My favourite UML tool is on Windows. It's called Cadrifa UML Editor, which is a simple class diagram drawing tool. Simplicity is what the key advantage that make it lovable. Some UML drawing tools are still living in old world where they are tied with code generation, which often unnecessarily complicates the model (e.g. Type has to be defined, public/private matters). I just want a tool that quickly draft class relationship without a need to drill down detail. Cadrifa works for me so far.

Unfortunately, lately I have to work on Linux and Mac systems. It's hard to believe that a simple UML tool can't easily be found on those systems. Here is a list of my attempts to find a decent one online.

(Updated on 2 Aug 2016)

  • Lucidchart - Visio-like diagram editor.
    • Pros: Like Visio, it has a lot of drawing template which can be combined in a page.
    • Cons: It is not simple to use. Put a class diagram and it shows attributes and operations by default. They don't seem to understand that how devs use the UML.
    • Cheapest Price: $4.95/month/year or $5.60 / month
  • GenMyModel - has a simple interface for composing UML class diagram. This one I like. The only downside is it ties with code generation concept (here, for Java) so you have to state data type for every attribute and method...
    • Pros: Simple drawing tool with slick UI.
    • Cons: Code generation oriented. Project based drawing. Cheapest price excludes private project!!!
    • Cheapest Price: $4/month/year or $4.95 / month. In future It'll be $5/month. With 2 private projects, it takes $9/month!
  • Creately - This is similar to LucidChart but less feature!
    • Cons: Less drawing template for it separates drawing types. The editor is written in Adobe Flash.
    • Cheapest Price: $49/year or $5/month.
  • Gliffy - Another Visio like drawing tool..
    • Pros: It's template based like Visio and Lucid. But it's clever to provide an empty class shape so that you can quickly model diagram.
    • Cons: As always, Visio concept doesn't work with modelling. You can't upgrade an empty class shape to a Attribute-contained class shape without deleting them first.
    • Cheapest Price: $7.99/month (or $3.99/month but can do nothing!)
  • yUML
    • Pros: It's free!?
    • Cons: Drawing by typing... It'd get complicated exponentially with number of classes. No drawing code storage. The page is somewhat outdated.
    • Price: Free
  • UMLet and UMLetino
    • Pros: Simple drawing by double-clicking and edit shape description.
    • Cons: Arrow connection is not clever and it only has straight line.
    • Price: Free
  • Cacoo
    • Pros: Free(?) tool with shape marketplace.
    • Cons: Visio-like... so Hard to connect shapes and remove attributes and operations.
    • Price: Free(?)

For now I think GenMyModel is the most interesting. Have to try it for awhile.