Perform UML Modeling in NetBeans

The Unified Modeling Language (UML) allows software developers to visualize their software design ideas and provide a clear and effective way to represent user goals, program flows, system architecture, etc. There are many UML tools you can find in the market but not many of them support the transition and synchronization between your software design and programming source code. Moreover, some of them don't even support the generation of code from diagrams. As a result, considerable effort is required to type the code manually base on the diagrams created. For the sake of saving time and cost, it is essential to adopt a UML plugin that works seamlessly with your favorite IDE, thus enable you to run through the entire software development cycle within a unified software development platform. If you are looking for such a UML plugin for your favorite IDE, Visual Paradigm is your choice.

October 27, 2014
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Visual Paradigm is an all-round UML modeling software that enables software development teams to not only create UML diagrams, but also to generate code and UML models, generate Hibernate code, perform database modeling with database diagram, generate database, etc. Visual Paradigm comes with great IDE-integration capability, allowing you to run the UML environment seamlessly with your IDE. NetBeans is one of the IDE supported. The seamless integration with NetBeans allows software developers to perform UML modeling right in NetBeans. They can create class diagram or other UML diagrams effortlessly within Visual Paradigm by clicking the code generation button and the source code will then be created instantly. That's how Visual Paradigm works inside NetBeans and that's how you can maximize the quality of source code, thus only minimum effort and time are required for a quality software system. In this article, we will go through some of the key steps you need to get yourself and NetBeans readied for such a great UML modeling environment.

Preparation

In order to follow and complete this tutorial, you must have the Standard Edition or above of Visual Paradigm installed. They can be downloaded from Visual Paradigm download page. Of course, you need the NetBeans IDE as well. We suppose you have already installed it but if you haven't, please download it from the NetBeans official site get it installed.

Note: We only support NetBeans 6.7 or upper versions. If you are using an earlier version, please consider upgrading your NetBeans.

Visual Paradigm Standard Edition targets software teams who want to develop software with professional design, reporting, code and database engineering supports. It supports all sorts of UML modeling features, plus SysML modeling, Business Process Modeling with OMG's Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN), ERD (for database design), code generation, reverse engineering, database generation/reversal, Hibernate, report composer and report generation.

Integrate Visual Paradigm with NetBeans

Here we go. We need to install the integration from Visual Paradigm. So, turn off your NetBeans and start Visual Paradigm. Perform the steps below.

  1. In Visual Paradigm, select Tools > IDE Integration... from the main menu.
    1 launch integration
  2. In the Visual Paradigm IDE Integration window, check NetBeans Integration. Click Next.
    2 select netbeans integration
  3. Specify the path of your NetBeans installation and click Next.
    3 specify netbeans location
    This begins file copying. When finish, close Visual Paradigm and move on to the next section to see how to create a Java application in NetBeans along with UML model.

Creating a UML Model for your Java project

In this section, we are going to create a UML model from a Java project in NetBeans. In order not to mess up with your production work, we will create a new Java project for this tutorial.

  1. Start the NetBeans IDE.
  2. Press the New Project button at the toolbar to open the New Project window.
    1 new netbeans project
  3. In the New Project window, select Java category and choose Java Class Library as the project type. Click Next.
    2 new java project
  4. Enter Online Shop in the Project Name field. Leave other settings as default and click Finish to create the project.
    3 name the project
  5. Now, you have an empty Java project. Let's create a UML model from it. To create a UML model: Right click on the project root node in the Projects pane and select Open Visual Paradigm SE from the popup menu.
    4 open vp
  6. When you are prompted to enter the path of project file, keep Create in default path selected and click OK. This will create the file in the Java project folder.
    5 default path

UML modeling in NetBeans

Let's draw a simple class diagram. We will generate Java code from it in the next section.

