Visio UML as Sketch

When reading the latest posts about XP == DATT by Paul Gielens, I noticed him mentioning UML as Sketch. And suddenly this new Visio 12 feature was in my mind, that I had just recently blogged about.

As Fowler says it, you can draw your sketches on a white board, but also in a light weight drawing tool. I’m not sure if Visio can be seen as a light weight drawing to, but let me clarify. I know when mentioning Visio to RUP and UML fanatics, they want to set both you and Visio on fire, or just chuckle at you. Haven’t you heard of this great toolset Rational created? Yeah, I reply, and haven’t you heard of user friendly interfaces? Man do I despise that toolset.

The current Visio isn’t that user friendly either thought, when you look at all the property screens with a dozen tab-pages that come up when you draw a new class in your diagram. But that’s where currently my most favorite stencils come into place. Just throw on your UML 2.0 shapes and sketch in those properties and methods, if you want.

I’m not sure how Visio 12 handles those dreaded property screens, but after thinking about this sketching technique, I sure do like (or will like) the new ability to add new shapes by just clicking these arrows I mentioned.

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4 Responses

  1. Ramon Smits says:

    Don’t exactly understand that magical Visio 12 feature. But when I read the previous article you seem to refer functionality in the Poseidon UML design tool from Gentleware.

    I like the tool very much! Only bummer is that it is written in Java and isn’t as snappy and smooth as most Win32 applications.

  2. I didn’t mention it here, so people will read the previous post as well! 😉

    Let me explain. You’ve just thrown a class onto your sheet. When hovering over it with your mouse, four arrows show up for all four directions (up, down, left & right). When pressing one of those, in that direction, a new class will be created, with an assocation link between them.

    I’m not sure about what kind of link, because the presenter used a random shape, it wasn’t a UML shape.

    It’s a really simple feature, but when sketching (!) your UML, it’s really usefull because you can quickly sketch something. And that’s why I like using Visio!

  3. Bill Morein says:

    The feature that you are describing does work with any shapes, including the UML solution that ships with Visio and Pavel Hruby’s UML shapes that you mention. The connection that is added is a dynamic connector (the same as if you had used the connector tool in Visio).

    There is a button to turn the feature on and off (it does not make sense in diagram types that don’t include connections) but you can enable it in any template by default.

  4. Cool, can’t wait to see it.

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