Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Automatic Sequence Diagram with jTracert

In my early days of programming apart from the usual source people used to expect nice set of system diagrams specially with UML notations. UML, i always used to think, made for a computer scientist and not for a programmer like me. Fuzzy looking notations always turned down my programming exitements.

But soon i realized that documentation plays an important role in a software system. After spending couple of years in the industry i realized the importance of standard software practices. Documentation was my first assignment. By the time i start working on this seriously, i realized that the system is having hundrads of classes having thousands of methods. As the team follows the practice to document each part of the code with code-level comments the task was not that difficult. There are many tool available in the market which can generate diagrams like class, collaboration, dependencies chart, etc.

jTracert is a lightweight, powerful tool to generate sequence diagrams from the running code without thouching any part of the code. It provides online drawing as well as offline drawing. The tool runs as a java agent with the application. jTracert generates diagram script compatible with a Sequence Diagram editor (available in

jTracert supports various output file formats like local file system, real time sd server, web file system, etc. It is open source so code modifications can be made to satisfy custom requirements.