Enterprise Architect version 13.5

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Petr Přibyl

Petr Přibyl

Monday, 29 August 2016 12:57

Generic element Auto counter

Motivation

An Enterprise Architect project contains hundreds or thousands of elements. Name of these elements alone are often not enough to uniquely identify them. It is important to mark every element with its own unique code.

Enterprise Architect provides the Auto Naming and Auto Counters feature which efficiently generates code elements. The element number is determined by its type, each element type has its own sequence of numbers.

 

Unfortunately, the numbering according to the types of elements is not always sufficient. We often need sequences derived from first level components. For example, we have other sequence for 'Accounting' component use cases (UC-ACC001, UC-ACC002, ...) and other sequence for the "Billing" component use cases (UC-INV001, ...).

Idea

We implemented an extension for generating element codes based on existing element names.

The basic idea is to use the first specified code as a mask for the others. User has to name first element, for example:

UC-ACC001: Create an account

If user creates another use case, he does not need to know the final number. He uses a placeholder

UC-ACC*: Modify an Account

 

Finally, user runs extension "CCA Numbering", which replaces the placeholder with a new number.

Such a solution is much more general. You can have multiple sequences within a single element type. You can have a number sequences across different types of elements. This can be applied for example in Activity diagrams, if you want a uniform numbering for Activities and Actions together.

Solution

 

Solution code is attached. The program looks for the next element number directly in the project repository. The query syntax corresponds repository stored in the EAP file.

Any comments are welcome.

 

Petr Přibyl

CCA Group a.s.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Monday, 06 June 2016 01:59

Excel Requirement bridge

Enterprise Architect provides many features for requirements management. It allows team to create and update requirements, trace their solution, maintain whole requirement life cycle.

We need sometimes work with requirements “outside” the Enterprise Architect. Especially when we discuss them with customers. We can of course generate documents from RTF templates as basis for meeting, which is suitable for most cases. At the level of project management, when it comes to project scope and overall state of requirements, is better to have requirement list in form of an Excel spreadsheet. Project manager can clear report requirement status to the customer and quickly change the list according to the results of the meeting. Next step is to save changed list back to Enterprise Architect.

We tried package CSV Import/Export utility but it was not suitable for us. CSV format is prone to data errors and we needed to split some data cells into more requirement properties.

 

So we decided to write our own bridge for requirement data interchange between Excel spreadsheet and Enterprise architect repository.

Solution

Our Excel requirements template has several columns. Mapping to requirement attributes is as follows:

Column

Requirement attribute

ID

Requirement code – first part of requirement name before “-“

Hierarchy

Package path to requirement in repository

Source

Tagged value “REQ: Source”

Description

Notes

Discovered

Tagged value “REQ: Date discovered”

Type

Type

Responsibility

Author

Priority

Priority

Status

Status

The bridge is implemented as Excel addin. It is written in Visual Basic and stored in Requirements.xlam file. When you add it to Excel, new tab CCA appears in ribbon. It has two commands “to Excel” for importing requirements from Enterprise architect repository to Excel spreadsheet and “to EA” for saving requirements from Excel back to EAP.

 

Importing requirements to Excel

Bridge is written for requirements template MyProjectREQ.xlsm. Copy it into new file and open this file. Press “to Excel”.

File open dialog appears, choose your project EAP file. Program then show “Enter prefix” dialog to filter imported attributes. Enter the prefix (for example “REQ”) or leave the value empty for all requirements. Program uses standard Enterprise Architect search “Requirements”.

Sheet is filled with requirements. Notice the cell D3 – it contains EAP filename. When you run command “to Excel” again, you will be not asked for EAP file name, the file in cell will be used. The same applies for saving cells back to Enterprise Architect.

Column “J” is hidden – it contains requirement GUIDs for subsequent updates.

 

Saving requirements to Enterprise Architect

After you made changes in requirement list in your spreadsheet, you can save them directly to project EAP file. Press “to EA”.

Program shows dialog with EAP package structure. Choose your requirements root package. New requirements (requirements without GIUD) will be inserted into this package.

 

Saving starts immediately after your select the package.

 

Data transformations

In our Excel template we use ID and Description for requirement code and description. In Enterprise architect we use Requirement name and notes. Enterprise architect has an alias attribute, which can store requirement code, but it is not useful, because we have to see this code in Project browser. So we have to transform

ID

Description

REQ113

Must be recoverable quickly.

In the event of software or hardware failure the system must be able to be recovered to full operating mode within the tolerances listed below. In the event of parts of the system failing the system must be able to be run in a safe mode.

to

Name

Notes

REQ113 - Must be recoverable quickly.

Must be recoverable quickly.

In the event of software or hardware failure the system must be able to be recovered to full operating mode within the tolerances listed below. In the event of parts of the system failing the system must be able to be run in a safe mode.

 

This is done using simple VBA functions. Code is delimited by “-“ character. Requirement name is derived from first sentence in description.

 

Conclusion

This article is mentioned as other example of extending Enterprise architect. It is a real life example, we use it in our company for many projects.

If it is suitable for you, use it! Any comments are welcome!

Petr Přibyl

CCA Group a.s.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.