Enterprise Architect version 15.2



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Guillaume Finance

VISEO (Sparx EA Expert, OMG OCSMP Model User certified)
Modelling consultant and expert on Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect modelling tool and solution, I'm helping clients with the model-based approach using standards for a number of contexts including:
- Software analysis, design and architecture with UML.
- Systems Engineering and MBSE with SysML.
- Enterprise Architecture, IT landscape with UML or ArchiMate.
- Business processes with BPMN.
My other activities include:
- Defining and maintaining the model repository including requirements, analysis and design for software projects.
- Remote support and expertise on Sparx Enterprise Architect modelling.
- Running training sessions on UML or SysML with Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect.
- Installation and configuration of Prolaborate web solution for Sparx EA.
I publish articles and news about modelling languages and Enterprise Architect on my blog www.umlchannel.com, maintain eaUtils free addin: www.eautils.com, and I participate in the European EA User Group events www.eausergroup.com
Contact details: guillaume[at]umlchannel.com

Prolaborate Data Model Modelling Language profile

Data Models generated by reverse engineering an existing Database in Enterprise Architect can be shared dynamically with Prolaborate web solution. This can be useful to provide access to an existing Physical Data Model or "work in progress" database redesign views, and gather feedback via Prolaborate collaborative features (discussions, reviews, etc.).

Sparx Enterprise Architect (EA) data models support tables and columns, views, stored procedures, functions from all major DBMS (SQL server, MySQL, Postgres, etc.). This is achieved with built-in stereotyped UML classes, attributes and operations.

enterprise architect data model table sparx

When such information is shared outside Enterprise Architect tool, it is important to customize or hide unnecessary details for the target users.

Prolaborate Modeling Language feature is ideal to achieve this via custom profiles and a form designer. Built-in Prolaborate languages are available for UML, BPMN, or Archimate elements (SysML is available on request). If you use your own stereotypes, the MDG XML file used for Enterprise Architect can also be imported in Prolaborate. When it comes to Data Modelling, I found that Prolaborate doesn't currently support this definition. Since data models are built in EA, there isn't any MDG XML file available to manually import. Hence my only option was to recreate a Data Modelling MDG in EA solely for the purpose of configuring Prolaborate web solution.

Below is an illustration of how it works with Sparx EA Example project.

Note: this MDG definition has been submitted to Prolaborate team and will be available to download, before it is included in Prolaborate future releases. In the meantime you can contact me on guillaume[at]umlchannel.com to get a copy. 

Initial context

To illustrate the advantage of using Modelling Languages, the following screenshot shows how the details of a table is rendered in Prolaborate:

prolaborate table database view

The default table element details are displayed with all tagged values. Not only some of these fields may not be relevant, but also note the field Type mentions that it's a Class; where this element is rightly a "table" stereotyped UML class, this information to an end user can be rather confusing!

The aim of installing and configuring the Data Model Modelling Language is to have the ability to manage the visible and hidden information amongst the element fields (e.g. name, notes, author, modified date, etc.) or custom tagged values, and rename their label when needed.

  • Important: Prolaborate doesn't currently support customization of attributes and operations from a Modeling Language profile. Hence table columns and constraints cannot currently be customized.

Install the Data Model Modelling Language

  • Once logged in, open Prolaborate Repository configuration, and select Modelling Languages

Prolaborate Modelling Languages New

  • Fill in the form, select the provided MDG Prolaborate EAUML.xml file, and click on Add Modeling Language

Prolaborate Modelling Languages DB MDG datamodel

  • The Data Model custom language is installed and ready to be configured.

Prolaborate Modelling Languages DB MDG datamodel

Customize the users' views with profiles

Below is an illustration to customize the fields for a DB table.

  • Click on Manage Profiles
  • Create a new profile or edit the default one 

Prolaborate Modelling Languages datamodel edit profile

  • The data model stereotypes are listed e.g. table, column, view, trigger, etc.
    • Note: the eye icon can be used to hide all elements under the selected stereotype to be hidden e.g. views and stored procedures.

Prolaborate Modelling Languages datamodel hide stereotypes

  • Open the form designer to customize the visible fields for a given stereotype e.g. table.

Prolaborate Modelling Languages datamodel form designer

  • The initial configuration is illustrated below.
    • The table name, notes, author and type (e.g. Class) are listed under the Basic Attributes.
    • All three tagged values are listed under EAUML::table Attributes

Prolaborate Modelling Languages datamodel form designer edit

  • These fields can removed, hidden, made read-only, or renamed. Other fields can be added (see the lists on the right hand side).
    • Notes:
      • The element's EA fields (e.g. name, notes, alias, etc.) can be freely mixed with tagged values, within any group.
      • The order can be updated as needed.
  •  The example below matches the following configuration:
    • The fields' group titles have been renamed to Main Properties (from Basic Attributes) and Additional Properties (from EAUML::table Attributes).
    • The table name field is read-only and available against the label "Table name".
    • The table notes is visible against the "Description" label, and can be updated if the user has the write permission.
    • The Type field has been removed.
    • The Author field is not visible.
    • Only Tablespace and DBVersion tagged values are visible in read-only mode.

Prolaborate Modelling Languages datamodel form designer database

  • Important - in theory, a table index constraint can be customised as illustrated here. However Modelling Language profiles are not yet supported by Prolaborate for attributes and operations (all columns and constraints remain visible). This is a possible enhancement for Prolaborate team to consider in a future release.

Prolaborate Modelling Languages datamodel form designer index

  • The Profile can be saved.

Note: further details are available from Prolaborate online help.

User experience

Accessing the same physical data model, the displayed information matches the new table profile definition:

Prolaborate Modelling Languages data model table attributes sparx enterprise architect


Prolaborate 3.2

Sparx Systems has released Prolaborate 3.2 this summer with the following enhancements.

  • Charts
    • ** Architecture Landscape: new chart dedicated for your Enterprise Architecture data.
    • Chart Designer: build your graphs with this step by step design tool (SQL queries can be used as an alternative to address complex issues).
  • ** Relationships Matrices created in Enterprise Architect can be used with your web browser. 
  • ** Excel-like spreadsheet interface: Bulk import and edit EA elements online + CSV download and upload.
  • Integration
    • Ms Azure DevOps is now supported to create end to end links between items in EA and Azure DevOps (similar to the existing JIRA integration).
    • Public APIs introduced for custom Integration with Prolaborate.
  • Multiple Active Directory domains supported for SSO

** Features detailed in this article.

Architecture Landscape charts

Architecture Landscape is a new chart available in Prolaborate. It provides a way to render any kind of architectural views on a single page.

In the example below, ArchiMate Business Actors are displayed under each assigned Business Role (roles are listed by type i.e. internal or external).

