Re: C++ IDE with graphical application building and good portability

James Kanze <>
Fri, 18 Jan 2008 04:45:45 -0800 (PST)
On Jan 17, 6:35 pm, Linonut <lino...@bollsouth.nut> wrote:

* James Kanze peremptorily fired off this memo:

The point of class diagrams is not to save typing time -- they
don't save any, in fact they can double it if you're not
careful. The point of class diagrams is not to create the
code -- they're not always tractable in that way.

I've used Rose to generate code in some projects. I find that
I'm a lot more productive using it that writing my headers by

Well, based on what I've seen from other developers, they will then
not write complete comments, nor will they leave the code in
a nicely-formatted state.

That's more or less my point. I've had no problems with the
formatting of the code, but they don't integrate seemlessly a
good text editor, for the textual parts of the design. Still,
I'm significantly more productive with Rose than with any of the
alternatives I've tried.

If you can't do a seamless round trip, I'd rather refine the
code by editing and then regenerate the diagrams.

You do the diagrams first, regardless.

The point of class diagrams is to provide various views of
your prospective code. Or, even better, other people's code.
At least in my view.

The point of class diagrams (and requirements specifications,
and a lot of other documentation) is to define what you are
going to write in the code. I'm very sceptical of people who
code first, and write the documentation later. I've seen a lot
of code developed that way, and it's always pretty bad.

Only for larger projects. Smaller projects don't need the overhead

It's not really overhead. Do the UML first, and you're more

Of course, there is a break-even point---I don't bother with UML
(or C++, for that matter) for things less than about 500 lines
of code. I'll just bang it into shell script and awk, without
really much design up front.

Obviously, you need a specialized tool. Because I've usually
started with class diagrams, I've not been able to experiment
with CWeb, but I think some combination of CWeb, embedded in
Rose, would be just about perfect.

We call it "Crational" around here. Even Rose. I'm finding
umbrello to be reasonable.

Rose is really the only such tool I've used to any extent. (I
did try Together a little---it has some nice points as well, but
it doesn't seem to work well in my environment---a very small,
very slow Sparc, with not very much memory.)

I still don't think UML is up to the task of generating code.
And you have to become an expert in the UML process to
actually create a real design that will result in compilable
and working code.

As I said, I've used Rose for code generation in several
projects. Including one very small one (about 50 KLOC). It's
always resulted in significantly improved productivity.

What I find works best for me is to do a lot of the skeletal
header files up front, until I start to lose the picture of
their relationships. Then I reverse engineer, find the
obvious flaws, then continue coding, then reverse engineer

How do you know what classes you're going to need, if you
haven't done a few class diagrams, scenarios, etc.? (I find
scenarios particularly useful in the early stages of design.
But I think part of what I use them for might better be handled
with CRC cards.)

It's too bad there isn't a diagramming tool that will make
only /incremental/ changes to your code, preserving the rest
of the documentation and code without the need to use arcane

I'm not sure what your problem here is. Rose separates the code
fairly cleaning into the part it maintains, and the part you
maintain. It never modifies the part you maintain.

As for the mark-up---you want something, so you know what you
can modify, and what you can't (or if you prefer, what's yours,
and what's Rose's). The last time I used it, I set up the
editor (I was using emacs at the time) so that it displayed the
mark-up very discreetly, unlike normal comments. (I use a dark
green background: the Rose generated mark-up was dark-gray,
normal comments yellow.)

Maybe a method where each item is a database entry in a
relational database, and you edit the items, and then can
assemble them into code that you examine, compile, and then
throw away until the next round of database updates.

There's a similar problem with requirements. How does
Rational handle it? With a stinking-awful Microsoft
Word-based user interface.

We didn't handle requirements with Rose. On the last project I
used Rose on, they came from outside. In Word format:-) (which
was a pain, because we didn't have any PC's in the development
group---just Sun Sparcs---and only had it in hard copy form).

But again, that's the weakness I've been talking about:
integration of text and diagrams.

James Kanze (GABI Software)
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