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From James Strachan <>
Subject Re: uml (was: documentation)
Date Sat, 16 Aug 2003 08:07:50 GMT

On Saturday, August 16, 2003, at 10:09  am, Ralph Apel wrote:

> I have continued experimenting with the doclet idea from

This looks *great*! I've wanted something like this for some time.

> With this doclet (or some evolved version of it) the essential design
> information may be put into each source file in form of javadoc
> comments.
> In a separate javadoc process, with this doclet instead of the default
> one, the desing information is converted into .dot graph 
> specifications,
> - may be by package
> - may be by handier sets of related classes
> Dot files are practically platform independent and may be easily
> converted into a large variety of bitmap or vector formats. There are
> even cgi-frameworks for doing this.
> So the idea would be to generate the dots within the normal build
> process (its fast) and leave the real visualization to each one.
> The decisive question is whether we will be willing and able to get the
> corresponding javadoc-comments into the sources. I will try to send a
> more concrete (and small and compressed!!) example on some area I
> haven't selected yet.
> Certainly the usage of special doclets can be extended to generating 
> files to be directly loaded into the different UML-Tools. Indeed I
> expect some code there around doing this. Of course it might not be too
> easy, because there are several specs and dialects of XMI (XML Metadata
> Interchange) and the support of XMI by the different tools also varies
> wildly.

Wrapping this up as a Maven plugin would rock! Then anyone could use 
this on any Maven related project. Adding some javadoc tags as hints to 
create better diagrams is a good idea too.

I'd really like us to auto-generate some good UML diagrams from our 
code - it'd really help folks grok the code. One thing though is that 
UmlGraph depends on Graphviz - which may not be installed on a users 
computer - so we'd probably want to make the UML generation and 
optional step for those who have Graphviz installed. Other than that, 
this looks great stuff.


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