April 19, 2005

...Learn TDD with Codemanship

OCL Evaluator

If you're learning a new programming language, it's hard to know for sure that what you're writing is 100% correct without the benefit of a compiler and/or syntax checker.

In recent years, the tool support for OCL has been pretty poor - as bad as the development environments we had to put up with in the eighties (or even worse). I've struggled along with a couple of these less than usable tools to check that the OCL I've used in tutorials is correct, but quite often I end up fighting with the tool and give up.

Well, now I believe one of the tools available has matured just enough to make it almost practical for real projects. I say almost, because it's still a bit too clunky for the kind of modeling many of us have to do, but it certainly is good enough for learning OCL and checking that our expressions actually work.

The OCL Evaluator from "BABES-BOLYAI" University Computer Science Research Laboratory (just trips off the tongue, doesn't it?) is not a bad effort at all. The XMI model import is much improved from when I last tried to use the tool, and projects can now use multiple models. The OCL editor has some of the niceties you'd expect - context-sensitive "intellisense" for those of us who don't carry the entire OCL language specification and our own models in our heads, code highlighting and so forth. You can write constraints that apply to use cases, class models and object/snapshot models, and have expressions evaluated against them - as well as the UML metamodel itself, if you're into extending UML with profiles.

All in all, it's not bad at all. Luckily it's also free, because I'd never consider paying for it! (Still far too clunky for me to hand over money, I'm afraid).
Posted 16 years, 5 months ago on April 19, 2005