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Using PlantUML and Structurizr Together

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Using PlantUML and Structurizr Together

Creating a PlantUML exporter for Structurizr allows you to create a model of your software system and have the PlantUML diagrams be consistent with that model.

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Despite the seemingly high unpopularity of UML these days, it continues to surprise me just how many software teams tell me that they use PlantUML. If you've not seen it, PlantUML is basically a tool that allows you to create UML diagrams using text. While the use of text is very developer-friendly, PlantUML isn't a modeling tool. By this, I mean you're not creating a single consistent model of a software system and creating different UML diagrams (views) based on that model. Instead, you're simply creating a single UML diagram at a time, which means that you need to take responsibility for the consistent naming of elements across diagrams.

Some teams that I've worked with have solved this problem by writing small applications that generate the PlantUML diagram definitions based upon a model of their software systems, but these tend to be bespoke solutions that are never shared outside of the team that created them. Something I've done recently is creating a PlantUML exporter for Structurizr. Using PlantUML in conjunction with the Structurizr open-source library allows you to create a model of your software system and have the resulting PlantUML diagrams be consistent with that model. If you use the Structurizr's component finder, which uses reflection to identify components in your codebase, you can create component level UML diagrams automatically.

A PlantUML component diagram

Even if you're not interested in using my Structurizr software as a service, I would encourage you to at least use the open-source library for creating a model of your software system and extract components from your code where possible. Once you have a model, you can visualize that model in a number of different ways.

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Topics:
plantuml ,structurizr ,integration

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