UML Modeling Tools

ericjsilva's picture

I am looking into UML modeling software that support the four archetypes. Together used to support this really well until Borland bought the product. I haven't been able to get Microsoft Visio to do class diagrams really well without spending a whole lot of time fighting with the product. Online tools like Gliffy and Creately do a better job, but arn't intuitive with UML with respect to adding attributes, properties, and behaviors. You have to type all the UML notation by hand which become tedious. The same is true for cardinality.

Does anyone else know of a good product free or otherwise which allow one to create quick class diagrams to electronically represent the models produced during a modeling session?

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Jeff De Luca's picture

Sadly, I do not

Hi Eric,

I don't have a good answer for you. There is no good tool for this anymore IMHO. My focus is mostly during the upper life-cycle, that is producing the diagrams during and shortly after the Develop an Overall Model process.

I run a very old copy of Together 4.2 but it has lots of problems. They're just less worse than other alternatives.

I started a project a year or so ago to build a modeling tool specifically for this purpose. I intend to resuscitate that later this year. But it is Max OS X only...


ericjsilva's picture

Adobe Flex and AIR


Instead of OSX application, have you considered something a bit more portable, e.g., Adobe's AIR runtime. This would allow it to run in an offline or online mode.

I may think about building something as well. Thanks.

BTW.. What does one use to model the application to be used to model other applications?!?! I guess I should break out the Post-Its and a Sharpie.


Jeff De Luca's picture

Mac only

Hey Eric,

no, Air or etc. were not considered. When we started this it was with some very clear goals. We wanted a real app to learn objective-c and cocoa with (and to a lesser extent xcode and the rest of the os x toolchain). We also were (still are) committed Mac users and only had an interest in a solution for ourselves. It was never seen as a commercially viable product. However, a goal was also to build something that could be sold as COTS (because of the bar it sets).

We did the initial model sketching on paper on at Moscone West on the last day of the Apple WWDC conference in 2007 (pic here). Later models were drawn using together 4.2 (all 3 of us were in different countries during most of the development).

Vernon's picture

Mac OS X Modeling Tool


Did you ever make any progress on your OS X modeling tool? If so I'd love to have a look, even as an alpha/beta tester.


Jeff De Luca's picture


The project has been on hold for a long time now. The team did not work.

I want to revive it. I may do that this year.

Sadly, while a LOT was done, it's not complete enough to be useful. Otherwise I would show it more.

Vernon's picture

Sadly indeed

I agree with Jeff's comment. There really isn't a good tool out there anymore. In a bind I use ArgoUML or the NetBeans UML plug-in. Both are far from ideal for this purpose, but at least they're available offline, provide basic support for the technique including a level of code generation in addition to just graphical modeling and the price is right (free).

Jeff, I look forward to hearing more about your tool. Nothing wrong with Mac only Smiling

steve palmer's picture


Not sure Together truly supported modeling in color any better before Borland to be honest. I don't think anyone with any experience in the technique at TogetherSoft really sat down and looked at what good modeling in color support would contain.

Yes, Together ControlCenter had patterns for each archetype, a pattern for the DNC and the 'components from the JMCU book' but I never found those genuinely useful features in practice. More of a 'get something out there asap so we can tick a features box' approach unfortunately. I know Eric Lefevbre always wanted more but failed to get any traction within project managment at TogetherSoft.

Together still provides support for colouring the arcehtypes based on the stereotype property - simply turn on the modeling in color profile in the project properties. As I know the DNC very well, I have normally found this to be sufficient for most purposes.

Together's still remains my favourite UML tool but simply does not compete on price with Enterprise Architect or Visual Paradigm. Both of the latter are fairly easy to set up so that stereotypes change class background colours but I find both clunky to use compared with Together.

I know Richard Gronback (Eclipse Modeling Project: A Domain-Specific Language (DSL) Toolkit ) was looking at using the Eclipse GMF to produce a basic modeling in color tool for the Eclipse platform on the premise that UML 2.x has far more than is actually required by users doing modeling in color. Personally I find the GMF far too difficult to use and I can't recommend it.

Stephen R. Palmer

steve palmer's picture

Modelling Tool Support for 'modeling in color'

As I am am at a loose end right now, I thrown together some simple stereotype definitions, pattern and reference projects for four popular UML modeling tools (also intended to do support a profile for IBM/Rational RSA but was put off by the complexity).


Would welcome feedback, suggestions on improvements, etc.

Stephen R. Palmer

ericjsilva's picture


Thanks Stephen. I'll take a look at them. I have a modeling session upcoming in November. Hopefully, I can get them in place and put to use. I'll let you know how it goes in a real-world usage.


Vernon's picture

Modeling in Color on the iPad

I recently installed astah pad on my iPad. While it doesn't provide native support for Modeling in Color, it provides a pretty simple way to create class diagrams and it's easy to choose colors for classes, so while not a perfect fit for Modeling in Color it can certainly fill the gap in a pinch, and the price is right (free). You can learn more about it at: