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Several years ago, it took me a while to understand the usage of MS-Visio for building models. This is due to my "modeling tool" history: I just didn't get that Visio is not a modeling tool. I am not advocating against Visio, nor am I saying that it is a bad tool: it is just a matter of purpose and target of tools.

And then, I realized the confusion for many users: many confuse drawing tools and modeling tools. A modeling tool is roughly a database and a set of graphical editors that access to the database. The drawback that a Visio or PowerPoint user will immediately perceive, is that it is not "file" based, and that a set of models are not organized into several files, just like a set of pictures or documents. Most people accustomed to "Office" like applications are not used to that.


However, the advantages come fast, with a little practice: Simply try to reuse the same model element in different diagrams (for example a same class that appears in several diagrams). Copy/past is efficient, but a bit boring if you do that between different contexts (files). Now you need to update this shared model element. Shared? Not exactly : copied. You will need to remember of each place (diagram) where it appears, and to update in these places. Now you feel the pain of modeling with a drawing tool. Let's just imagine that you share and reuse thousands of model elements! I don't.

And let's recall that the model is stored in a database, which is accessible through an API (Java or Jython for Modelio). Now we can imagine all sorts of exploitations of the model : generations, transformations, consistency checks...

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