher.
Installation and starting:
We will use binary distribution installation option, which is good for regular users
and guarantees that the version of ArgoUML cannot change during the course of your
Follow the steps below:
1. Make sure that you have a Java 2 JRE installed.
2. Download the ArgoUML binary distribution from the ArgoUML homepage
Note: You can use the folder ArgoUML-0.28.1 in my
3. Install ArgoUML-0.28.1
4. After installation start by running the argouml.jar file by executing the
java -jar argouml.jar
at the command line.
Refer to folder Documentation in ArgoUML folder in my resources folder, where
you will find two pdf files – argomanual-0.28.1 and quickguide-0.28.1.
You’ll notice that actually the documentation is not complete (you will see a lot of
good titles, which “to be written). However, what is available is well prepared. Pay
special attention to Chapters 2 and 3 from Part I - Tutorial, which can serve as an
excellent reading about UML-based Object-Oriented Analysis and Design, including
Requirement Analysis and Capture. Follow the contents to see what’s available.
Have fun with ArgoUML!
The tools introduced so far are supposed to be your working
tools at this stage. I’ll leave to you to make your choice which of them,
or both to use for understanding the nature of UML and how to use it in
your work on Object-Oriented Analysis and Design. My
recommendation is to start with the simpler one Violet and if you need
more to move to ArgoUML. However I strongly recommend looking at
the manuals of all available tools, including the next two –
Poseidon for UML and Visual Paradigm.
Both tools are professional. Fortunately, both of them offer
Community Editions, which are free but licensed. This means that
each download is considered as personal and a single activation key,
sent by E-mail, activates the installed package. If you like to have these
tools you should visit their Web sites and to follow the instructions for
downloading community editions. A few more words for both tools
3. Poseidon for UML
Web site: http://www.gentleware.com
According to Greek mythology, the hero Jason built a ship and named it the Argo.
With his comrades, the Argonauts, he left on a quest for the Golden Fleece. Poseidon, the
god of the seas, protected and safely guided their journey.
About 4000 years later, Jason Robbins started an open source project for a UML
modeling tool and named it ArgoUML. Many others joined him in this adventurous
undertaking, including a group of software developers lead by Marko Boger, who was at
that time a researcher at the University of Hamburg. Together they greatly advanced the
tool. After Jason Robbins shifted his focus to other tasks, the developer group evolved to
become leaders of the project. Under their guidance and with their advances, ArgoUML
became very popular. They realized the great demand for a tool like ArgoUML, as well
as the amount of work necessary to shape it into a professionally usable tool. They finally
took the risk of starting a company with the goal of bringing the most usable tool toA
state is a condition or situation during the life of an object during which it satisfies a
condition, performs an activity, or waits for an event. a broad audience. With respect to
their open-source origin, the company is called Gentleware and their tool is called
Poseidon for UML.
That is who we are and how our quest started. Today, Poseidon for UML is one of the
most popular UML modeling tools on the market. Our special focus is on usability and on
making the job of modeling a joy.
You can find the file PoseidonUsersGuide.pdf in my Resources folder.
4. Visual Paradigm
Web site: http://www.visual-paradigm.com
This is probably the best tool for starting to learn UML. It supports all the
standard UML notations and diagrams for modeling, and provides an intuitive user
interface to simplify diagram editing. Textual analysis and CRC card diagrams are
supported to help identifying candidate classes from the problem statement and
identifying the collaborations and responsibilities between objects. Users can also
access and interact with the UML models using the VP-UML open architecture by
writing plug-ins and templates. Other supporting features include printing, automatic
diagram layout and export diagram to image.
However, the Community Edition has minor restrictions that only one diagram
can be created per diagram type in each project, and the printouts and exported
images will have one line watermark at the top-left corner.
You can find the file vpuml_tutorial.pdf and vpuml_user_guide_html
folder in my Resources folder.