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How Do I Choose the Best Open Source UML Tool?

By Alex Newth
Updated May 16, 2024
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An open source unified modeling language (UML) tool is used to help you model a program, but many UML tools seem very similar and choosing one can be tough. An open source UML tool may have automatic or manual code generation or a mix of the two, and it usually is best to pick a coding type that fits your style. To print out the UML diagram, the ability to export the diagram as an image may be useful. When coding the diagram, the open source UML tool will understand one or several coding languages, and it is usually best to choose a program that supports a language you know. If the UML tool has an experienced forum, then it should be able to help you if the program does not work as expected.

Either by generating code or by showing you the real-time changes of your new code, an open source UML tool helps with software diagram modeling. Code can be made automatically, typed by hand or created through a mix of the two; it usually is best to pick a tool that creates code in a manner that fits your coding style. Automatic UML generation means less work on your part, but the code may have a large footprint or it may have errors. Hand UML coding takes longer, because it is manual, but there is rarely a footprint. Mixed coding creates generic coding and you fill in the blanks; while you are expected to know the language, this avoids errors and typically is easier than coding entirely by hand.

If you or someone else needs the diagram printed, it usually is best to export the UML diagram as an image file. To assist with this, it may be best if the open source UML tool has several image export options. Common image types are usually best, unless you are looking for a specific format.

To code a UML diagram, unless it automatically generates code, you normally will need to be familiar with a type of coding language. Depending on the open source UML tool, you may be able to use one or several languages simultaneously. It is usually best to get a UML tool that recognizes a language with which you are familiar.

While an open source UML tool may be built to the same exacting standards as closed-source programs, most open source UML tools will not have a dedicated support team. To alleviate this, you should check for a forum that has experienced members. This way, if something unexpected occurs, a question can be posted on the forum and you should receive a knowledgeable answer.

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