I'm not one for exhibit halls; even the "swag" is sometimes not worth having to talk to the sales people. At TechEd, I did happen upon the Sparx Systems booth and after a brief exchange with the Australian guy who was manning the booth and who was definitely a developer (takes one to know one), I became interested in their Enterprise Architect software.

UML modelling for $200? Most of the tools I know of are the Rational "don't even bother if you're not a large government" scale. It supports code generation for many languages: Java, Python, PHP, Delphi, as well as the Microsoft staples, C++, C#, and VB.NET. Wow, now I'm really interested. More? It generates Xml Schema as well.

It's all really interesting since certain people (who I'll avoid mentioning on the blog since it will sound redundant) have me really interested in Model Driven Architecture and the idea of modelling and coming up with contracts and then generating code.

I am using the trial version now (arg! I installed it a few weeks ago but only started using it seriously over the weekend which gives me 10 more days left to work with it) and find myself really comfortable with the interface and functionality. I used the documentation to see how enumerations worked and that was a snap. I generated C# code which worked quite well.

The last thing I did was to post on Joel on Software to see if anyone had had any bad experiences and it seemed like everyone said nice things.

Now I am working up the courage to ask the boss to buy it. I can anticipate two questions:
1. Why not Visio?
me: not as light weight, code generation is a bit clunky, adding new types doesn't work as well, not as many diagrams supported, no XML Schema generation support that I know of...

2. Why not Class Diagrams in Visual Studio 2005?
me: Even more light weight than Visio.

Update: I am now a licensee of Enterprise Architect. Life is good!