Re: Is UML of any value in SW-Projects?

James Kanze <>
Wed, 8 Dec 2010 03:05:43 -0800 (PST)
On Dec 8, 6:47 am, =D6=F6 Tiib <> wrote:

On Dec 7, 11:29 am, James Kanze <> wrote:

On Dec 7, 3:53 am, =D6=F6 Tiib <> wrote:

On Dec 6, 6:02 pm, James Kanze <> wrote:

On Dec 5, 6:42 pm, =D6=F6 Tiib <> wrote:

On Dec 5, 8:12 pm, Student <> wrote:

A question to C++ developers:
Is UML of any value in SW-Projects, or is it more an academic t=


Depends what you mean by UML.
UML as language for describing all SW design with a CASE tool doe=

s not

work too well in C++ projects. The tools both parse and generate =


code rather weakly, so there one will face more pain than gain.

That's news to the numerous well run projects which do use UML
for round trip design in C++. At least Rational Rose (the one
I've used most) does a very good job in parsing and generating
C++ code. If the tool you used didn't, blame the tool, not the
concept itself.

Interesting. To me Rational has always left impression of company tha=


makes most terrible tools available.

Terrible in what way? And compared to what?

Unstable, not easy to use, slow, hard to integrate with other tools.
Rose for example did crash even when parsing Java. I have seen nothing
else crashing when parsing Java.

I guess it depends on the platform. Working under Solaris, on
a Sparc, I never had any of these problems: I've never seen it
crash, either with Java or C++. (I wasn't using Java, but
a collegue was.) And it integrated as well, if not better, than
other tools, despite being 100% GUI. (GUI based tools often
don't integrate well.)


As for their other tools, Clearcase is by far the best
source code control system I've used, and until recently, Purify
was the standard for memory leak detection (but valgrind has
become very good as well now, and is easier to use).

ClearCase does not have atomic commits so preparing change-set for
review-board is not easy.

I've never found the lack of atomic commits to be a problem,
although abstractly, I can see that it might be.

One way is to create branch for each change-
set but merging branches was not easy either. Other (usual to
Rational) difficulties to integrate with other tools, like issue
trackers or continuous integration systems. It felt that you need full-
time ClearCase admin for each 10 devs using it. I like the modern free
agile repositories like Mercurial and Git lot better.

ClearCase does require some management. On the other hand, its
merge is definitely better than Subversion (which we're
currently using), and its basic model is superior for large
projects. (For small projects, it's overkill, and you'll end up
spending more time managing things that necessary.)

Only thing i found attractive about them was prominent price.

We must have different ideas regarding what is "attractive" with
regards to price. IMHO, Rational's pricing and licensing
policies can only be considered disuasive.

High prices of goods are attractive when you need to ask for budget.


About like Oracle in database world. Unlike Oracles
databases, Rational tools however were never worth that price.
The problem with UML is (i suspect) conceptual. C++ has more concepts
and idioms supported than UML is capable to display. So no wonder tha=


a CASE tool can not convert them one to one.

Which, for example, can't be supported by UML and Rose?

Everything about templates it either crashed or it got it wrong.

Again, I had no problems with templates almost ten years ago.
(And I find it difficult to attribute that difference to
different platforms.)

I said, I've done complete projects where everything was managed
in Rose, without any real problems (and without the need to
escape to the source level for specific idioms).


Some things are better described in English than with UML
diagrams. And mixing English text and UML (and other types of
diagrams) is a weak point of all of the systems I've seen. But
for a lot of applications, the UML part is significantly more
important than the English text, and you can live with the
weakness of the editor used for annotations in Rose. (In the
worst case, you can type the text in vim, and copy/paste it into
the Rose annotation box. But at least the last time I used it,
Rose didn't support things like HTML formatting in its text

Yep, there was also such difficulties and inconvenience. You can do it
of course (like anything), but it feels like you are working more than
without the damn tool and results are not that beautiful. Seems that
others have had similar experiences.

It's a problem, but to date, I've not seen a tool where it
wasn't a problem. Rose is neither better nor worse here. (To
tell the truth, I'm not sure what such an integration would look
like. But what I've seen to date isn't it.)

James Kanze

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