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Make the CASE

Use this free, open-source, pure Java UML CASE tool to improve your object-oriented designs.

Computer Aided Software Engineering (CASE) automates the software creation process from front to back. The Unified Modeling Language (UML) provides the interoperability that enables the benefits of CASE. ArgoUML is a UML CASE tool for analyzing and designing object-oriented software. Apart from being open source freeware, it has many unique aspects that set it apart from commercial tools, including its use of psychological research to design an environment that increases productivity by supporting programmers' cognitive requirements and its pure Java nature, which allows for widespread compatibility and access.

ArgoUML's installer lets you include the Java Runtime Environment, if your PC lacks it. Our Java is fresh and hot, so we skipped the JRE. We should own up to limited coding skills and even less familiarity with CASE, but anyone who's messed about with object-oriented design and GUI-based programming environments will be able to appreciate ArgoUML's exceptionally engineered, customizable interface and work environment. It's based on four resizable, collapsible panels and uses tabs, icons, tree views, and drop-down menus to organize work into broad categories linked together by wizards and controls for an efficient flow. The resizable panels, dot-delineated main field, and graphics-style toolkit are typical of design tools these days, but Argo UML has some unique touches, such as an interesting work prioritizing panel that lets you see what's on your menu at a glance and focus your efforts on your highest priorities. While there's a lot to learn with ArgoUML, its clear explanations and wizards make it accessible to a wide range of users. With the Help file's assistance, we created the most elemental of objects simply by following the logical steps from the Create file menu--though we certainly didn't bother to subject it to the Critique tool, which can apply powerful, customizable and extremely helpful feedback at several levels during your coding projects.

CASE tools let coders see the "big picture" in complex projects. ArgoUML offers that and so much more; incredibly, for free. If you can you use it, you should try it. You have nothing to lose but time-wasting processes.

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