IE is a hot topic on Robert Scoble’s blog these days. Lots of good comments there about overdue features and bug fixes.
On a slightly related note, if you have comments or questions about the IE changes that have made it into the XP SP2 beta, be sure to post your feedback on the beta newsgroups or file a bug!
The utility of the day is Enterprise Architect (http://www.sparxsystems.com.au/), a UML design tool at a great price (~$150) that pretty much blows away all of the competition. After hunting around a few months ago I found that every UML tool either sucked, was too expensive, or, usually, both. EA somehow snuck under my radar for a while, but once I found it I was surprised that it was not only best-of-breed (sorry Raymond), second only to Rational Rose (maybe), but it’s also one of the least expensive packages.
A lot of people seem to hate UML and CASE tools, favoring freestyle whiteboard drawings, .h files, chicken scratches on paper, and telepathy, but for me it’s like the difference between composing an essay using a word processor vs. writing it out longhand. I’m a very non-linear thinker and whiteboards don’t let me add ten functions to the skinny box I drew earlier or pick up and move boxes (automatically rerouting lines) when I run out of space or want a different view of the system.
It’s also pretty good for reverse-engineering existing code to get a bird’s eye view of the system. I used EA to reverse-engineer Avalon back during a period of poor documentation, and it worked pretty well. As with any tool it misses some of the relationships, but overall it did a good job.
Ugh, that feels like an advertisement. My goal is to add a useful (tip | tool | web site) of the day to each blog post, because why else are you going to read this? 😉 I’ll have to be more careful about not making it sound like an ad…