01 Architecture Landscape Archimate Prolaborate 3.2 Sparx

With this chart view, a single element can be rendered several times e.g. the "Distribution Department" actor is visible under "Delivery Driver" and "Logistic operator" roles, compared with the matching view in Enterprise Architect.


This chart has been created using the Chart Designer:

  • The Business Roles package (model) must be selected.

 03 select package Architecture Landscape Archimate Prolaborate 3.2 Sparx

  • With the following setup, ArchiMate Business Roles are grouped by Alias value (Internal/External), and the elements names are shown (alternatives: tagged values, etc.).

04 group definition business roles Architecture Landscape Archimate Prolaborate 3.2 Sparx

  • In the next group, the graph is looking for the actors assigned to each business role.

05 group definition business roles Architecture Landscape Archimate Prolaborate 3.2 Sparx

The resulting graph is dynamic i.e. a role can be selected to get the assigned actors within a report e.g. Retailer role -> Customer. Selecting an actor from this report provides access to its properties as per the Attributes zone illustrated below.

06 view chart with sub report Architecture Landscape Archimate Prolaborate 3.2 Sparx

I tried a different scenario using my Prolaborate ArchiMate demo EA project with the aim to list all data flows between applications. In the following example, ArchiMate flows have been defined between application components, and ArchiMate Data Objects (e.g. Data1, Data2) have been associated as "conveyed items".

07 application data flows architecture Archimate Prolaborate 3.2 Sparx

The required details from EA require to define the chart using custom SQL queries instead of the Chart Designer.

08 application data flows graphique architecture Archimate Prolaborate 3.2 Sparx

Relationships matrix

Relationships matrix is a very useful Enterprise Architect feature to visualize, understand and update relations between elements. The following matrix illustrates business actor assignments with roles.


EA matrix profiles are now available in Prolaborate to be opened with your browser (note: matrices can also be created in Prolaborate).



11 web prolaborate sparxsystems enterprise architect relationships matrix 

Bulk import and edit of EA elements via Prolaborate Excel-like interface 

Creating or updating model information in bulk can be relevant using CSV or Excel spreadsheets. Available in Enterprise Architect, this is now available with Prolaborate: you can create or update packages and elements in your Enterprise Architect models using an intuitive spreadsheet interface.

Once permissions are granted, a user can create an import profile as illustrated here with ArchiMate application components.

prolaborate import en masse applications archimate modele csv tableur


  • The element and parent element unique EA identifiers (GUID) makes it possible to respectively update an existing element, and/or set the target element.
  • Data Flow definition will be imported within a tagged value, itself used in EA using a custom script to generate data flows between applications.

Details can be entered directly within the displayed worksheet. Otherwise a CSV file can be generated (Download as CSV), populated, and imported into Enterprise Architect (Import CSV File).


I found that Prolaborate lets you copy and paste data a matching Excel file, very useful!

32 prolaborate sparxsystems copy informations from excel

Once the details are provided, the import can be carried globally or row by row. 



Friday, 21 June 2019 10:30

Enterprise Architect 15 beta preview

00 sparxsystems enterprise architect 15

Sparx Systems released this month the beta version of Enterprise Architect 15.

Below is a selection of the main features and enhancements that will be detailed in this article:

  • Data Miner
  • JavaScript Model Based Add-ins
  • Custom tables (new spreadsheet artefacts)
  • Browser new organization
  • Diagrams enhancements
    • Custom drawing style diagram property
    • Google GCP, Amazon AWS web images
    • Bookmark values
    • Group elements
    • New keyboard shortcuts
    • Simplified access to the "Link to element feature"
    • Image Assets drag and drop to a diagram
  • New keyboard shortcuts

Data Miner

Data Miner is a new feature to create model elements and relationships in Enterprise Architect from a data source such as a database, JSON file, or an XML file.

Data Miner is available via its associated diagram type, giving access to the following toolbox:

data miner toolbox sparxsystems enterprise architect 15

  • DMConnection class [1]: properties to open a database via ODBC, a local file, or a URL.
  • DMSet class [1..*]: query on the data source.
  • DMScripts class [1]: scripts to update the EA models using the data available via the DMSets.
  • Data Source and Harvester relationships: links DMSet to DMConnection, or DMScripts to DMSet classes.
  • Note: it is recommended to use patterns to create all required Data Miner elements.

Below is an example to import data from an Excel file:

data miner import Excel sparxsystems enterprise architect 15


  • Open the Edit Data Miner Connection on the DMConnection class to define the file location (local or URL).

data miner file connection properties sparxsystems enterprise architect 15

The Excel file used in this example contains a spreadsheet for each type of information: applications, interfaces, data objects, data flows between applications.

data miner import excel applications sparxsystems enterprise architect 15

05 2 data miner import excel interfaces sparxsystems enterprise architect 15

05 3 data miner import excel data objects sparxsystems enterprise architect 15

05 4 data miner import excel data flows sparxsystems enterprise architect 15

  • Use the Open Data Miner Visualizer menu on the DMSet classes to define the query and check the results. In the following example, the query gathers all the information from the APPS tab.

data miner dmset query excel spreadsheet sparxsystems enterprise architect 15

  • Updating or creating model elements, attributes, operations, relationships, diagrams, etc. in Enterprise Architect is defined via the JavaScript code in the DMScript class (use Edit Data Miner Processor).
  •  Notes:
    • The pattern from the Data Miner toolbox generates a DMScript class with an initial JavaScript code.
    • New classes are available in EA API: EA.DataMiner, EA.DataMinerManager, EA.DataSet, EA.DMAction, EA.DMArray, EA.DMConnection, and EA.DMScript.
  • Once the script is defined, it can be used via a right click > Run Data Miner Processor.


  • ArchiMate Application Component, Interface and Data Object elements have been generated according to the script definition:

data miner import excel result browser sparxsystems enterprise architect 15

  • Stereotypes tagged values have been initialized with mapped values from the Excel spreadsheet:

data miner import excel result browser sparxsystems enterprise architect 15

data miner import excel result data flow sparxsystems enterprise architect 15

DataMiner works one-way i.e. it doesn’t export or update information in the data source. It can prove to be very useful when custom data sources need to be imported without having to use a CSV file or other supported formats. Importing such data model can relevant to share a visual view of its concepts, link it with analysis and design models, map it to another project or data model, etc.

Note: I started testing the ODATA metadata import as an alternative to the XSLT process available here. The Data Miner not only generates classes and attributes, but also relationships – more to follow on this subject!

JavaScript Model Based Add-ins

Enterprise Architect traditional add-ins stand for applications that need to be installed on each user's PC (eaUtils is an example). Enterprise Architect 15 supports a new type of add-in known as Model-Based, to set up on a modelling project (no installation required), similarly to scripts (see my EA User Group London 2018 presentation).

