The TextUML Toolkit needs you

Since I started working on the TextUML Toolkit more than a year ago, I have been asking myself whether it would make sense to make it available under an open source license.

Open sourcing a product is a tough decision. Once you take that road, there is no way back, at least not without risking a backlash from the community (of course, if you managed to build a community). And even though there are more and more examples of successful businesses built on top of open source offerings, they are still the exception. However, from day one, my plan for the Toolkit has always been to give it away for free. Going from “free-as-in-beer” to “free-as-in-speech” is not nearly as traumatic.

I resisted to the idea while I was working on releasing version 1.0, as I considered it as potentially distracting and of questionable value, as then I knew exactly what I wanted to ship and how to get it done. However, now that 1.0 is out of the way, it seems the right thing to do. The first release provided a good starting point, but the project certainly needs more hands on deck to get to the next level. It is also clear that an open source license means a lot when you are catering to a developer audience.

So, you heard it here first: the next release of the TextUML Toolkit will be licensed under the Eclipse Public License. The source code is already available on SourceForge, and user forums and issue tracking are now also hosted there.

Joining the Eclipse Modeling project (more specifically the MDT subproject) is an option for the future, depending on whether the project succeeds in attracting other contributors.

The TextUML Toolkit needs you

Using the tool, spreading the word, asking and answering questions on the forum, reporting problems and requesting features are all great ways of helping. Regarding new features, the project needs help on two main fronts: broader coverage of UML (state machines, activities), and better IDE features (such as content assist, templates, symbolic search and refactoring). If you like the textual notation approach, the tool, and feel like you could lend a hand, please do, the TextUML Toolkit needs you!

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9 thoughts on “The TextUML Toolkit needs you

  1. Nirav Thaker

    August 28, 2008 at 6:08am

    Glad to see you finally opening up the doors to your creative work, Good luck!

  2. Kenn Hussey

    August 28, 2008 at 11:43am

    Raphael, I think releasing this technology under EPL is a great idea, and I’m sure the Modeling folks (and the MDT team in particular) would welcome such a contribution. I’m glad you’ve started to gather a community around this before actually contributing it to Eclipse because, as I suggested in my blog entry this morning, it’s a shame when good intentions don’t pan out…

  3. rafael.chaves

    August 28, 2008 at 7:25pm


    That is interesting stuff, thanks for the links. You might know that already, but you can also get a taste of combining two notations by using the TextUML Toolkit (for textual editing) with EclipseGraphviz (for graphical visualization).


    Thanks a lot for the support, btw, I believe you were the first person ever to comment on this blog!


    I know where you coming from, and I totally agree with what you wrote. Let’s see how it goes.

    Thank you all for the support!


  4. Tom Morris

    September 10, 2008 at 12:31pm

    How did you pick SourceForge for your hosting? Did you consider any alternatives?

    ArgoEclipse is currently hosted at Tigris, but I’m casting about for alternatives (perhaps Google Code now that they allow EPL). I thought SF was at least as bad as Tigris (particularly hate their forums), but perhaps I’m missing something…

  5. rafael.chaves

    September 10, 2008 at 6:34pm

    Tom, the final goal is at some point to submit a proposal to, so the hosting choice was not really that important. SourceForge forums and issue tracking are lacking indeed, but it is still the most popular service (in terms of users and projects). I figured that would help with adoption.

    Google Code started allowing EPL three days after I provisioned the project on… otherwise, I might have chosen their service instead.

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    October 21, 2008 at 2:45pm

    [...] I just discovered TextUML, an Eclipse extension that enables you to define UML models textually. It started out as a free but closed source project and was open sourced eventually. [...]

  7. [...] of starting to gather some sort of community and hopefully contributors, I decided to release version 1.1 as EPL. In the first couple of weeks after that, I noticed a significant spike in interest (page hits, [...]

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