  1. Open the Diagram Navigator of Visual Paradigm.
    10 finished class
  2. Expand the UML Diagrams node.
    1 diagram navigator
  3. Right click on the Class Diagram node and select New Class Diagram from the popup menu. This creates an empty class diagram.
    2 expand uml tree
  4. The diagram will automatically grab focus on its package header (top left of diagram). This allows you to specify the parent package for your diagram. If the package you specified does not exist in your project, it will be created for you automatically. Once you have specified the package, the class diagram along with the classes to be created in the diagram will automatically be put in the package. Enter onlineshop as package name.
    3 new class diagram
  5. Now, the focus will be shift to the diagram name field. Enter Online Shop as the name of the diagram.
    4 name package
  6. Next, we are going to create a class. Click the Class button in diagram toolbar and move your mouse to the desired position on your diagram.
    5 name diagram
  7. Click the mouse button to create the class. Enter Product as name and press Enter to confirm.
    6 create class
  8. A product has three attributes: name, partNo and price. Let's add them. Right click on the Product class and select Add > Attribute with Getter and Setter from the popup menu.
    7 class created
  9. Enter name : String to create the name attribute in String type. Then, press Enter to confirm. Right after your confirmation, the getter and setter operations for the name attribute will automatically be inserted to the class.
    8 create attributes
  10. Similarly, enter partNo : String to create the partNo attribute in String type and enter price : float to create the price attribute in float type.
    9 editing attribute
  11. Then, press Enter to confirm it and press Esc to cancel the next attribute.

Generate Java code from class diagram

Let's generate Java source code from the UML class. There are several ways to achieve this. Here, let's try the one that generate code for the entire UML model. Click on the Update Code button at the top of Diagram Navigator.


1 generate code

In the Projects pane, expand the project node and check Source Packages. The package onlineshop and Product class are there. Open Product.java, you can see the Product class filled with attributes and its getter and setter.


2 code generated

Generate and update UML classes from Java code

You've learned how to create UML diagrams in NetBeans. If you want to know how to produce UML class model from your Java source code which is essential to keep the design conformed to your source code, you need to perform the steps below.

  1. Let's create a class in NetBeans. Right click on the package onlineshop and select New > Java Class... from the popup menu.
    1 new source
  2. In the New Java Class window, enter Vendor as class name and click Finish.
    2 new source file
  3. Add 2 attributes to the Vendor class, a name in String type and a collection of Product.
    3 implement new source
  4. Next, we try to update the Product class which is just generated in the previous step. Let's try to add a constructor to it. Right click on the source file of Product class and select Insert Code > Constructor...
    4 insert code
  5. Select all three attributes and press Generate button to generate the constructor.
    5 select attributes
  6. Now, go to the Diagram Navigator. Click on the Update UML Model Element button to have your changes reflected on the UML model.
    6 update model
  7. Open the class diagram. The constructor method is presented in the Product class.
    7 generated constructor
  8. Switch to Model Explorer pane, you can find the vendor class inside the onlineshop package.
    8 model explorer
  9. Drag out the Vendor class and drop it to class diagram, the Vendor class will be visualized with association with Product class.
    9 show new class

Something more - Generate Sequence Diagram from Java code

The class diagram helps you to understand the static data structure of your system. However, what about its dynamic behavior? Sequence diagram is one of the popular diagrams in UML used to model the dynamic behavior of a system. You can reverse engineer Java source code into sequence diagram inside the NetBeans integration environment. To do this:

  1. Select Modeling > Instant Reverse Java to Sequence Diagram...
    1 reverse sequence diagram
  2. Click the Add Source Folder button in the Instant Reverse Java to Sequence Diagram dialog.
    2 add src folder
  3. Specify the source folder of the Java project in the Select Directories dialog. Click OK and then press Next.
    3 select src folder
  4. Now, expand the tree in the Select Operation step and choose the operation you would like to reverse to sequence diagram. Click Next to proceed.
    4 select operation
  5. Select Create New Sequence Diagram in the Choose Diagram step and leave the diagram name as default. Press Finish.
    5 choose diagram
  6. Now the sequence diagram of your selected operation is being generated.
    6 sd generated

What this tutorial on YouTube

Related Links

  1. Visual Paradigm User's Guide - NetBeans Integration
  2. Tutorials on Visual Paradigm IDE Integration

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Comments (4)

written by James Parsons on April 11, 2013

In step 2, when I right-click on my project I don't see "Open VP-UML" or any other Visual Paradigm options. I am using Community Edition 10.1.

written by James Parsons on April 11, 2013

Disregard my previous comment. NetBeans was taking its time downloading and installing the necessary plugins.

written by Petr Vogl on April 2, 2015

In stem 1 (In Visual Paradigm, select Tools > IDE Integration... from the main menu) I can not see "IDE Integration" item. I am using version 12.0 (Build 20150402) with 30 days trial license (Profesional edition - evaluation copy). How could I integrate with NetBeans 8.0.2?

written by Armando Moreira on April 20, 2015

Petr Vogl try on Windows tab (Windows->Integration->IDE Integration...)

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