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Home » Modeling » Papyrus » Fast and easy UML Prototyping(all the nice shortcuts that make UML easier)
icon3.gif  Fast and easy UML Prototyping [message #778346] Thu, 12 January 2012 13:44 Go to next message
Igor Jacy Lino Campista is currently offline Igor Jacy Lino CampistaFriend
Messages: 34
Registered: July 2009
Member
Hi there,

I have been informally following Papyrus since a year. Lately I was happy to know that it ships as part of the last release of Topcased. (as a successor of their own editors)

My main goal, as an eclipse fan and evangelist, in the last half a year has been to advertise the use of Papyrus to a group of architects and some more developers. So, 2 groups in a sense.

There has been a bit of resistance, depending on the group:

For developers:

1) FAST PROTOTYPING: Its quite painful to use the UML diagrams for fast prototyping. For adding a property correctly, so with the correct type and cardinality, you need to go through several menus and clicks. For other diagrams, like sequence diagram, a concept like the one at (http://www.websequencediagrams.com), where you easily type the text and you get the representation very easy in a few minutes. Very Happy

2)PREFERENCES EXPORT: Overal diagram preferences when coloring diagrams cannot be exported and reused by other developers. My personal observation, It looks to me that they are somehow not really saved. Shocked

3)PROPERTIES VIEW INSTABILITY: Observed that there seems to be an instability for showing cosmetic properties. I don't get it, but at some point you looking at the properties table of a class object, you no longer see any way to change its color, the respective tabs disappear. The only way to get it back was to reinstall everything. Looks like some internal states gets corrupted. Shocked

4) SEQUENCE DIAGRAM INSTABILITY: This part is easy to reproduce. To create a sequence diagram from scratch, you need a looot of patience. Trying to put the arrow to the right place, may shift elements in a not-nice way, or also, the inability to connect the arrow all-together. What it should take 3-5 minutes, could take 20 minutes. Shocked

For architects:

1) most of same issues as for developers.

2) examples/template repository of papyrus diagrams for a wider range of domains. A place where the community could collaborate. A place where you can put examples of papyrus diagrams you did, and where you can easily find them, rate them, catalog them, dowload and share them. Very Happy

3) Auto-reordering of elements. In most cases, the auto reordering destroys/misaligns altogether the representation to something not useful at all, and may put classes overlapping. I think this one really is something you cannot use as it is. (I had the experience with the EcoreTools and UMLTools auto reordering features, and they are close to perfect [specially EcoreTools].) Shocked


4) 4+1 project support. Probably much to ask... So for example, that the papyrus project could somehow has more of a glue role. Some view that fits all the diagrams together. I have the feeling this one is out of scope for what the Papyrus project is about. Very Happy

5) Somehow a bridge between MoDisco and Papyrus would be really cool. One could prototype the output of MoDisco, into the nice Papyrus diagrams. Very Happy

I think for the most part, is about the improving usability which brought me problems into introducing to Papyrus as a serious diagram tool.

I find facinating the idea about fast prototyping and and also the a community repository for papyrus diagrams.

What I just wrote before its only my feedback as a user of this nice tooling. Very Happy


Has anybody have some tips on FAST PROTOTYPING with Papyrus?

Also appretiated, any tips how to export papyrus color&background properties to other workspaces?

Any useful comment is highly appreciated.


Cheers,
Igor
Re: Fast and easy UML Prototyping [message #893243 is a reply to message #778346] Tue, 03 July 2012 10:30 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Tex Iano is currently offline Tex IanoFriend
Messages: 99
Registered: February 2012
Member
Hi,

I am currently using Papyrus too and have to admit that it is really hard to create big diagrams. It takes a lot of times with a lot of clicks.

Maybe there is a list of shortcuts? For example, when adding a property there is a nice editor where I can type:

+ line1 : UMLPrimitiveTypes::String {unique}

However, this editor is within a submenu. A shortcut like Strg + F2 (F2 for renaming, Strg + F2 for complex "renaming") could help. Is there a list with shortcuts that may help?

Regards,

Tex
Re: Fast and easy UML Prototyping [message #893265 is a reply to message #893243] Tue, 03 July 2012 12:22 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Camille Letavernier is currently offline Camille LetavernierFriend
Messages: 511
Registered: February 2011
Senior Member
Hello,

Thank you for this feedback Smile I'll try to answer what I can.