Model-based add-ins are implemented in JavaScript within Enterprise Architect, whereas traditional add-ins mostly use C# or Java. Contrary to the scripts, add-ins support broadcast events and add-in menus (in the Specialize ribbon or via a right click).

The following Model Based Add-in is available from the EA Example project:

model based addin javascript class sparxsystems enterprise architect 15

When the project is opened, this add-in is automatically recognized as an optional one:


Once enabled, this add-in provides a menu to generate the attributes details in the system output view from a selected class:

model_based_addin menu sparxsystems_enterprise_architect_15

Custom Tables

Enterprise Architect supports a number of artefacts such as Model Views to generate results from a custom query in a table. The following list matches automated test cases defined for eaUtils add-in with eaTests library:

adhoc tables model views sparxsystems_enterprise_architect_15

Custom table is a new type of artefact to manage spreadsheets and make them viewable on a diagram. The following custom table has been defined to show data flows between applications:

adhoc custom table data flow example sparxsystems_enterprise_architect_15

Notes: the edition mode is quite easy to use, however having a dedicated menu would help (similarly to the RTF document generator). Also, there is no support to copy and paste an existing content from Excel.

The table structure is available in the XML format via the following tagged value: 

adhoc custom table data content example sparxsystems_enterprise_architect_15

The cell layout is available via the dataFormat tab:

adhoc custom table data format example sparxsystems_enterprise_architect_15

Finally, the script tab is available to dynamically update values from the model data.

Running the Execute behavior script gathers all data flows and update the table accordingly:

adhoc custom table data script result sparxsystems_enterprise_architect_15

Browser enhancements

The Browser (previously known as the Project Browser) is now complete with 4 tabs:

  • 1- Project: tree structure view of the model elements and diagrams


  • 2- Context: filtered view of the current package content (introduced in EA 14)


  • 3- Diagram: new view with the list of elements (alphabetical order) used in the current diagram, as well as the in/out relationships. It can be useful to work with the diagram content.
    • A single click on an element or connector in the list selects it in the diagram.
    • A double click opens the properties window.


  •  4- Element: the element browser view has been improved and merged in the Browser view.


A "find in browser" action is available from the Browser menu:

browser find in shortcut_sparxsystems_enterprise_architect_15

This feature is useful when called from a diagram as it selects an element or the diagram in the repository browser. This new menu is an alternative to the right click access, or existing keyboard shortcuts (Alt+G or Shift+Alt+G).

Diagramming improvements

Custom Diagram Drawing Style

Custom style is a new diagram property option. It is used to remove notation-specific details (UML, SysML, BPMN, ArchiMate…), making diagrams more easily understood by stakeholders.

Custom applications view:

diagram custom style application sparxsystems_enterprise_architect_15

Standard BPMN view:

diagram custom style bpmn example before_sparxsystems_enterprise_architect_15

Custom BPMN view:

diagram custom style bpmn example after_sparxsystems_enterprise_architect_15

The custom diagram drawing style can replace the need to use Visio or Powerpoint with decoupled information from the repository.

The available layout options are illustrated in the diagram below:

diagram custom drawing styles_sparxsystems_enterprise_architect_15

Using Enterprise Architect 15 beta version, I encountered a few issues in manipulating elements on the diagrams. I will test it again with the final release.

Bookmark value

Bookmark values are available to set and display a value on top of an element in a diagram. This setting is specific to a diagram i.e. different bookmark values can be set for each diagram that needs it. This feature can be useful for instance to tag the logical order on each step as illustrated here:

diagram bookmark value bpmn example sparxsystems_enterprise_architect_15

To enable and set a value, right click on the element, select Set Bookmark Value, enable the option and provide the value.

diagram bookmark value sparxsystems_enterprise_architect_15

The diagram contextual menu provides an option to Show or Hide All Bookmark Values.

Group Elements

Group Elements is a new option to enable or disable on a selection of elements e.g. to move, change colours, or align them.

diagram group elements sparxsystems_enterprise_architect_15

Link to Element Feature

This feature is known to link or map most of the time a class attribute or operation with another one (e.g. mapping between a data model with standard data model, or a logical data model with a physical one). Until now, once an association was created between classes, the process to link attributes or operations could take time for multiple links. This is now easier to achieve as illustrated here:

diagram link element feature sparxsystems_enterprise_architect_15

diagram link element feature sparxsystems_enterprise_architect_15

diagram link element feature sparxsystems_enterprise_architect_15

Resources: Amazon AWS and Google GCP Image and Icon sets

Comprehensive series of images and icons required to model AWS (Amazon Web Services) and GCP (Google Cloud Platform) architectures are now available from Enterprise Architect 15.

Here are some examples of Amazon and Google icons:

images librairie graphique Google GCP sparxsystems_enterprise_architect_15

Images assets

Image assets have been introduced with Enterprise Architect 13 as an alternative to the image library with the ability to manage images as modelling elements.

Image asset elements are not supposed to be used directly in diagrams. Instead they should be set as the alternative image of elements. Enterprise Architect 15 provides a specific option when drag/dropping an image asset from the browser onto a diagram.

drag drop image asset sparxsystems_enterprise_architect_15

  • Set as Alternate Image: define the image asset as the alternate image of an existing element e.g. class Class1
  • Add as element with image: create a new element (class, component…) with the image asset identified as the alternate image
  • Add as link: add the image asset element itself on the diagram

Note: it would be great if the option Add as element with image could support Boundary elements as they are commonly used to display images (cf. eaUtils Find in All Diagrams help for more information).

New keyboard shortcuts

Notes: Ctrl+Space

Access to the elements notes is very useful to read or update its description, hence the need to enable most of the time the Notes view.

A handy quick access to Notes has been released with the Ctrl+Space shortcut which opens the notes in a temporary popup window.

notes keyboard shortcut ctrl space sparxsystems_enterprise_architect_15

Properties: Ctrl+Return

The Ctrl+Return shortcut on the selected element or diagram opens and selects the properties view.

Note: the Tagged Values view has now been merged into the Properties view via a new tab.

properties tag view sparx enterprise architect 15


Friday, 18 January 2019 13:55

Prolaborate 3.0 available

Prolaborate SparxSystems 3 Enterprise Architect Web

Sparx Systems has released Prolaborate 3, the latest version of its web solution for Enterprise Architect modelling tool.

Main improvements:

  • Increased performances.
  • New widget to include Impact Analysis views in the dashboards.
  • New CxO multi-level charts to represent complex data in an impressive and easily understandable way.

The EAExample sample project pre-installed with Enterprise Architect has been used in this article to illustrate some of Prolaborate 3 features.

Model visibility and access

Prolaborate makes it possible to pick and select the models that are relevant for a user profile, e.g. a business stakeholder could request visibility and access only on the BPMN diagrams matching the enterprise business processes.

