UML has become a hot topic recently, with developers realizing the benefit of modeling as opposed to other methodologies. And one tool designed to take advantage of this interest in UML is Borland Together for Microsoft Visual Studio.NET.
Borland Together comes in a number of different editions and Borland Together for Microsoft Visual Studio.NET is integrated into the Visual Studio.NET IDE and was created specifically for .NET developers.
When you first install Together, an additional link will be added to your Visual Studio.NET start page in the column on the left-hand side. This link provides access to the Together start page, as shown in Figure 1, which has links to tutorials and online help, as well as sample applications that demonstrate Together features. If you are new to UML, you may want to read through the "Introduction to UML" document, as it provides a good background to what UML is and how it can be used.
Figure 1: Together start page
You can start using Together by creating all of the models for your application and then coding from there, or you can use Together to reverse engineer an existing application, letting the application do all of the hard work for you.
Regardless of which method you choose, Together allows you to easily move between modeling and coding. For example, you can quickly switch between a use case and your application code without a minimum of fuss, as shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2: A typical use case created with Borland Together
While Together supports both VB.NET and C#, the majority of advanced features and functionality is available for C# only, including the ability to forward-engineer diagrams into C#. This feature can be used to tie diagrams and code together, so changes to objects, classes, and so on are changed in the diagram when they are changed in the underlying code. This is especially handy if you have a fluid development environment or if your code changes often.
The refactoring capabilities within Together can be used to make changes, additions or deletions within your model and code and there is a warning that kicks in if you attempt to delete an item that would result in compile errors--as with many other refactoring tools, you can view changes before they are made complete.
For auditing C# code, Together provides over 100 different types of audits that you can run against your code, including naming and performance audits, branching and loop audits, expressions and more.
And finally, for generating documentation, Together includes a documentation generator that can document the current namespaces and diagrams in use in your application, generating extensive HTML documentation that you can use as the basis for your own documentation or as a standalone document.