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Registered: Apr 2001
Location: New York
Posts: 492

WebSphere Studio / Rational XDE does it!

About 4 years ago we suggested that UML sequence diagrams could be auto-generated from trace files of running code. We just discovered that WebSphere Studio (WSAD) fully supports this feature. The feature is provided through an integration with Rational XDE.

The WSAD-XDE feature is called Visual Trace and the diagram produced is called a trace sequence diagram. The resulting diagram is very useful for visualizing the interaction of actual, communicating objects.

Briefly, here is how it works:

1) In a Settings dialog, select the classes to trace.
2) Begin the program and when ready to trace, select the Record Trace icon.
3) When finished tracing, unselect the Record Trace icon.
4) The tool then displays a sequence diagram called Visual Trace Results, showing messages between classes selected in the Settings dialog.

Rational has added even more value to this diagram by adding Timing, Code Coverage and Purify results to the sequence diagram. But the coolest integration is with the source code itself: right click on a message in the sequence diagram, select 'Source' in the popup menu and you will be taken directly to the source code for the method invoked by the message.

This feature is can be quite valuable as a documentation tool for understanding interactions in existing code.

One disappointment with this feature in WSAD is that you cannot simply save the sequence diagram as a GIF, WMF or SVG diagram for publishing. Instead, you must export the diagram to an XDE model for publishing - a very effective strategy to get you to buy the full-blown XDE product!

For an earlier description of a similar product, see the following forum thread.

Now, we can't help but wonder if our original description of this feature was at least a little bit influential in the design of Visual Trace...

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Old Post 03-10-2004 02:57 AM
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