|Re: Use of Papyrus in Software Engineering Courses [message #1768911 is a reply to message #1768470]
||Mon, 24 July 2017 21:07
| C. Fuhrman
Registered: July 2017
Since 2005 or so, I have been teaching an undergraduate OO analysis and design course (loosely following Craig Larman's Applying UML and Patterns book). He's got a great take on UML tools in the book, which is surprisingly still true today, if you ask me.|
Most of the modeling that takes place in my courses is "UML as a sketch," and the students are free to use whatever tool they want for the labs. However, on exams they must be able to draw by hand UML that respects the subset of the notation covered in the course/book. I encourage them NOT to use tools for the exercises, so they can learn to model with a pencil (or whiteboard marker). I feel that clicking through menus of most UML tools is counterproductive, especially when everything is new. Layout algorithms are generally bad for most tools. It's a huge time suck to push classes around by hand to make the diagram readable.
PlantUML has been a great tool for doing quick diagrams for most notations in my course. I designed a plug-in for Google Docs called PlantUML Gizmo for the context of my courses, and it's been very useful. I use it for 90% of the things I need to present in a clean way. PlantUML comes up short, however, when you have models with lots of classes.
For example, if I want to show how to reorganize domain models with packages, it's not really possible with a tool like PlantUML. Papyrus seems to do a good job, since the classes are really structured in packages, and it's possible to show diagrams of only certain elements. I have discovered the CSS aspects of Papyrus and it's got potential to approach modeling simplified enough for an undergraduate class. On the other hand, I don't yet have enough examples of models done in Papyrus (undergrads love examples if you want them to use a tool).
My reluctance so far with using Papyrus 3.x is the >500M download (I'm not sure how much bigger it is than 2.x), followed by more than 10 mins to unzip the file on a Surface Pro 4. I think its footprint is too big for an undergraduate class (at least at the start). I'm recommending it to students who are interested in modeling the projects in UML when they have more than 30 classes with several packages. For a grad course, I would highly recommend it.
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