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.