UML Design Package Options

I have been at software design for quite a while now and UML has been my constant companion for a good part of this time. Whenever I think of UML I think how great it is for helping with software design, but also how more or less uinversely rubbish most of the UML design applications are.


I have used tonnes of them, the big and expensive ones, the small funky ones and the in between ones and they all have their problems. I especially hate the ones that require at least 100 mouse clicks and popup options screens to get anything done, they are a real RSI minefield! Sometimes I think you would be better off with a pen and paper…


Every so often I go and on the hunt for new or improved offerings, testing them on real projects. This all takes time and I haven’t gone on such a hunt for 2 years now – So could anybody please recommend what they think is the best UML package out there at the moment and hopefully save me some time?


Here are some of the things I would like from a design app:

  • Efficient user interface, the less clunky context menus and mouse clicks the better!
  • Not tied to any particular programming language
  • Affordable (open source would be great!)
  • Standards Compliant (no renaming or reinventing of bits of the UML)
  • Easy to copy diagrams out into other documents
  • Good support for the different diagram types

Oh also, are there any decent cloud offerings?


Cheers – looking forward to hear your suggestions!

2 replies
  1. Cos
    Cos says:

    Kevin, of all the tools I have used (Metastorm, Rational, even Microsoft’s modeling) the one I prefer at this point is Enterprise Architect by Sparx Systems ( The professional version that I am using costs 199 USD, and let me tell you, it has a lot of funcitonality, including a great round trip engineering for .NET and SQL (I didn’t try their Java). One peculiar thing is the templates that they have to deal with embedded systems, which I haven’t seen anywhere else.


    The learning curve is negligible if you already know modeling, and the reporting is outstanding.


    For version control, I used it with both Subversion and TFS and it works well but it takes a few bumps to get setup.


    Anyway, that’s my idea and I have no affiliation with them (you ad I actually met briefly in Cork last week ;-).


    My 2 cents



  2. Kevin Godden
    Kevin Godden says:

    Hi Cos,

    Thanks for your recommendation, I will check out Enterprise Architect, I haven’t used it before, I had a quick look at their web page and it looks impressive!

    Our meeting in Cork last week was very brief! The next time we meet will be for longer and we can compare notes!


Comments are closed.