Lambda the Ultimate

inactiveTopic Why CASE Tools Aren't Useful
started 1/18/2002; 3:41:37 AM - last post 1/19/2002; 11:23:46 AM
Dejan Jelovic - Why CASE Tools Aren't Useful  blueArrow
1/18/2002; 3:41:37 AM (reads: 1801, responses: 8)
Why CASE Tools Aren't Useful

This article puts forth a very convincing argument why CASE tools arent' useful, except as overpriced diagramming tools.

The crux of the argument: a design diagram is simplified view of the system. Code adds information to it. There is no automatic way to keep the two in sync.

Posted to Software-Eng by Dejan Jelovic on 1/18/02; 3:47:03 AM

John Fraser - Re: Why CASE Tools Aren't Useful  blueArrow
1/18/2002; 8:32:48 AM (reads: 987, responses: 0)
The most useful case tool that I have seen was contained in ISE Eiffel 5.x. It was has integrated BON (Business Object Notation) tool that keeps up, real time, with the changes you made to your source code and visa versa. You just switch to the view that makes the most sense to your current needs.

It was the most usefull modelling tool that I have used to date. I really missed it when I had to go to other development environments. Modern IDE developers could learn a lesson or two from ISE.

ArgoUML is trying to do the same thing for Java and UML but its not there yet.

ISE Eiffel is located at



Ehud Lamm - Re: Why CASE Tools Aren't Useful  blueArrow
1/18/2002; 10:15:21 AM (reads: 977, responses: 0)
I agree that round-trip functionality is important. But it seems most tools have it these days.


Good programmers using languages with decent support for abstraction, don't need CASE tools.

It is all a question of building good abstractions, with good interfaces.


rev - Re: Why CASE Tools Aren't Useful  blueArrow
1/19/2002; 1:19:32 AM (reads: 951, responses: 3)
I can't claim to have terribly much experience with UML tools and such, but while interning a couple summers ago, I played around with Rational Rose a little bit. We were a group using VisualAge for Smalltalk. I recall RR having the ability to keep in sync with the image without any difficulty. In VA/St, you have groups of classes organized into "Applications," and I believe RR would deal with Applications as projects, and even generate for you UML diagrams completely from your existing source. I think the RR could even do a little refactoring. I never was impressed by UML terribly much, but what RR looked like it could do seemed to be above and beyond the usual. Someone correct me if I am wrong though!

Ehud Lamm - Re: Why CASE Tools Aren't Useful  blueArrow
1/19/2002; 2:07:22 AM (reads: 1021, responses: 0)
I think Rose is supposed to be the market leader.

Bryn Keller - Re: Why CASE Tools Aren't Useful  blueArrow
1/19/2002; 10:30:36 AM (reads: 984, responses: 1)
For Java, Rose doesn't hold a candle to Together Control Center, IMHO. I've always found Rose a real burden to use, but TCC is one of the few tools I've actually enjoyed using.

Ehud Lamm - Re: Why CASE Tools Aren't Useful  blueArrow
1/19/2002; 10:49:10 AM (reads: 1034, responses: 0)
I see thay have a different tool for single developers. I think this is an important point. Teams may benefit from CASE tools that help share information, and (more importantly) do configuration management (aka source control). What I don't really like is tools that are supposed to help you as a single developer understand what you are doing. Developers need IDEs, not CASE tools.

rev - Re: Why CASE Tools Aren't Useful  blueArrow
1/19/2002; 11:23:46 AM (reads: 947, responses: 0)
I agree. At this same group where we were using Smalltalk, UML diagrams really were a help- a team would design some new subsystem, pass it on to the implementors. Since they'd have a full spec and good idea of what they should be coding, the entire thing went pretty smoothly. For a team of 20 people including architechts, Smalltalkers, and testers it worked out very well. Granted, that isn't a large team, but it was a huge application.