Quote:
For developers:


Quote:
1) FAST PROTOTYPING: Its quite painful to use the UML diagrams for fast prototyping. For adding a property correctly, so with the correct type and cardinality, you need to go through several menus and clicks. For other diagrams, like sequence diagram, a concept like the one at (http://www.websequencediagrams.com), where you easily type the text and you get the representation very easy in a few minutes. Very Happy


Papyrus offers a few X-Text-based editors, integrated into the diagrams. They were not activated as the default editors in Papyrus 0.8.X (Which is the version used by Topcased), but since 0.9.0, they are. You can still activate them manually via the preferences page of Papyrus (Papyrus > Embedded Editors)

Quote:
2)PREFERENCES EXPORT: Overal diagram preferences when coloring diagrams cannot be exported and reused by other developers. My personal observation, It looks to me that they are somehow not really saved. Shocked


Until 0.8.X (And even 0.9.X in the default installation), the diagram preferences are saved in the workspace preferences. So, indeed, pretty difficult to reuse (You can still export your workspace preferences, but there isn't a Papyrus category... So, this is not really realistic). However, an extra-plugin in Papyrus 0.9/Eclipse 4.2 provides the support of CSS Stylesheets for Papyrus diagrams. Much better, although not (yet) as complete as the Papyrus preferences page.

Quote:
3)PROPERTIES VIEW INSTABILITY: Observed that there seems to be an instability for showing cosmetic properties. I don't get it, but at some point you looking at the properties table of a class object, you no longer see any way to change its color, the respective tabs disappear. The only way to get it back was to reinstall everything. Looks like some internal states gets corrupted. Shocked


I've never run into this problem, nor heard of it. Are you using Papyrus or Topcased? The only case where the "Appearance" tab could disappear, in the standard Papyrus installation, is when you select an Element from the Model Explorer (The Model Explorer elements don't have an appearance).

Quote:
For architects:


Quote:
3) Auto-reordering of elements. In most cases, the auto reordering destroys/misaligns altogether the representation to something not useful at all, and may put classes overlapping. I think this one really is something you cannot use as it is. (I had the experience with the EcoreTools and UMLTools auto reordering features, and they are close to perfect [specially EcoreTools].) Shocked


We're investigating on integrating and providing GMF Layout tools with Papyrus, as an extra-feature in a first time. This may come someday soon, although I won't make any promise.

Quote:
4) 4+1 project support. Probably much to ask... So for example, that the papyrus project could somehow has more of a glue role. Some view that fits all the diagrams together. I have the feeling this one is out of scope for what the Papyrus project is about.


I don't really get this point.

Quote:
5) Somehow a bridge between MoDisco and Papyrus would be really cool. One could prototype the output of MoDisco, into the nice Papyrus diagrams.


This seems pretty vague Smile Do you mean the MoDisco models, obtained through the MoDisco dicoverers? All models, only Java Models ? If you mean the "Java Discoverer" of MoDisco, then Papyrus already provides a Java reverse-engineering tool (Although this is an extra-plugin which is not yet available from the Papyrus discovery site). If you mean "All the MoDisco discoverers", the scope becomes much larger, as their output almost have nothing in common with each other (Nor with UML). So, I'm not sure what you're really thinking about, here.

"Tex Iano"
However, this editor is within a submenu. A shortcut like Strg + F2 (F2 for renaming, Strg + F2 for complex "renaming") could help. Is there a list with shortcuts that may help?


You can set this editor as the default direct-editor in the Papyrus preferences page (Papyrus -> Embedded Editors)


Regards,
Camille


Camille Letavernier
Papyrus developer
Re: Fast and easy UML Prototyping [message #893369 is a reply to message #893265] Tue, 03 July 2012 17:47 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Igor Jacy Lino Campista is currently offline Igor Jacy Lino CampistaFriend
Messages: 34
Registered: July 2009
Member
Camille Letavernier wrote on Tue, 03 July 2012 08:22
Hello,

Thank you for this feedback Smile I'll try to answer what I can.

