Yesterday I received an invitation to support an effort to set UML free. You can read all about it on webuml.org. Currently the site is a wall of text (tip for the authors: less is more … and there is nothing wrong with a picture or two ;)) but if you have some spare time I encourage you to read through it.
The basic idea is to provide for online collaboration while modeling with UML. You can’t really do that today. The best you can achieve is to email some images of UML diagrams around or hope for the best with XMI. webUML aims to create an online collaboration environment using modern web technologies. They already have a powerful UML drawing canvas ready, including an integration with MediaWiki.
I see a future for this effort, if of course they can achieve minimal functionality (which I think they almost have if not already) and critical mass (that’s why they are promoting it right now).
There is however one thing that caught my attention: a promise for a plugin for Enterprise Architect from Sparx Systems so it can access a webUML central repository. If that plugin ever becomes reality and that central repository is HTTP accessible (sounds like a good REST challenge) they will have made me a happy architect. Integration with business tools and the business environment will be, in my humble opinion, key for mass adoption.
I would be really happy if there would be support for BPMN and creation of custom viewpoints and models (meta modeling).
But one should not ask too much and be happy with what we get. So please support the webUML effort, help if you can and spread the word.
While reading up on webUML I also came across this little gem: The Model Factory. A wiki on design patterns from the point of view of modelers. Implemented of course with webUML technology. Bookmark added.