In the screenshot below, a user has a read/write access to the SysML model from the EAExample project. The full project content is illustrated on the left (Enterprise Architect Project Browser).

prolaborate 3 contenu personnalisation project browser web

The above customization has been entered via Prolaborate administration screen:

prolaborate repository browser sysml access permissions administration

Model navigation and access

Prolaborate supports multiple Enterprise Architect projects (restrictions may apply based on the owned license) as set up in Sparx Systems Pro Cloud Server. The user below can either access both Sparx EAExample and an Archimate project.

prolaborate change repository web sparxsystems enterprise architect

The above main screen is a Dashboard with convenient links to the main SysML diagrams for the Portable Audio Player system. Clicking on the Design BDD opens the diagram below. Once displayed, the user can select an element (e.g. the main block) to open its properties (real-time details from the EA database). Text based information such as the element's notes can be updated directly with Prolaborate (note: Enterprise Architect tool is required for advanced modelling uses including updating diagrams).

prolaborate proprietes element web sparxsystems enterprise architect

Once the notes description has been saved, the update is straight away visible within Enterprise Architect:

prolaborate modification notes sysml element web sparxsystems enterprise architect

Amongst the other properties tabs, EA matching traceability functions are available: find the element's usage within diagrams and the linked elements.

prolaborate diagram usage traceability web sparxsystems enterprise architect

Collaboration modelling platform: discussions, model review

Prolaborate provides most features that users can expect from a collaboration tool. As regards it supports discussions on selected elements and diagrams, model review processes, etc.

As illustrated hereafter, a user submits a query to the system engineer in charge of the system design:

prolaborate discussion web sparxsystems enterprise architect

The target user is notified and submits a reply online, having dealt with the request within the given context.

prolaborate reponse discussion web sparxsystems enterprise architect

A link to any model element or diagram can easily be created and copied into an e-mail or document.

prolaborate diagram share link web sparxsystems enterprise architect

Charts and reports

A model based approach involves gathering all the project related information and knowledge within a single location, the model repository. An Enterprise Architect modelling project is a true database with a structured content that can be analyzed and used in EA:

  • Advanced model search.
  • Custom add-in to run model validation as defined by the team (contact me for any query).
  • Charts.

Prolaborate expands the access to this content beyond the EA users group via custom charts and reports.

Charts and sub reports

Prolaborate supports most chart types: pie, donut, bar, stacked bar, bubble, heat map, and nested pie.

prolaborate graphiques types web sparxsystems enterprise architect

A report can be enabled as an option for the chart selected values.

A Nested Pie chart has been defined for the SysML model:

  • To review the number of SysML blocks, parts and ports, organized by stereotype.
  • To display a list of results for the selected value e.g. all Flow Property stereotyped parts.

prolaborate graphiques secteurs imbriques sous rapports web sparxsystems enterprise architect

Click here or on the image below to open a video demonstration.

Prolaborate Youtube video sparx systems enterprise architect web

For Enterprise Architect projects, the Heat Map is useful to review the identified applications.

Heat Map Archimate UML sparxsystems enterprise architect web prolaborate


As an alternative to charts, a table can be produced according to the definition of a custom query. Sub reports are also available as an option to access details for a selected line within the main table.

Publishing model information via tables can be useful for common data models or glossaries maintained via UML models.

In the following example, the Portable Audio Player SysML parts are listed (name + type). Selecting a part opens its properties (name, notes, diagram usage, traceability...).

prolaborate rapport extraction analyse  sparxsystems enterprise architect

The "View" link in the last column can be clicked to open the part's details i.e. its ports and parts.

prolaborate rapport niveau 2 analyse sparxsystems enterprise architect


Delivered by Enterprise Architect experts from VISEO, up to date training courses are available in France with the latest version 14.1. 

  • Training courses combine theory and exercises. One of its goals is to understand and practice Enterprise Architect modelling tool whilst covering a modelling repository and the chosen standard visual modelling language (UML or SysML).
  • SysML with Enterprise Architect training for Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE).
    • Covers all 9 SysML diagrams.
    • Exercises follow a given process, starting with requirements and use cases, system design with the BDD and IBD diagrams, and system behaviour with SysML dynamic diagrams.
    • Duration: 3 days.
    • Click here for more information (french content).
  • UML with Enterprise Architect for software analysis and design.
  • Available optional modules for both UML and SysML training courses:
    • Generate documents from the model with the built-in RTF generator.
    • Collaborative environnement to share models within a team.
    • Prolaborate, the new web collaborative platform from Sparx Systems.
    • Extending UML or SysML with MDG Technologies and stereotypes.
    • State machine simulation.
    • Scripting. 

Contact me on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for any further information.

formation uml sysml enterprise architect france

Tuesday, 18 September 2018 11:16

EA User Group London 2018 feedback

EA User Group London 2018

This year’s London EA User Group took place at the Skills Matters Code Node venue. It has been enjoyable and useful to discuss and share experiences with users via this unique dedicated SparxSystems Enterprise Architect event.

This article shares some feedback on the following presentations:

  • Keynote on Enterprise Architect 14 by Peter Lieber.
  • Model Driven Enterprise Knowledge with Gemalto GMOD platform by David Faus.
  • My presentation on scripting with Enterprise Architect.

Keynote: Sparx Enterprise Architect 14

The keynote was an opportunity to discover some of the new features available in Enterprise Architect 14. Having started evaluating version 14 since its beta release, this presentation saved me time as I received an overview of the relevant enhancements.

A new checklist artifact is available from the common toolbox.

01 sparx enterprise architect 14 checklist artefact

Once created, items can be added alongside their Boolean status (checked: true or false).

sparxsystems enterprise architect 14 create checklist artefact


sparxsystems enterprise architect 14 checklist result

Other rendering options are available:

sparxsystems enterprise architect 14 checklist result

EA 14 has introduced the EAPX file extension, as an alternative to local EAP files, matching a Jet4 engine database. Jet4 EA projects can be created in previous EA versions within an EAP file. EAPX are useful since it is explicitly tied with Jet4 engine (this format provides enhancements on the database capacities). Note that EAPX files can be opened with earlier EA versions.

A new Cloud tab is available in the CONFIGURE > Options menu (note: the following options are available in EA 13.5).

sparxsystems enterprise architect 14 cloud options

The above Data Cache option can be enabled to create images of each diagram in the EA project database when saved in EA. These images can be used and rendered in external solutions via SparxSystems Pro Cloud Server. A create batch feature is available to generate all diagrams images.

Perspectives in EA 14 can be used to enable only the notations or languages that are relevant to the current use and context. The built-in Systems Engineering\SysML perspective can be enabled for instance so users only work with SysML 1.5 elements and diagrams, and will never come across other SysML versions, or UML, BPMN, ArchiMate and so son. Custom perspectives can be defined to select a range of technologies e.g. UML and BPMN. Note: I find perspectives very useful to scale down EA features to the ones that are needed by users through a built-in feature (instead of custom XML or registry updates by the company IT services). The Model Wizard has been redesigned in EA14; in EA 13.5 and earlier versions, it was mainly used to generate Model Patterns.

