Genmymodel – Cloud Based UML Tool For Developers [Interview]

GenMyModel is a young French start-up publishing the first real UML modeling tool in a web browser.( public beta launched in 2013). Concerning to the origin of the creation of this enterprise, there was a research conducted in a public laboratory (INRIA Northern Europe).The success of this work and the certainty that it can help software engineers prompted Alexis Muller to found the start-up in 2012. After 18 months, the company has about 4,000 users in more than 100 countries. It has been a very good beginning, however, the ambition is to go much further. Alexis tells us a little more about GenMyModel, which is about to wake up one market – for those UML tools – which was ultimately changed little in the last 10 years.

1) What are the different services provided by genmymodel? How does it help the developers and architects? 

GenMyModel is a UML modeling tool which meets the specifications of the OMG. GenMyModel can be used online and can already create and edit class diagrams, as well as use case diagrams. As it is a real modeling tool, GenMyModel has code generation  functions (Java, SQL). The code can be then pushed into GitHub.In the near future, the function called “reverse engineering” will be available. It’s about generating a model from the Java code.

Finally, the modeling tool is already widely collaborative because of its following features:
– share models by mail
– export image/(SVG, JPEG)
– export UML/(XML)
– export documentations in format PDF
The roadmap progressively provides support of all major UML diagrams, an API and advanced functions of public models for the community.

2) What makes cloud based genmymodel so unique as opposed to traditional UML tools?  

It is the first time that you can really design models in the browser, without any software installation. By simply registering online, any software engineer who has a web connection can start modeling in 5 seconds. So there is a significant gain at the start of the project: while the traditional tools/desktop on the market are very powerful in terms of technology, they are also discouraging especially when  more time is needed for the installation. This question is being closed, but it’s not the most important.

Today, most developers and architects expect more simple and collaborative tools. This is the real change and the main contribution of GenMyModel.

Traditional tools are powerful but they are very complex to use. They are very complete  because over time, more and more features have been added to cover 100% of the needs of the most demanding architects.This evolution has led to exclude most developers who have more basic needs and – in fact – eventually deviate not only the UML tools but also UML itself. The GenMyModel team did an amazing job to rethink “the modeling experience in web mode” and if we believe what the users say, it is rather successful.

The collaborative aspect is essential. The traditional tools have many users waiting for more opportunity to do teamwork, sharing simplified functions or even possibilities to archive and store models. But the cumbersome of devices and the price of solutions turn out to be a problem. The web mode changes everything from that point of view. Everything is in the cloud and collaborative functions can be used with just a mouse click. Finally, we can regard GenMyModel as “Google Drive” for models (that’s to say, GenMyModel can be compared to Google Drive for software architects): an online editor with all sharing functions and associated storage. On this point, the next important appointment for GenMyModel will be the opening of the “collaborative design in real-time” service for our beta testers before the  1st October! Many software engineers will be able to work simultaneously on the same model – a true technological challenge raised by the team is that the consequence will reput modeling at the center of IT development projects.

3) Which programming languages does genmymodel support? 

Our first goal is to help the Java developers’ community to which we belong. But certainly, we are approached by developers in other communities and we aim to move quickly forward them. On this point, we may not do everything as fast as we would like and for this, we are open to cooperation opportunities with other development teams that could allow us to accelerate.

4) Security and Privacy are the two main concerns for cloud based applications. How does genmymodel address these concerns? 

These concerns of security and confidentiality are essential and all guarantee is taken in order to ensure our users with the highest level of performance. This is precisely one of the great advantages of GenMyModel and its Beta phase. We have today, with nearly 4,000 users, all the means to test and experience our tool. Today, data is stored according to standard protocols and the service is very reliable. We consider the following success like GitHub, Codenvy, C9 … who were able to gain the trust of hundreds of thousands of users for the use of software in SaaS mode.

5) what are the cost benefits for an user using genmymodel as compared to traditional UML tools? 

For users, the service will remain free for the “open source” or “public”  project. In addition, we expect a “basic” offer  less than $ 10/month for individual developers. But the main strength doesn’t lie in the monetary offer of GenMyModel, it is linked to  the time saved by users, who can dismiss some recurring problems occurred with traditional tools. GenMyModel is made to be used without installation and deployment, on all technology platforms, with the best version available, without the need to update, without problems of version managing  and model archiving , the work of an improved team, a most simple and easy tool  to pick up…Those are all the benefits of an online modeling tool.

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