Igor: thank you for the answers, they are very welcomed. (Unfortunately that project where I was involved is gone and I failed to promote Topcased and Papyrus) Sad

Quote:
For developers:


Quote:
1) FAST PROTOTYPING: Its quite painful to use the UML diagrams for fast prototyping. For adding a property correctly, so with the correct type and cardinality, you need to go through several menus and clicks. For other diagrams, like sequence diagram, a concept like the one at (http://www.websequencediagrams.com), where you easily type the text and you get the representation very easy in a few minutes. Very Happy


Papyrus offers a few X-Text-based editors, integrated into the diagrams. They were not activated as the default editors in Papyrus 0.8.X (Which is the version used by Topcased), but since 0.9.0, they are. You can still activate them manually via the preferences page of Papyrus (Papyrus > Embedded Editors)

Igor: Ok, I have seen it at that time, but had no idea how it works or how to enable it. I will try it as I discover how to use it. (hopefully there is some documentation about it)

Quote:
2)PREFERENCES EXPORT: Overal diagram preferences when coloring diagrams cannot be exported and reused by other developers. My personal observation, It looks to me that they are somehow not really saved. Shocked


Until 0.8.X (And even 0.9.X in the default installation), the diagram preferences are saved in the workspace preferences. So, indeed, pretty difficult to reuse (You can still export your workspace preferences, but there isn't a Papyrus category... So, this is not really realistic). However, an extra-plugin in Papyrus 0.9/Eclipse 4.2 provides the support of CSS Stylesheets for Papyrus diagrams. Much better, although not (yet) as complete as the Papyrus preferences page.

Igor: Yes, that part really let me down also, I had no chance to at least give my settings to other architect. I think what we really are missing is some feature that is sold as skins (that could be based in CSS as you mentioned). That out of the box we get great cool model diagrams with beautiful colors. I think that could make a very big impact on casual modelers wanting a quickie with the tool


Quote:
3)PROPERTIES VIEW INSTABILITY: Observed that there seems to be an instability for showing cosmetic properties. I don't get it, but at some point you looking at the properties table of a class object, you no longer see any way to change its color, the respective tabs disappear. The only way to get it back was to reinstall everything. Looks like some internal states gets corrupted. Shocked


I've never run into this problem, nor heard of it. Are you using Papyrus or Topcased? The only case where the "Appearance" tab could disappear, in the standard Papyrus installation, is when you select an Element from the Model Explorer (The Model Explorer elements don't have an appearance).

Igor: Thanks for the info. My workspace is unfortunately long gone 8 months ago. If I recall correctly, it happened in two different computers/developers. I simply could not get the appearance tab no matter where I selected. If I come across the opportunity to use Papyrus/Topcased and come across the issue, I will report it properly.

Quote:
For architects:


Quote:
3) Auto-reordering of elements. In most cases, the auto reordering destroys/misaligns altogether the representation to something not useful at all, and may put classes overlapping. I think this one really is something you cannot use as it is. (I had the experience with the EcoreTools and UMLTools auto reordering features, and they are close to perfect [specially EcoreTools].) Shocked


We're investigating on integrating and providing GMF Layout tools with Papyrus, as an extra-feature in a first time. This may come someday soon, although I won't make any promise.

Igor: That would be a killer feature.

Quote:
4) 4+1 project support. Probably much to ask... So for example, that the papyrus project could somehow has more of a glue role. Some view that fits all the diagrams together. I have the feeling this one is out of scope for what the Papyrus project is about.


I don't really get this point.

Igor: Yes, true, I meant about the 4+1, which you http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4%2B1_Architectural_View_Model

I remember topcased had something similar, in the sense of another type of logical organization of the model explorer that made awareness of 4+1 views and their models. It was extensible enough to have more types of views. Papyrus does not have this of course. In a sense is enabling diagram documentation with the perspective as http://www.amazon.com/Documenting-Software-Architectures-Beyond-Edition/dp/0321552687 or also http://www.sei.cmu.edu/architecture/tools/document/viewsandbeyond.cfm?location=quaternary-nav&source=652002


Quote:
5) Somehow a bridge between MoDisco and Papyrus would be really cool. One could prototype the output of MoDisco, into the nice Papyrus diagrams.


This seems pretty vague Smile Do you mean the MoDisco models, obtained through the MoDisco dicoverers? All models, only Java Models ? If you mean the "Java Discoverer" of MoDisco, then Papyrus already provides a Java reverse-engineering tool (Although this is an extra-plugin which is not yet available from the Papyrus discovery site). If you mean "All the MoDisco discoverers", the scope becomes much larger, as their output almost have nothing in common with each other (Nor with UML). So, I'm not sure what you're really thinking about, here.

