+3  Q: 

Class designer

What software do you use when designing classes and their relationship, or just pen and paper?


Mostly pen and paper, although I occasionally break out Visio and just do some rough diagrams.

Would be nice to have a fancy tool I guess, but it would just be another thing to learn.

+5  A: 

I find pen and paper very useful, and I try to get as far away from a computer as possible. If I do it on the compy, I'm always too tempted to start programming the solution. That inevitably leads to me changing things later that I would have spotted in the planning phase had I actually spent a good measure of time on it.

Brian Warshaw
+1  A: 

Pen and paper for the first draft. Umlet to digitalize it. It's very minimal but it does what I need

Davide Vosti

When doing an initial design I like a whiteboard and 1 - 3 other developers to bounce ideas off of. That's usually enough to catch any glaring errors/fix any tricky situations that may arise without dropping the s/n ratio by too much.

Jason Sparks

I find pen and paper, a whiteboard and possibly some CRC cards to be very useful. Most of the time I think a whiteboard and some stickers or cards with the class and/or module names written on them work best when doing planning and designing as a group. Pen and paper is fine if you are doing the activity alone. Once you have the basic structure set you can always make a pretty UML diagram.

Anders Sandvig
+2  A: 

I usually start with a empty interface then start writing tests. I then generate the members using refactoring tools. For me unit testing is part of the design.

Chris Porter

I use pen and paper.

For all planning purposes, it's the fastest way. I get lost in layout and finetuning when I use a UML package.

But that is my burden.. :-)

Pascal Immerzeel
+1  A: 

Go for PENCIL and paper, or a whiteboard. Anything permenant-marking like a pen and you'll have a pretty messy design!

Steve M

Pen and Paper and/or Whiteboards for drafting, a more comprehensive tool for documentation purposes.

I mainly use Class Diagrams and a few sketches with Sequence Diagrams to get most of the relationships right.

About the tools: At work I use Enterprise Architect but personally I find Visual Paradigm for UML a better choice. The latter is much more flexible and allows quick drafting as well.

At VP they also have a version called Agilian for some time now (which I have not yet used) which seems to be even more flexible, allowing sketches to become documentation in no-time... maybe one day this tool will replace my paper sketches (save the trees :P).

+1  A: 

OmniGraffle (Visio-esque app for Mac OS X), sometimes. Otherwise, just pen and paper will do.

Sören Kuklau
+2  A: 

It's easy, while in the paper-and-pen (or whatever non-code equivalent you prefer) stage, to overstay, falling prey to the dreaded YAGNI syndrome. How many of us have carefully designed in some "sexy" feature that ended up never being used? (Raises hand. Hands.)

Small iterative test-driven steps and frequent refactoring - let the code tell you what it wants to be.

Most of my projects start out with the only certainty being that we won't end up where we currently think we will. So spending very much time on Big Up-Front Design (or Big Design Up Front if you prefer) is wasteful - better to start with the first thing we want to do and see where we end up.

It kind of depends on where you consider design to end. I read an article a few years back that presented the idea that coding is design - or for the Big Process fans at least it's the back-end of design. It rang true to me and changed forever the way I viewed the stages of the development process. Of course, I've just googled like crazy for the darn thing. Could I find it? Could I heck. Perhaps I dreamed the article and it's all my own idea. Yeah, that'll be it.

Mike Woodhouse
+1  A: 

Whiteboard for the first 35 or 40 drafts. UML is nice after that, but not particularly necessary. The best documentation after you've hashed out the details is clean code.

James A. Rosen