Software Development with Linux

UML modeling tools reviews Gaphor

SUN, 01 FEB 2009

The first tool I've tried is Gaphor version 0.13.0, which is the version available in Kbuntu 8.10.

"Gaphor is an easy to use modeling environment. This means that you are able to create nice UML diagrams for documentation and to assist you with design decisions. Gaphor will help you create your applications." -- Gaphor's website

Gaphor is developed in python for GNOME. As a side note, I've used it with KDE4.

Like I previously said, I've tried to do all the diagrams shown in wikipedia's UML entry. So, here they are. You can skip at the end if you only want the conclusion.

Class diagram :
Component diagram :
As you can see, I've not been able to draw the interfaces / relations between the component and the actor. First strike.

Composite structure diagram :
Well, I couldn't draw that diagram at all! Too many missing elements...

Deployment diagram :
Object diagram :There's no object diagram in Gaphor, so I used the class diagram to do it. Similar, but not OK.

Package diagram :
There's no way to have custom stereotype on the relation. And since there's also no "free text" object, I couldn't do any better.

Activity diagram :
Looks OK. I had to use a standard line, since the fork/join node can only be but vertical...

State Machine diagram :
You can't move the text where you want... Other than that, not so bad.

Use case diagram :
Simple, but you can't resize the use-case box smaller than that, so you're wasting space...

Communication diagram :
Again, couldn't resize the box. Also unable to put any text to the relation.

Interaction overview diagram :
Life lines aren't correct, and with the resize issue, I decided to put a normal box for "ref" so it wouldn't be too big...

Sequence diagram :

Overall, I think that Gaphor isn't ready for heavy use. Even those simple diagram couldn't be drawn correctly. Otherwise, the graphics are good, and it includes some interesting tools like "Check UML model" and a "life object browser". But unfortunately, if you're not able to do all the diagrams you want, you can't go far.

This product is still in development, so hopefully, it will be better the next time I'll try it! But for now, I cannot use it.

Edit:
See UML Editors: Gaphor for another good review of Gaphor