Cool Tool Of The Week – Open Modelsphere: Open Source Data Modeling
From The Database Geek
I like playing with new tools and software so I thought I would start a new weekly series, Cool Tool of the Week. I will just cover a tool that I have used or discovered that I think is cool. I’m not necessarily endoring it, just giving it a little publicity so that others will know about it and can give it a try.
This week is the open source data modeling tool Open ModelSphere. This Open Source project is available for windows with a GPL license. It was originally known as SilverRun. I used this windows-based CASE tool when I was at Yale. It was developed by Laval University in Quebec. It’s grown in functionality since I last used it.
It features an easy install. Answer a few prompts and it installs like any other windows application.
The tool offers data modeling (ERD), business process modeling (BPM) and UML modeling. I have not played with the BPM or UML functionality.
For ERDs, you can choose between conceptual, logical and physical. You can also choose from various methodologies: UML, Crow’s Foot, Information Engineering and DataRun.
The tool supports all of the basic functionality that you need for a data modeling tool. It does forward and reverse engineering. It is not repository based so if you prefer to have a database that contains all of your models, this tool is not for you.
I found it to be a very capable tool. My biggest complaint is that it doesn’t support the same kind of definition dialogs that most tools do. In ModelSphere, pretty much everything is available as a right click menu. To add an attribute, you right click, select add, then attribute, enter the information, rinse, repeat. This could get painful for very large data models.
That’s a fairly minor nit. The forward and reverse engineering is available via JDBC and ODBC so pretty much any database can be supported. I found it to be pretty snappy, performance-wise, and is fairly intuitive. The product comes with extensive HTML help documentation.
If you are looking for a data modeling tool, especially if you also need BPM and/or UML, this may be the one. If you are looking a free and open source tool, this might be a perfect fit.
Check out Open ModelSphere.
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