New ModelMaker UML 2.0 Interaction Sequence Diagram Editor Features

ModelMaker Sequence Diagram Editor

Sequence diagram editor demo movie Movie demonstrating some key-features.

Sequence diagram editor demo movie Movie showing how to convert a debugger stack to a sequence diagram and the Horizontal Shift tool.

Sequence Diagram Editor features include:

  • Time Shift Tool
  • Auto Time Shift
  • Adjusting Top-Offset
  • Auto insert (nested) activations and call returns
  • UML 2.0 in-line interactions inside frames
  • UML 2.0 Gates versus UML 1.4 Actors and Boundaries
  • Creating new methods from inside the diagram editor
  • Linking existing methods to sequence messages

Time Shift Tool instead of Selection

In the Sequence diagram editor toolbar you'll find the Time Shift tool. Use the time shift tool whenever you need to move something up or down in an sequence diagram and at the same time move / stretch all elements below the moved element. The Time shift tool acts like a vertical splitter and moves everything below the activation point up or down, keeping message and activation order intact. No need to select anything, just activate the tool on the position where you'd like to insert or remove vertical space and drag the tool down (insert space) or up (remove space).

Auto Time Shift

Moving a message and bottom stretching an activation optionally invokes Auto Time Shift depending on the Alt-key status. The Alt-key mode is defined on the Environment Options | Diagram Editor tab: either Alt up or Alt down for Auto Time Shift (the alternative for the normal operation)

Move message up/down auto time shift: for auto time shift, the cursor changes to pointer "+t". By default Alt=up for Auto Time Shift, Alt=down to suppress Time Shift.

Tip: to move a created object, move the Object Creation message with Auto Time Shift enabled, not the created object itself.

Stretch activation auto time shift: (sizing the bottom of an activation, not top-stretch or move) Similar to Move message auto time shift, however this defaults to Alt=down for Auto Time Shift, Alt=up for normal sizing

Move Operand Separator auto time shift: default: no auto time shift, Alt down: time shift. Alt key state is not controlled with options.

Adjust Interaction Top-Offset

If Printing Preview mode is disabled an Interaction "top offset" ruler is visible as a blue dashed line. Non-created life-lines are auto aligned with this ruler. This ruler can be dragged up/down to adjust the top-offset. For UML 2.0 style in-line interactions inside frames you'll see a top offset ruler inside each frame containing life-lines (roles). Deleting all life-lines in a frame / diagram auto deletes the interaction top ruler.

Auto insert (nested) activations and call returns

Environment Options | Diagram Editor allows enabling/disabling:

  • Auto insertion of (nested) activations when creating procedural messages
  • Auto insertion of (nested) activations when creating asynchronous messages
  • Auto add call return messages for nested procedural messages.

Activations are only added for non-concurrent life lines. If an activation is added, Time Shift is used to insert extra space for the new activation.

UML 2.0 in-line interactions inside frames

UML 2.0 allows (multiple) inline interactions inside frames - especially for Interaction overview diagrams. To do this. first add a frame and add life-lines (roles) to this frame instead of to the main diagram area. Similar for drag-dropping a class on the diagram area or on a frame. Entire frames containing an interaction can be copy/pasted.

UML 2.0 Gates versus UML 1.4 Actors and Boundaries

UML 2 does not have boundary or actor life-lines (roles). Instead implicit gates at the enclosing frame or diagram are used to receive / send messages outside the scope of the interaction. When Print Preview mode is disabled these interaction Gates are visible as vague blue areas on the left and right of the containing diagram or frame. These area's are always active, but only visible in non-Print Preview mode.