Sequence Diagrams

I’m working on documenting Daversy, the open source program I’m working on, and quite naturally I’m using Doxygen to do it. Doxygen is a fine tool, but there are things it cannot do.

One of those things is generating sequence diagrams, which I believe are a very important part of a project’s documentation. I’ve been using it (mostly on a whiteboard) for a long time to explain some pretty hairy concepts to some pretty slow people and it worked well. The problem always was finding the right tool to scketch sequence diagrams quickly. The very expensive Rational Rose was a complete dissapointment, and so (unfortunately) was ArgoUML. I’ve also tried Microsoft Visio, but Visio, being a great piece of software, is too generic a program to do what I wanted quickly and well. Remember, I didn’t want a full blown UML diagram, just a scketch of a sequence diagram to explain a few concepts.

About half an hour ago it dawned upon me that it would be really cool if a sequence diagram could be generated from a simple text based language. Turns out that I’m not the first one to have thought of this, and such a solution exists. Take a look at the amazing SEQUENCE by Alex Moffat. It’s one of those rare incidents that a tool is just the perfect fit for what I needed.

The usage is very simple. Download the compiled jar file and double-click it. If you have a JRE installed, a nice self explanatory GUI will present itself.

You can also run it from the command line using the “java –headless” syntax to generate a PNG image of the sequence diagram and integrate it into your documentation build process.

Thank you Alex.

7 Comments on “Sequence Diagrams”


By Berislav Lopac. November 28th, 2005 at 12:36

Eli, I would strongly recommend the Sparx Enterprise Architect: http://www.sparxsystems.com.au/products/ea.html

By Gooli. November 28th, 2005 at 12:45

Why do they have to use “Enterprise” on everything. It makes it sound so bulky and slow. But I’ll check it out if you say it’s cool.

By Berislav Lopac. November 28th, 2005 at 16:50

They have a number of editions, from Personal to Enterprise or something. Pick one that seems most appropriate for you, they’re all reasonably priced.

By Anonymous. November 29th, 2005 at 03:46

This does a good job with simple sequence diagrams:

http://www.sequencediagrameditor.com/

By Anonymous. July 6th, 2006 at 21:50

Look at the open source http://www.umlet.com/ . It is a amazing tool for drawing UML diagrans. You can both design your sequence diagram by drawing or by writing. It is easy, fast and very simple

By Yanic. July 2nd, 2008 at 00:53

Better late than never ;o)

Have a look at Trace Modeler, the easy-to-use and smart UML sequence diagram editor.

It is extremely fast to sketch your diagrams and it a batch export mode if that is what you need.

By berislav. April 3rd, 2010 at 06:09

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