Sparx Enterprise Architect is well known for modelling languages like UML, BPMN and ArchiMate. However creating data models in Sparx Enterprise Architect is also well supported. For example with the database engineering models, the database builder and the possibility to import database structures, XSD models etc.
This in combination with the possibility to create Conceptual Data Models in the ArchiMate notation, UML class diagrams for the Logical Data Model makes Enterprise Architect a tool well suited for data modellers and – architects.
See for example a simple three layer data model in the image below:
One of the important aspects of creating data models is the possibility to create associations between columns in tables and eventually between properties in the conceptual model and columns or XSDElements in physical models. Although this is possible in Enterprise Architect it needs a lot of actions to create each data mapping. In version 15 there is a new feature matrix but for advance data modelling a specialized form is necessary.
Within the Dutch IDEA community (see http://idea.eaxpertise.nl ) an open source addon is developed in which this specialized form is introduced. Based on the experiences from a number of Dutch organisations we can support now advanced data mapping routines in EA based on diagram with tables or classes that can both act as source and as target.
In the screen below you get an idea of the data mapping form
Based on the elements on your diagram the mapping form is loaded. From this you can take the following steps:
- Assign the entities and attributes for both source and target entities, when you activate this the grid is filled with either source attributes or target attributes
- When there are already mappings you can push a button (Load Mappings) so the already present mappings are disabled in the grid
- A possibility to make the source attributes or the target attributes in the grid leading (the leading side is prefilled in)
- A very handy functionality is the match name button that makes it possible to define a mapping when the attributes have the same name.
Based on these functionalities it is possible to create mappings between data entities fast and in an user friendly manner without leaving the Sparx Enterprise Architect application.
One extra feature for data mappings is the possibility to create merger entities. In the screenshow below you get an idea of what this means
Between source and target entities sometimes an extra element is needed, for example to merge or split attributes between source and target entities. This can be done fully by the mapper screen, by defining a merger in the grid. When the target attribute in the grid has the same name it is a merger, when the source attribute has the same name it is a splitter.
This screen and much more functionalities especially for data (architecture) modelling is part of the IDEA addon. The AddOn is available as open source and can be downloaded from the IDEA website. For a webvideo on the form please visit https://youtu.be/xpiSGimO7vo. Extra information and the possibility to download a setup file from this link: http://eaxpertise.nl/cmsform.aspx?webpage=TEA. There is also more information available about participating in the IDEA community and help us to add new data modelling functionalities to Sparx Enterprise Architect.