EA 14 Model Wizard runs in a view (not a popup) with redesigned model patterns. First of all, the available patterns are displayed for the selected perspective, e.g. UML, Business with BPMN, Systems Engineering with SysML, Enterprise Architecture with ArchiMate, etc.

sparxsystems enterprise architect 14 model pattern

Where the previous patterns generated a full structure with samples in each model e.g. class, use case, and so on, the logic here is to individually select and add model patterns to the local project. Patterns may include several packages, elements and diagrams.
For each pattern, a nicely illustrated explanation on the purpose is available, enhancing the usability and value delivered by Model Patterns.

sparxsystems enterprise architect 14 model pattern

sparxsystems enterprise architect 14 model pattern

EA 14 Model Patterns also include a new Process Guidance tab as an addition to EA Help. It creates a step by step process via an activity diagram e.g. to create a central database EA repository in MySQL as illustrated below.

sparxsystems enterprise architect 14 process guidance

The element properties have been integrated within views to replace the pop-up properties window. For elements, additional views provide access to the attributes, operations, etc.

sparxsystems enterprise architect 14 element properties

sparxsystems enterprise architect 14 features properties

Also available as a view, the diagram properties now display the Diagram GUID which can be useful:

sparxsystems enterprise architect 14 diagram properties

The Compartments tab provides access to the elements visibility properties. Note: I would expect in the future to have all diagram properties in this view e.g. Features, Connectors properties.

sparxsystems enterprise architect 14 diagram properties

The Diagram properties include new MetaModel options, linked with MetaModel Views, both introduced in EA 14. This Views system is aimed at restricting the available elements and connections from the diagram toolbox. MetaModel Views are either built-in or user defined (note: user defined views can be useful to combine stereotyped elements and built-in elements such as a UML class, use case and actor).

When creating a diagram, a list of built-in views is available under the diagram type, for instance a UML Class diagram illustrated below:

sparxsystems enterprise architect 14 new diagram metamodel

The resulting toolbox is different from the default UML class diagram.

sparxsystems enterprise architect 14 new toolbox metamodel

This selection sets the “Applied to Metamodel” diagram option.

sparxsystems enterprise architect 14 applied to metamodel

In addition to the toolbox content, the Filter to Metamodel diagram property is now available: when set, this option will grey out all elements that are not in the current Metamodel as illustrated below.

sparxsystems enterprise architect 14 filter to metamodel

Another new option is the Display Lock Element Status: when enabled, locked elements will be visible accordingly on the diagram.

sparxsystems enterprise architect 14 diagram properties display lock element status

sparxsystems enterprise architect 14 diagram properties display lock element status

smart placement feature is now available to dynamically visualize the selected element’s alignment.

sparxsystems enterprise architect 14smart placement

Model Driven Enterprise Knowledge

Note: the following summary has been written by its author and speaker, David Faus (Gemalto).

Our goal was to build enterprise knowledge repositories based on models in several business units in Gemalto. The following diagram shows our strategy coming from the well-known Nonanaka and Takeuchi knowledge management theory:

gmod uc method gemalto sparx enterprise architect

We successfully used SPARX to build our model based KM platform called GMOD (Gemalto MODeling).

To deploy our “GMOD” adaptation of the Nonaka and Takeuchi approach, we used:

  • The EA MDG to implement the “UC” method which I have been building during the last 25 years. This method is quite innovative because it is based on several domains (graphical user interface specification methods, functional analysis and also Object Oriented Programming), and is customer oriented: that means everyone is able, in few minutes of explanation, to understand a UC model.
  • The EA client server architecture to allow all team members to produce UC models in parallel, what is finally relevant when building a huge model oriented knowledge base. The first big success we had was the delivery of the GBPR (Gemalto Business Process Repository): All Gemalto corporate business processes are now published and maintained thru GMOD.
  • The EA java API to implement the Gemalto “SPARX Companion Tool”. This tool is complementing SPARX EA functionalities by adding reporting features, UC model integrity check, one click deployment web service…
  • The Gemalto FAST & Easy knowledge management platform. This platform is based on the concept of patrimonial archiving. It is used to index any important UC diagrams produced thru GMOD. This is possible because the “SPARX Companion Tool” generates static URLs for diagrams.

As a conclusion, we are now able to retrieve model oriented knowledge by simply using a Google like search engine. Our next goal is to focus on the support functions and provide some knowledge base composed by hundreds of comprehensible use cases helpful at any level and anywhere in the company. 

Extending EA with custom scripts to cater for specific needs and user requests

It was my pleasure to be selected for the third time this year as a speaker. I offered to share my experience on defining scripts in EA over the past years to extend the tool’s features e.g. via custom Excel import/exports, save users' time in avoiding repetitive or time consuming tasks, etc.

The full presentation content is available from SlideShare.

Below is a summary with selected slides to illustrate the topics:

  • Enterprise Architect can be greatly customized to cater for a client or project, and it includes creating features using the API from scripts, add-ins, Excel macros, etc.
  • Where EA already provides numerous features, there is still a need to create additional ones as illustrated below.

sparxsystems enterprise architect scripting api excel

  • The choice of using Scripting was supported by the need to frequently update and deploy new versions to a large group of users.

 sparxsystems enterprise architect api options script addin macros

  •  Having introduced the different types of scripts (project browser, diagram, normal), I discussed the need to apply naming conventions so users can clearly find the appropriate script to run.

sparxsystems enterprise architect script naming conventions vb

  • The usual way to use EA API is to call methods from the Object Model, e.g. get an element’s parent package element with the following VBScript method call: set parentPkg = Repository.GetPackageByID(curElement.PackageID).

sparxsystems enterprise architect api method object model

  • Alternatively SQL queries can be used …
    • To run complex queries.
    • To select specific elements, preventing time consuming loops.
    • To address performance issues related. Replacing a method call with SQL update reduced the execution time for ~1000 attributes from 120 minutes down to 4 minutes.
  •  SQL queries can be used on the Repository object methods:
    • Repository.GetElementSet(query,2) : returns a collection of EA elements according to the SQL query
    • Repository.SQLQuery(query) : returns an XML formatted string value (SELECT queries only)
    • Repository.Execute(query) : runs a query (UPDATE/DELETE/INSERT)
  • Care should be taken when running UPDATE/DELETE/INSERT queries as it can delete or break the model.
  • Moving on Scripts helpers, I shared ways to address issues both from the developer and user perspective.
  • Below is the publication process that has been defined (illustrated via the first demo on EA).

sparxsystems enterprise architect script publication helper

  • With some scripts requiring to select a source or target folder to process or generate files, a common script feature made it possible to suggest the previously selected folder. Other users’ script helpers are illustrated below and were demonstrated in EA.

enterprise architect scripting helper

  • Geert Bellekens’ free EA-Matic add-in has been used to automatically trigger scripts based on configured events e.g. before creating a connector.

enterprise architect scripting tip helpers

  • Having shared a few hints, I completed the presentation with a demonstration of custom scripts defined for a number of clients.

enterprise architect scripting excel export mapping migrate

Note: this article is available in French here.

