Friday, May 09, 2008

UML, Design, and Paper

Why did the UML design tools fail? By fail, I mean never gain popular acceptance. To this day, I still do my designs by hand and then do them in a drawing tool when they are solidified. The UML tool makers never understood that when designing, you need to be able to make mistakes and explore different options. Instead, they forced you to make decisions too early in the process so they could auto-generate your code. I always found it cumbersome and they got too much in the way. And that's why they failed. I love paper. All of my friends that design still use paper for their designs as well. The reason is that you can try out ideas and the design can always be thrown away. Design is an exploration journey. The tools only looked at the destination and not how to make the journey easier. The journey is what mattered.


Unknown said...

Hi, Blaine,
Hi agree with you for what you say, but I use a different solution: I use an old (1998) version of Rose. Is fast, small, (everything on few mb), limited (but it has what I need, just a bit less than on UML Distilled) and allow me to go faster than using pencil and paper.
Whenever I try a more modern designer, but full of (un-necesssary) stuff, slow and heavy, it seems to me that it require too much time to work with, and to much precision.
Never found a better one that the old one.

Corey A. Spitzer said...

Blaine, I totally agree. And it's pretty obvious that the developers of Enterprise Architect never actually had to use it themselves. There are just too many clicks and things to type just to communicate something. Yet some people love it because if it's expensive and "enterprise" it must be good.

Anyway, I use a combination of powerpoint and this little tool here:
which, like Rose circa 1998, is also fast, small, and limited.