UML to be ejected from Microsoft Visual Studio

The company is removing UML support in Visual Studio 15 due to a lack of usage

Microsoft is cutting Unified Modeling Language (UML), the legacy modeling platform for visualizing software models, from Visual Studio 15.

In explaining the decision, Microsoft's Jean-Marc Prieur, senior program manager for Visual Studio, said the UML designer tools were being used by very few customers -- a fact that was confirmed by consultation with sales and technical support teams. The company also was faced with investing significant engineering resources to react to changes happening in Visual Studio core for this release.

"Removing a feature is always a hard decision, but we want to ensure that our resources are invested in features that deliver the most customer value," Prieur said. Anyone who is still a significant user of UML can continue to use Visual Studio 2015 or earlier versions while deciding on alternative tools.

UML dates back to the 1990s and enables modeling of applications running on any type of hardware on any operating system and written in any language, but its usage has been in decline. The latest release, UML 2.5, was published in 2015.

Object Management Group, which manages UML, declined to comment on Microsoft's actions. In comments on Microsoft's bulletin about UML, one commenter suggested open-sourcing the UML designers, saying that "this model potentially would enable community to provide VS 15 support if that would be needed. I would prefer it to any 'partner' solution."

In the same bulletin, Prieur also said Microsoft continues to support visualizing .Net architecture and C++ code through code maps; Visual Studio 15 features improvements to Layer (dependency) validation for this purpose. The Layer designer, for specifying and validating dependencies in .Net code, is adding support for live architectural analysis with Preview 5. The dependency validation experience in the 15 release is intended to help developers respect the architectural constraints of an application as they edit code.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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