Rational Software created Rose to aid project development and design using the UML standard. To that end, Rational is highly successful. (Before I begin, UML is nothing like HTML, XML, or SML: Please read elluzion's excellent writeup on UML to clear up any misconceptions you may have.) However, they fail on several points:

  • Incomprehensible GUI for first time users
  • Massive screen real estate hogging (I run at 1024x768, and often found it difficult to create and edit even relatively small diagrams in the editor's window.)
  • Horrible licensing issues (After first installing Rose, I learned that our school's server supporting giving out electronic licences was down, and would be down, for a few days; as we needed to obtain a new license each time we opened the software, this caused me no end of grief.)
  • Propensity to crash

The initial sessions I had with Rose were extremely frustrating. However, once I got past the learning curve, it was easy to understand some of the benefits of Rose. UML is best designed in a GUI environment, and even though this specific one was poorly laid out, the resultant diagrams were easier to create and much more legible than when done by hand. It was also very simple to quickly draft a diagram, and equally simple to modify it once more product specifications were known. Also, it had the ability to output skeleton code for projects in Java, etc.

As an alternative to Rose, Microsoft offers Visio, which has the capability of designing UML and countless other diagrams; however, my classmates often complained that Microsoft's implementation of UML was, at times, a bit incomplete.

Please don't see this as a negative rant against Rational Software in general; they produce an extremely useful piece of software entitled Purify (which is incidentally completely unrelated to UML).

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