Mentor Graphics Corp. (NASDAQ:MENT) today announced that its previously proprietary front-end UML editor has moved into the open source domain. Accessible for free download from xtUML.org, this editor was formerly part of the company’s powerful BridgePoint™ xtUML environment. Providing a free editor and releasing the editor code as an open source software project (which is occurring over the course of the next month) is designed to encourage the advancement of model-driven development within the system design community. “The xtUML editor is one of the best tools available for creating Executable UML models. It makes development work much easier than other UML tools in the market,” remarked Lee Riemenschneider, chief scientist at frogooa, a software development consultancy specializing in Executable UML. Models are often used in systems engineering for documenting or communicating design intent. A model-driven development flow goes one step further, leveraging the model from its first incarnation as a conceptual model, through its refinement as a detailed design representation, and finally to its automated implementation for the target platform. A fundamental principle of model-driven development is that an application should be developed and verified independent of its implementation target, for maximum productivity, implementation flexibility, and reuse. Creating platform-independent models allows the user to focus on solving the application problem without having to worry about the implementation details. Representing systems at a higher level of abstraction allows designs to be captured and verified quickly, concisely, and efficiently. The xtUML editor is a gateway to platform-independent modeling and the starting point for a model-driven development methodology. UML is a general-purpose modeling language, typically used to create abstract models of software-intensive systems. xtUML adds execution and translation capabilities, expanding the value of the UML language from a static picture drawing facility into a full-fledged solution for model-driven development.