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Origins and Overview of ArgoUML
Object Oriented Analysis and Design
Over the past decade, Object Oriented Analysis and Design
(OOA&D) has become the dominant
software development paradigm. With it has come a major shift
in the thought processes of all involved in the software
development life cycle.
Programming language support for objects began with
Simula 67, but it was the emergence in the 1980's of
hybrid languages, such as C++, Ada and Object Pascal that
allowed OOA&D to take off. These languages provided support
for both OO and procedural programming. Object Oriented
programming became mainstream.
An OO system is designed and implemented as a
simulation of the real world using
software artifacts. This premise is as powerful as it is
simple. By using an OO approach to design
a system can be designed and tested (or more correctly
simulated) without having to actually build the system
It is the development during the 1990's of tools to
support Object Oriented analysis and
design that moved this approach into the
mainstream. When coupled with the ability to design systems at
a very high level, a tool based OOA&D approach has enabled
the implementation of more complex systems than previously
The final driver that has propelled OOA&D has been
its suitability for modeling graphical user interfaces. The
popularity of object based and object oriented graphical
languages such as Visual Basic and Java reflect the
effectiveness of this approach.
The Development of ArgoUML
During the 1980's a number of OOA&D process
methodologies and notations were developed by different
research teams. It became clear there were many common themes
and, during the 1990's, a unified approach for OOA&D
notation was developed under the auspices of the
Group. This standard became known as the Unified
Modeling Language (UML), and is now the standard language for
communicating OO concepts.
ArgoUML was conceived as a tool and environment for use
in the analysis and design of object-oriented software systems.
In this sense it is similar to many of the commercial CASE
tools that are sold as tools for modeling software systems.
ArgoUML has a number of very important distinctions from many
of these tools.
It is free.
ArgoUML draws on research in cognitive psychology to
provide novel features that increase productivity by
supporting the cognitive needs of object-oriented software
designers and architects.
ArgoUML supports open standards extensively - UML, XMI,
SVG, OCL and others.
ArgoUML is a 100% pure Java application. This allows
ArgoUML to run on all platforms for which a reliable port
of the Java platform is available.
ArgoUML is an open source project. The availability
of the source ensures that a new generation of software
designers and researchers now have a proven framework from
which they can drive the development and evolution of CASE
UML is the most prevalent OO modeling language and Java is
one of the most productive OO development platforms. Jason
Robbins and the rest of his research team at the University
of California, Irvine leveraged these benefits in creating
ArgoUML. The result is a solid development tool and
environment for OO systems design. Further, it provides a
test bed for the evolution of object oriented CASE tools
development and research.
A first release of ArgoUML was available in 1998 and more
than 100,000 downloads by mid-2001 show the impact that this
project has made, being popular in educational and commercial
Finding Out More About the ArgoUML Project
How ArgoUML is Developed
Jason Elliot Robbins founded the Argo Project and
provided early project leadership. While Jason remains active
in the project, he has handed off project leadership. The
project continues to move forward strongly. There are more
than 300 members on the developer mailing list (see
with a couple of dozen of those forming the core development
The developer mailing list is the place where all the
discussion on the latest tasks takes place, and developers
discuss the directions the project should take. Although
controversial at times, these discussions are always kept
nice and friendly (no flame-wars and such), so newbies
should not hesitate and participate in them. You'll
always get a warm welcome there.
If you want to learn how the project is run and how to
contribute to it, go the the
ArgoUML Web Site Developer Zone
and read through the documentation there. The
Developers' Cookbook was written specifically for
More on Infrastructure
Besides the developer mailing list, there's also a
mailing for users (see
The ArgoUML Mailing List
), where we can discuss problems from a user perspective.
Developers also read this list, so highly qualified help
will generally be provided.
Before posting to this list, you should take a look at
user FAQ maintained by Ewan R. Grantham.
More information on ArgoUML and other UML related
topics is also available on the
website, maintained by Linus Tolke.