I have been using Rational Rose for quite some time on J2EE projects and Rational Rose is a great tool to create your use cases, class diagrams and sequence diagrams. The detailed design of the system is available to you in a clear concise manner in the form of these diagrams. If someone does not have the tool installed to view the mdl file, Rational Rose allows you to publish your diagrams and view them in a browser.
However its quite funny when in real life scenarios where the project deadlines are crushing, harried project leads and harassed teams, often make changes to the design due to change in requirement or addition of functionality. These changes do not get reflected in the component diagrams. The diagrams remain in the repository gathering dust. Later if the client does require the component diagrams to be delivered, the teams then scramble and use Rational Rose to reverse engineer class diagrams and what not and get them in sync with your code deliverables. So at the end of the day u have a proper class diagram however I wonder how many teams keep diagrams in sync throughout development.
The newer Java IDEs and tools from Rational and other vendors fortunately do have the capability of automatically keeping Java code and UML diagrams in sync, which I think is a very useful feature and should have been introduced a long time ago.
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