Involved since 2016 in the run of a 3 day training course on SysML with Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect tool, I re-iterate this year with an up to date content based on even more improved and advanced implementation of the Systems Modelling Language in the latest version of EA.

This training course is carried in french combines the theory with the SysML modelling language brought by Pascal Roques (SysML expert in France) alongside Enteprise Architect as a SysML modelling tool, brought by myself. Enterprise Architect tool is covered throughout the 3 days course to understand its environment, its SysML integration and features, and putting it all in practice via exercises.

Full details are available in French from the UMLChannel Blog. Contact me on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for any further information.

eautils 1.14 addin pour sparx enterprise architect

Following the release of a portable version last November, eaUtils 1.14 free utilities add-in for Sparx Enterprise Architect has just been published:

  • Limited until now to composite elements, eaUtils breadcrumb trail navigation feature has been extended to support hyperlinks, packages (opening the first diagram in the package), and navigation cells (available since EA13).
  • eaUtils elements sorting has been enhanced with new options:
    • Order elements by object id, matching the order in which they've been created or imported in EA.
    • Upon a user request, sort sub-elements e.g. to process actions within an activity.

The increasing complexity of eaUtils requires a minimum level of testing before releasing a new build in order to reduce the risk of new or regression bugs. Introduced for the first time at the EA User Group London 2017, eaTests (www.eatests.com) automated testing solution for EA add-ins is integrated with eaUtils to maintain and run automated tests. The latest 1.14 updates have been included in the automated tests as discussed later in this article.

Note: eaTests is currently maintained for the sole use of eaUtils. Designed to work with other add-ins, as illustrated at the EAUG 2017 via hoTools Open Source EA add-in, please feel free to contact me on guillaume [at] umlchannel.com for more information on integrating your add-in with eaTests.

This article illustrates eaUtils 1.14 new features and the automated testing process run for this new version, before publishing it.

eaUtils 1.14 features

Generate links back to the calling diagram(s) with the improved Breadcrumb Trail navigation

The following diagram illustrates the different types of links that one can use in Sparx Enterprise Architect to open a diagram:

eaUtils 1.14 breacrumb main diagram

Composite elements support

In the "Activity3" composite element's activity diagram, eaUtils makes it possible to generate a link to go back to the above diagram ("main").

Running eaUtils generate diagram breadcrumb trail from the composite activity diagram opens the popup below.

eaUtils 1.14 breacrumb composite elements

Upon completion, two hyperlinks have been created according to the calling diagrams in the model, as shown hereafter (Back to Main... to Activities...):

eaUtils 1.14 breacrumb composite elements result

The resulting completed navigation is illustrated below:

eaUtils 1.14 breacrumb composite elements liens de retour navigation fil d'Ariane

Package support

eaUtils breadcrumb trail feature can be run from the package's main diagram to generate a link back to the calling diagrams. In the example below, the Package option must be enabled.

eaUtils 1.14 breadcrumb packages


eaUtils 1.14 breacrumb packages sparx enterprise architect navigation link

Hyperlinks support

eaUtils breadcrumb trail "hyperlinks" option must be enabled to generate a link back from Activity2's diagram to the "main" and "activities" diagrams.

eaUtils 1.14 breadcrumb hyperlinks sparx ea

Navigation cell support

The last available option illustrates the "Activities" diagram that is opened via a Navigation Cell link from the diagram "main".

  • eaUtils 1.14 breacrumb navigation cells sparx ea

Model elements sorting in EA

Sort elements by their creation order (Object ID option)

Ordering model elements in your EA repository can be very useful to help with the management of a great amount of requirements, use cases, classes, blocks, interfaces, components, etc. To cater for this need, eaUtils provides an array of settings to order by name, alias, stereotype or tagged values.

I recently worked on a model which content had been generated via a reverse engineering on the source code files. With EA applying the alphabetical order by default, there was a need to list the classes by their created order. To avoid having to write a dedicated script to achieve such result, I carried a small improvement in eaUtils by implementing "object id" as a new sorting option (note: Object ID matches the order elements are created in EA).

In the following example, classes have been created in the order matching their suffix value (e.g. -1, -2, -3, etc.). eaUtils has been opened with the Object ID option.

eaUtils 1.14 sort tri element object id sparx ea


eaUtils 1.14 sort tri element object id sparx ea result

eaUtils can also run the sorting on a tree branch of packages and sub packages via the "process tree package" option. In the example below, Test1, Test2, Test3 and Test4 packages contain the same classes.

eaUtils 1.14 sort tri element object id sparx ea tree package


eaUtils 1.14 sort tri element object id sparx ea result tree package

Sub-elements ordering support

The following ArchiMate diagram illustrates a specific case provided by an eaUtils user:

  • The business processes' alias field value match their executing order (e.g. BP-1, BP-2…).
  • BP-2 process includes subprocesses, located under that element.
  • All the process elements within this model need to be ordered by alias.

eaUtils 1.14 sort tri element alias sparx ea sous elements archimate

eaUtils provides a new sort sub elements option to extend the sorting to the sub-processes (BP2-1, BP2-2…).

Result (alias values added):

eaUtils 1.14 sort tri element alias sparx ea sous elements archimate result

eaUtils 1.14 Enterprise Architect add-in automated tests with eaTests

eaUtils is integrated with eaTests. This solution enables me to define, maintain and run test cases on eaUtils within dedicated EA projects running the following structure.