Igor: Basically, its about taking the advantage that from a MoDisco you can generate XMI models that can be converted to UML models using UMLTools (reversed engineered from an existent J2EE project). So the bridge would be that the MoDisco could generate nice Papyrus diagrams, with a consistent UML model that can be edited using Papyrus.

I feel that this feature has more stakeholders.

This would also be a killer feature.


"Tex Iano"
However, this editor is within a submenu. A shortcut like Strg + F2 (F2 for renaming, Strg + F2 for complex "renaming") could help. Is there a list with shortcuts that may help?


You can set this editor as the default direct-editor in the Papyrus preferences page (Papyrus -> Embedded Editors)

Igor: This is one of the problems with newcomers to Papyrus and Topcased, they will never find this things. Probably the best way is to have well documented features from user perspective that enriches, simplifies and highlights usability. (from new user, and productive user perspective)

Regards,
Camille

Re: Fast and easy UML Prototyping [message #1011959 is a reply to message #778346] Wed, 20 February 2013 15:39 Go to previous message
Igor Jacy Lino Campista is currently offline Igor Jacy Lino CampistaFriend
Messages: 34
Registered: July 2009
Member
Hi again, hope you are all fine.

One of our most senior UML architects has reviewed different UML tools, as a one commercial candidate and one open source or free candidate had to be selected. Unfortunately, the Topcased came 2nd. This is related since the papyrus are at the core there. (The papyrus UML editors)

Here is what he wrote, I hope this may be useful feedback on what others have to say. He also reviewed the Topcased 5.2, but its not worth quoting that result.


Topcased 5.3.0

Recently released version (e.o Jan 2013) which claims to have editors which have left the beta-state. Unfortunately, this isn't really true. This version is a noticeable improvement to the previous version (5.2.0) in some areas, but still has a lot of issues in editors for important diagram types (e.g. sequence diagram editor, see below). Findings so far:

Pros:

    Wide coverage of the UML standard.
    (12 out of 14 diagrams are supported effectively, profile diagrams are only available in profile projects; object diagrams are covered by class diagrams)
    Support for some kind of UML diagrams is OK, e.g. the component diagram support.
    Some diagram editors have been improved (e.g. the deployment diagram editor)
    Eclipse based. So if you now similar tools (e.g Rational Software Modeler), learning how to use the tool is straightforward.
    Allows to define and use own UML2 profiles.
    Support seems to be quite good at first sight.
    Editors support free form graphic elements (boxes, text, circles, etc.)
    Copy and paste in Word as PNG creates acceptable results.
    It is actually quite convenient, as this works without first exporting a bitmap file.
    Free as free beer and free speech.


Cons:

    The sequence diagram editor is hardly usable. It starts with properly defining lifelines (works - but a lot of the model editing must be done manually) and ends with trying(!) to create combined fragments (e.g. to depict alternatives message flows). That doesn't seem to work at all (or has to be done in a so counter-intuitive way that I don't get it). In effect, creating non-trivial sequence diagrams is a pain or doesn't work at all.
    Unfortunately also the activity diagram editor is not ready for prime time. E.g. neither the name nor the condition expression is show in the diagram.
    The deployment diagram editor has been improved a bit, yet it is still not 100% functional and stable.
    Obviously "still in development..."
    No "freeform" diagrams (so diagrams that combine model elements from different areas of the UML meta-model, e.g. a deployment diagram which also contains components).
    Diagram export only as bitmaps Acceptable for small diagrams (in terms of covered document real estate)
    Still "work in progress". Although this tool suite is around for years now, you never get a version that works well across the whole UML standard


Verdict:

The best candidate so far in terms of UML coverage and overall integration functionally as no artificial restrictions are applied as in the "community editions" of otherwise commercial products. The only main and unfortunately quite severe downside is the usability of some editors. No real breakdowns so far - but still a lot of annoyances.The tools looks OK of first sight, but as soon as you try to create models and according views in form of diagrams that explore some of the more advanced modeling constructs of UML2, you are faced with difficulties and annoyances - some features even do not work (reliably) at all.
In effect, also this version of Topcased is not really usable for non-trivial
modeling and documentation tasks.


Cheers,
Igor

[Updated on: Wed, 20 February 2013 15:41]

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