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Uml Modeling tools to generate Actionscript 2 3 code

October 5th, 2007 | By Cedric

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I use regularly UML (Unified Modeling Language) for numerous years to model my products or/and communicate about projects. Searching for a better tool which can generate automatically Actionscript 3, I found not much software available to meet my requirements. I think that they will be certainly more to come because Actionscript meets now a level that may allows it to be better considered by programmers from other horizons used to such technics.

Free solutions for UML tools

1: there is the coming soon Saffron by Samuel Agesilas Pastel. It has been a lot of blogging about it for a few months. It has a sexy UI, colourful diagrams and takes advantage from specific features of Adobe AIR. Unfortunately at the moment it is not already available even in beta. It looks very promising but I have no clue, if it will be possible to export AS 3. I am looking forward to testing it and will post a review here.

2: ArgoUml by tigris.org, also known for subversion and other numerous acclaimed OS projects. It works on Java, it is possible to generate Actionscript 2, but not yet Actionscript 3. To be honest I tested it at the beginning of the project and I was very disappointed by its usability. I have not retested it yet.

3: Violet UML is one of many UML free drawing tools available running on Java. It is very simple and basic, but it works great and quickly. An Eclipse version is available. But most of all an Actionscript 3 generator is being developed by another person. This modified Violet is named VASGen by Adam Breindel (Violet UML ActionScript 3 Generator) using David Holroyd’smetaas library. Violet’s version on which it is based is a bit outdated and currently an Eclipse version is not available. However a new version should be available within two weeks. See also about VASGen this.

Commercial solution for uml software

Visual Paradigm for UML seems to be the most advanced tool available. I have not tested it yet, but there are plenty of animated demos for each features. If you want the generation of Actionscript 2 and 3, it starts with the standard version at $299.

It has features like CRC cards editor, CRC cards auto conversion to Class’ Diagrams, it can open your MS Visio UML files and a lot more. I am looking forward to testing its UI and drawing tools which looks very good. It is clearly a tool that can make teams work more efficient and comfortable through all phases of a project.
CRC cards feature, Actionscript 2 and 3 generation.

Information update 11.22.2007: since this blog entry I have tested Enterprise Architect 7.0 for 30 days. I must say that it is the best one I have used so far.  I am now addicted to it and I think I can not do without anymore. It support full roundtrip code engineering for AS2 and AS3 forward and backward (by the way it needs a few tuneups to be perfect). Coming soon a complete review of Enterprise Architect and few tutorials.

Conclusion on tools to use for uml for actionscript, FLash/Flex/AIr projects

As a conclusion from the promising Saffron to Violet, ARGUML and the advanced Visual Paradigm for Uml there is currently not much to choose between. Of course using a good UML editor with code generation will save you time and money. You can start using basic free tools which may be enough, but if you feel that there are too many features that you miss, or must-have features that you need, go with a commercial advanced UML editor, I think that it is worth its investment. To finish with, I need to mention that, at the moment, true roundtrip code generation does not exist for Actionscript.

If you know about other interesting UML tools, do not hesitate to drop me a line!

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