  • Data Set: model samples on which eaUtils features will be run through the automated tests.
  • Test Steps.
  • Test Runs: history log of tests runs, including results (successful or failed).

eaUtils 1.14 automated tests addin enterprise architect sparx model

The following steps and data sets have been added to cater for eaUtils 1.14 enhancements:

eaUtils 1.14 automated tests addin enterprise architect sparx model

To generate the definition of a new step, eaUtils must be configured and executed first. The following illustrates a test on the sub elements sorting (step 12):

  • Pre-condition: eaTests must be enabled (eaUtils developper mode).

eaUtils 1.14 automated tests addin enterprise architect

  • A "trace" stereotyped dependency between the testcase element and the data set package is defined.

eaUtils 1.14 automated tests addin enterprise architect step

  • The sub elements option is enabled in eaUtils settings.

eaUtils 1.14 automated tests addin enterprise architect settings

  • eaUtils sort elements is run against the data set package.

eaUtils 1.14 automated tests addin enterprise architect generate

  • The resulting order is checked against the expected post conditions:

eaUtils 1.14 automated tests addin enterprise architect sort postconditions

  • The testing step's XML definition is generated in EA System Output view:

eaUtils 1.14 automated tests addin enterprise architect output

These details are copied into the XML file used by eaTests automated tests for eaUtils add-in. It contains for each step the settings, the method to call including its parameters, the target package, the postconditions to check, etc.

eaUtils 1.14 automated tests addin enterprise architect xml content

To run automated tests :

  • Open the extend ribbon, eaUtils menu, eaUtils Run Tests.

eaUtils 1.14 automated tests addin run eatests

  • eaTests starts a new test run.
    • The XML file content (tests definition) is read and loaded in memory.
    • For each step:
      • eaUtils settings are updated.
      • The add-in method is run on the associated data set package.
      • Results in the model are compared with the post conditions.
      • Details are generated within a sequence diagram.
  • The project browser contains a new test run package with a sequence diagram for each step, and a summary is displayed via an eaTests popup window.

eaUtils 1.14 automated tests addin eatests successful

  • The following sequence diagram illustrates step 12 test run:

eaUtils 1.14 automated tests addin eatests results sequence diagram

eaUtils 1.14 is available to download from www.eautils.com/download.


EA User Group London 2017

This article provides some feedback on the EAUG London 2017 event, covering a full day of presentations, case studies, and user stories which took place on Friday, May 19th.

It illustrates the quality of information that has been delivered if you couldn't make it this year.

As shown on the agenda below, the day started with a keynote followed by 5 sessions, each time with a choice between 3 topics.

EA User Group London 2017 presentations agenda

Below is a feedback on some of the presentations I followed on that day.

Keynote: Innovation Needs Models

The keynote this year was run by Peter Lieber, from Sparx Systems Central Europe (Austria).
Peter shared his experience and recommendations when introducing a modelling approach within a project or company:

  • To start with, a modelling language (e.g. UML, SysML...) and a tool (EA) must be chosen. A method is paramount to structure the modelling approach and processes. The final item to consider is the existing and progressing experience.
    • It is important to highlight that a tool and language like EA + SysML are not sufficient as the methodology is mandatory to enable a modelling approach. Having no standards for the methodology, it needs to be defined according to the context.
    • The need for a modelling tool such as EA is required to achieve productivity.
  • Some useful feedback on failed and successful modelling scenarios were illustrated:
    • A successful modelling experience requires an iterative approach where reachable targets can be completed as the teams make progress.
    • An example of a failed case was given where a complex target was defined and once completed, a lack of acceptance and internal support led to a progressing drop in the related actions.
    • Another example involves the wrong idea that using everything e.g. all diagrams types from UML is the target. Resources and the team's involvement are often completely gone before getting any visible output.

Peter then focused on safety relevant systems e.g. trains, cars, aircrafts, medical MRI, etc. involving both complexity and safety. Safety is often subject to standards such as ISO 26262 for Road Vehicles Functional Safety. Looking at the challenges that need to be solved based on the ISO26262 standard, the modelling approach is considered to be the only sustainable option. This is supported by the fact that modelling makes it possible to maintain elements (e.g. requirements, components) and models (diagrams) that are all connected via traceability, coined as the model intelligence.

Where traceability is achieved with the tool, additional issues need to be addressed with the modelling methodology, e.g. a process to define in what order should one go about working on the model, what diagrams need to be used and for which purpose, where do elements and diagrams need to be stored, etc.

To enable adoption by Systems Engineers, the chosen language (SysML, UML) can be extended e.g. via a UML profile and its stereotypes. For instance the ISO 26262 ASIL levels (Automotive Safety Integrity Level) can be implemented in the system's model blocks through a range of colours.

Where diagrams are not always appropriate, details can be extracted and published through the means of Excel documents, e.g. via a Decision Matrix.

The final idea covered by Peter is to use Enterprise Architect as a platform that provides:

  • links with other tools such as DOORS to exchange requirements,
  • UML profiles and custom toolbars,
  • automated scripts,
  • running simulation and validation,
  • publish models via the Reusable Assets Service,
  • document generation.

Automated tests solution for add-ins and scripts in Enterprise Architect

My presentation was aimed at introducing an automated tests solution for EA automation scripts and add-ins, based on a personal project that I worked over the past months.

Since 2015, I maintain and share a free utilities add-in: eaUtils (www.eautils.com). It is aimed at saving time in specific scenarios involving sorting a wide array of elements within the model, or generating the alias value for elements according to their layout in a diagram.

The enhancements that I identified throughout the time, in addition to the feedback and requests received from users led to an increasing complexity level. Even if eaUtils is published as a free tool, a good level of testing and quality is required for the target users. Time consuming tests prompted the need for an automated tests solution with the following objectives:

  • Save time.
  • Define and run tests on my add-in in EA, moving away from manual tests.
  • Spend time improving tests rather than running them.

I came up with the following business class diagram to define the test structure:

eautils addin sparx enterprise architect automated tests structure

Moving to the design, I created an XML Schema model and generated the XSD file with EA to structure the XML test definition files. Having implemented a first working version of my automated tests in eaUtils, I could use it as illustrated below:

  • Run an addin feature with associated settings to generate the test data for a new step. This function prevented me from manually build the XML file which would have been time consuming.
  • Enable the automated tests module as the eaUtils developer, and run in on a test EA project.
  • Review the results via the generated sequence diagrams.
  • Fix any bug in case there's a failed test and repeat this process.

sparx enterprise architect addin automated tests process

The following illustrates the EA test project structure with packages that contain data sets, test step elements, and the automated tests execution process (load the tests description from the XML file, and for each step, load the settings, call the add-in method with the provided parameters, check the post conditions, and generate the results).

sparx enterprise architect addin automated tests run eautils

Generated sequence diagrams are aimed at reviewing results and keeping a history of run tests. Here is an example:

eautils addin sparx enterprise architect automated tests results

I ran eaUtils addin automated tests in Enterprise Architect via the first part of my demonstration, having only as a demo effect a spilled glass of water which did not reach my laptop. Thankfully no IT related demo issue.

The second part of my presentation covered the next step forward by making this solution available for other add-ins and even scripts. There are numerous EA automation scripts and add-ins out there. Most of them are specific to a project and therefore not shared with the community, whilst the remaining ones are released as open source, free, or commercial tools. Note that EA add-ins are listed by Sparx Systems on their third party extensions page.

In order to integrate this automated tests solution with other addins and scripts, I selected the following candidates:

  • hoTools add-in, an Open Source project maintained by Helmut Ortmann. An Open Source project was paramount so I could access and amend the C# code as part of this study (with the help and support of Helmut).
  • EA scripting library shared by Geert Bellekens.
  • A selection of scripts defined for a client: Lock Package and a Teiid virtual DB schema DDL import.

