February 26, 2009

UML and struggles with Visio

I've started working on a new project and were trying to design everything properly from the ground up. I've got a rough high level system architecture in place, and now I'm trying to do more detailed design of the individual components of the system. I haven't used formal UML much in the past, so I'm trying to force myself to learn and use it for my class documentation. After some rough sketches on paper and whiteboards. I have tried using Visio to create the diagrams. This has not gone well. Visio seems to force a very strict form of UML, if there is some sort of informal notes, or attributes I want to add, it is almost impossible.

Also it seems that everything you add to the diagrams has to be done through the properties dialog boxes. Why can't I just get a box with three sections, and type what I want. That would seem to be so much easier. Maybe the other method formalizes the UML (and maybe it could be used for generating classes?) but it seems like way to much overhead.

I guess I need to look into other ways to do this with Visio, or even look at some other tools for UML. Maybe a good open source tool?

February 6, 2009

Enterprise level Report designer and generator

I'm looking for a reliable and full features report designer and generator (like Crystal Reports.) Open source or free would be nice, but I'm open to commercial applications as well. My short list of requirements are:
  • Works with MySQL
  • Charting/Graphing (Hopefully with something like excels PivotTable feature)
  • User authentication and authorization that ideally integrates with Active Directory
Crystal Reports is the only one that I have heard of, but I've also heard it has it's shortcomings. My searches haven't uncovered anything that really stands out, so I was wondering if anyone is aware of any good solutions.

February 4, 2009

Silverlight with ActiveMQ and NHibernate

I'm getting ready to start on a new application that I want to write using Silverlight. Current I use ActiveMQ as a messaging bus between applications and services. I would like to do the same for Silverlight, and avoid WCF, so that I only have one service architecture to maintain. I have not seen much on using thewe to technologies together. The best I have found is a few messages about compiling NMS against a beta version of the Silverlight runtime. Appears that things almost work, and may work now. Has any one seen anything newer or something actually working?

I also use NHibernate as an ORM solution. Same issue, trying to find people that have been able to sucessfully use these 2 technologies together. Once again, not a whole lot of reliable looking things. Some rumblings about LINQ, which seems to indicate that it would work. But nothing obvious.