Software Engineering Under the Sea

Poseidon for UML provides a handy framework for creating Universal

Modeling Language (UML) diagrams, used by many organizations to aid

software development. However, Poseidon for UML goes further than just

generating UML diagrams. You can import or generate Java code (this

tool is very much oriented towards Java development), and you can also

critique UML diagrams created by others.

Poseidon outputs diagrams to Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG format)

along with GIF and PostScript. You can export UML models in XMI, an XML

format designed to allow UML models to be moved between diagramming

tools. In theory, this should allow full interoperability. It doesn't

always work out this way in practice though due to the different

interpretations of XMI from many tools.

Poseidon for UML is based on the open source project ArgoUML

(http://argouml.tigris.org). Originally founded by Jason Robbins,

ArgoUML doesn't offer as many features as Poseidon, but is available

with full source code. Poseidon also is available from Gentleware.

Download the application from

http://www.gentleware.com/products/download.php3.

Both ArgoUML and Poseidon support Java WebStart, which allows you to

download a Java application from a site and then it checks the site

each time you start up for updates. This makes installation easier as

well as making upgrades mostly transparent.

Writing this application in Java should allow it to run on any

operating system that supports the standard Java environment, called

J2SE in Sun terminology. Taking a page from the Sun marketing,

Gentleware offers a free download of the Poseidon for UML Community

Edition. You can also purchase the high-end products Poseidon for UML

Professional Edition and Enterprise Edition. The for-fee products will

be available in 2002, according to Gentleware on their page at

http://gentleware.com/products/index.php3.

Poseidon for UML integrates with the NetBeans and Forte Integrated

Development Environments (IDEs) as an add-on module. Both NetBeans and

Forte (which share the same underlying code base) support add-on

modules that extend the functionality of the base IDE.

I experienced a few quirks, especially in the display of the diagrams,

but I was really pleased at the amount of functionality in this free

tool.

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