Comprehensive study on UML tools (2009)

H. Eichelberger, K. Schmid, Y. Eldogan: A comprehensive analysis of UML tools, their capabilities and their compliance (2009)


In this study, we analyze the capabilities of current UML modelling tools. In particular, we analyze the tools of well-known vendors which are important in industrial settings. The study provides an overview on the actual market of modelling tools and supports potential or users when making tool buying decisions. We revised this study due to changes in the tool market.

The revised version can be obtained from our website for free.


During the initial study from 2009 we identified 200 tools which provide UML modelling capabilities. Out of these 200 tools, 68 were analyzed thoroughly with regard to their implementation of UML. The remaining tools were not considered in detail due to technical reasons such as that the tool vendor does not exist anymore, we were not able to install the tool or no new version of the tool is provided since the introduction of UML 2. In summary, analysis details for 64 tools are contained, as the license terms of some vendors did not allow the publication of the evaluation results and we were not able to find an agreement with the vendor regarding a publication. The index of the study details the list of all contained analysis reports.


In the last decade, the Unified Modeling Language (UML) has become a de-facto standard as modeling language in software engineering. However, due to the complexity of the UML specification it is rather difficult for an individual tool to provide a faithful implementation of the entire breath of modelling elements defined by UML. Thus, tools differ significantly due to their individual support of the UML.

The decision for a software development organization regarding a specific modeling tool is important, in an extreme case for an entire company. Usually, such a decision leads to different kinds of costs such as training of the employees. Licensing costs are often only a small portion of the actual costs for such a tool. Thus, the decision for a modelling tool shall be done carefully. This study is probably the most comprehensive comparison of UML tools at the moment and, therefore, provides adequate support in making rational decisions on modeling tools.

The focus of this study is on the realization of modeling capabilities by individual tools, i.e. whether and how modeling elements of the UML have been implemented. As a basis for a detailed analysis of the modelling capabilities, we decomposed the UML specification into 476 features and inspected the tools for their individual support of these features. A detailed summary per tool links the identified capabilities to the requirements for individual diagram types as stated in the UML specification. This enables the reader to quickly check the appropriateness of a certain tool for a given application context. As a part of our analysis, we characterize each individual tool in terms of its UML compliance according to the classification schema of the OMG.

Core characteristics

  • Comprehensive assessment of 64 UML modelling tools
  • Detailed analysis of each tool according to 476 features derived from the UML specification
  • Categorization of the tools according to the so called UML compliance
  • Study report as A4 hardcover book including 179 colour pages and more than 80 figures, tables and screenshots


Additional information

The report of the study carried out in 2009 can be ordered as a package consisting of

  • The printed report
  • Online access to the detailed information on the individual features provided by all tools
  • Update of the data within one day after purchase
  • Price of reprints of the 2009 study can be inquired

There are also special prices for non-commercial organizations.



Dr. Holger Eichelberger 

Example sections

The documents below provide an insight into the study report


Further publications

  • H. Eichelberger, Y. Eldogan, K. Schmid, A Comprehensive Survey of UML Compliance in Current Modelling Tools, SE 2009, LNI 143, Kaiserslautern, 2009, p. 39-50
  • H. Eichelberger, Y. Eldogan, K. Schmid, How much UML is in my UML tool? An Overview, SEISCONF 2009

The revised version can be obtained from our website for free.


Prof. Dr. Klaus Schmid
Institut für Informatik
Software Systems Engineering
Universitätsplatz 1
31141 Hildesheim

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Institut für Informatik

Stiftung Universität Hildesheim
Institut für Informatik
Samelsonplatz 1
31141 Hildesheim

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