A Visio Tip


Introduction

I’ve been drawing a few UML Sequence diagrams with Visio (at work). This is the first time I’ve tried to draw such a diagram with Visio. Today, I struck a foible of Visio working with this diagram type. Also, I think I’ve found the “right” way of getting Visio to draw this diagram type, which I’ll share in the following.

The problem

image

When I started working with this diagram type I ended up with Lifelines which needed to be extended after an Activation Block. The problem was that the “extra Lifeline” object would not join on the center of the Activation Block. The graphic to the left shows what I ended up with. This was not a satisfactory solution. My sense of aesthetics was offended by the outcome.

 

The Answer

image

image

 Just extend the Lifeline to the full length of the diagram and then drop the Activation segment on the Lifeline. The left shows the before, the right shows the after. I could not be simpler, but it had me going for a while trying to the get the “extra Lifeline Object” to work for me.

I’m starting to wonder what the purpose of the extra segment object is really for. Extending the Lifeline to the full length works so well, why would you need an extra bit. If nothing else it’s confusing to have one. But, there are probably versions of the UML Sequence diagram, which utilises the extra segment. I’ve yet to see an example of one yet, but they could be our there.

 

I hope this reduces the WTF count in the universe. See TheDailyWTF for example of WTF’s.

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