The tasks that followed were:

  • Extract a generic library from eaUtils automated tests into a new C# project: eaTests.
  • Update eaUtils add-in to use eaTests generic library.
  • Update hoTools add-in to use eaTests.
  • Define a new add-in to tests scripts.


As a result I successfully ran tests on one hoTools feature, a script from Geert, and 2 of my scripts. These were illustrated in the second part of the demonstration.

This study has led to a new solution called eaTests that has a dedicated site (www.eatests.com). The foreseen enhancements for eaTests library are mainly linked to the type of tests to carry on post conditions.

Replacing existing solutions with Enterprise Architect and extending function with custom MDGs

interserve eaug London presentation

Graham Williamson from Interserve, a major construction company with 85,000 staff worldwide, shared his experience on using Sparx EA to define Enterprise Architecture models, custom ArchiMate 3 stereotyped elements, and EA model validation.

The aim of an Enterprise Architecture was to move away from paper-based processes and achieve a digital construction. The audit of existing services, locations, customers, processes, applications, data, and technologies quickly led to the need of a modelling tool. Sparx Enterprise Architect successfully fulfilled this need, delivering the following:

  • Custom meta model
  • Flexible modelling
  • Archimate 3 support
  • UML profile and stereotypes support
  • Model search based on SQL queries
  • Document generation
  • Automation tools
  • Low license cost

Graham shared the meta model via the selected Archimate 3.0 relationships and elements, followed by examples of Archimate 3 stereotypes to handle additional properties. All Interserve stereotypes were made available via a custom toolbox.

EA 13 Model Validation feature was used to make sure that relationships between elements were valid according to a set of rules.

  • Validation rules i.e. a list of permitted relationships first need to be set up in EA. To save time in defining them in the required XML format, a custom add-in has been created to provide a handy user interface (e.g. Archimate associations allowed between an Application Collaboration and a Meaning element).
  • The model validation is then run in EA for a selected package, displaying any error found.

Graham then talked about customizing EA diagrams to provide a suitable view for stakeholders:

sparx enterprise architect archimate example eaug london

It was interesting to see a practical use of Archimate plateau elements as illustrated below (definition from the Open Group: "A plateau represents a relatively stable state of the architecture that exists during a limited period of time").

sparx enterprise architect archimate plateau example eaug london

As relationships couldn't be connected to an Archimate plateau element whereas this level of traceability was expected, the solution involved custom searches based on SQL queries with results grouped by Plateau. Search results enabled Interserve users to review each Plateau or architecture state content.

Other used EA features included:

  • The relationship matrix to maintain links between plateau elements and other model elements.
  • Roadmap diagram for the transformation planning.
  • Heatmap and charts.
  • Traceability and insert related elements in a diagram to build the business capability model.

Using Enterprise Architect and SysML for the development of an In-Wheel Motor System

protean in wheel motor systems sysml sparx enterprise architect

I was looking forward to this presentation as I'm currently involved in an MBSE (Model Based Systems Engineering) project in the automotive industry for ISO 26262 safety compliance.

John Gladstone works for Protean Electric Ltd, a UK based company that develops in-wheel electric motor systems for hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric light-duty vehicles. John's presentation provided an interesting feedback on the challenges that have been addressed with SysML and Enterprise Architect models.

Project context

John opened a SysML BDD diagram to illustrate the project context.

  • The development of In-Wheel Motor systems falls under the scope of the ISO-26262 (Road vehicles – Functional safety), which requires the identification of Safety Goals
  • The In-Wheel Motor system must include safety mechanisms which integrity is fulfilled by Design and Safety Architecture models. Such mechanisms are intended to prevent hazardous events such as an unintended acceleration of the vehicle.

System behaviour

The system behaviour was modelled with use cases and sequence diagrams for the scenario details. In order to model the system behaviour when things go wrong, Protean team has invented an actor called the Gremlin.

As a result SysML sequence diagrams had the driver and gremlin lifelines as the actors, and the electric vehicle lifeline in the middle with all interactions.

Modelling needs

Another BDD diagram was used to illustrate a complete view of the modelling needs for a motor system:

  • An architecture framework to comply with architectural integrity via consistency, completeness, and correctness as per the ISO-26262 standard needs.
  • The system is described by the architecture and modelled by SysML practitioners who use SysML modelling language, a semi-formal notation highly recommended by the ISO-26262. 

Understand SysML

John shared his recommendations on the literature to read about SysML, including:

  • SysML Distilled: A Brief Guide to the Systems Modeling Language from L.Delligatti
  • SysML for Systems Engineering from Jon Holt and Simon Perry (Simon attended this EAUG)
  • A practical guide to SysML from S.Friedenthal and A.Moore

Architecture Framework model

The structure of the framework model was described as follows:

  • It defines a number of viewpoints (perspectives).
  • It is implemented using an MDG Technology that contains SysML stereotypes, toolboxes, and custom model searches.
  • It is defined in the model repository alongside a Design Model.

Process and methodology model

Guidelines and diagrams describing the process to follow according to the methodology have been defined for each viewpoint.

Example model

To help understanding and improving this modelling environment with frameworks, processes and a methodology, an example model has been defined. This worthwhile exercise is based on an example system:

  • Sufficiently defined to understand a practical results from the existing frameworks and processes.
  • Not in scope of a motor system so nobody can argue about the details.
  • Introducing fun: Protean chose the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek series as the system. This led to system elements such as an antimatter reactant injector and storage pod, a warp nacelle, etc.  

Final topics

Remaining covered topics included:

  • The need of a glossary of terms to enforce using the right vocabulary the system or ISO standard.
  • Generate documents from the models to minimize overheads.
  • Structure the models with a library of elements (e.g. blocks, use cases, requirements...) and views/perspectives.

Sparx EA community of users

Throughout this 2 day event, I had the opportunity to meet great people. It was very interesting to share ongoing work and questions around EA, whether the context applied to software projects involving analysis and design, systems engineering with SysML and MBSE, or enterprise architecture with UML or ArchiMate. It was very nice catching up or meeting users that I know via Sparx forum or other online means throughout the year, giving an opportunity for a face to face discussion.

EAUG events are aimed at making the large community of EA users meeting up, gain valuable knowledge, and create new opportunities.

I'm looking forward to next year's EA User Group.


Preparing my presentation at the upcoming EA User Group in London (19/05/2017), I uploaded a video about this subject on Youtube.

It provides a first glimpse on the automated test module for Sparx Enterprise Architect addins that I will discuss in detail at the EA User Group London 2017.

Click on the following url to open the Youtube video: Automated tests with eaUtils addin for Sparx Enterprise Architect video.


There is still time to register at the EA User Group London 2017 from www.eausergroup.com.

Please feel free to contact me on guillaume[at]umlchannel.com if you have any question or comment.

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