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The Bellekens EA toolpack, the free set of add-ins for Enterprise Architect has expanded with a new add-in: the EA TFS Connector.EATFSConnectorLogo

This new add-in for Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect synchronizes workitems 2-ways between EA and TFS (Microsoft Team Foundation Server), so both from TFS to EA as from EA to TFS.

The EA TFS Connector uses the REST API web-service of TFS to synchronize items, so no local TFS (Visual Studio) installation is required, and it also works with TFS version 2015, which isn’t the case with the standard Visual Studio MDG integration.

      Special thanks goes to 
RealDolmen 
      for sponsoring the development of this add-in.

Have you tried the add-in and feel like it’s missing something? Don’t hesitate to contact me. There are always possibilities to enhance the add-in and make it better for the whole community.

For more information see EA TFS Connector.

Published in News
Friday, 26 August 2016 09:47

EA Mapping tool => Who wants it?

I’m thinking about developing a mapping tool add-in for EA.
The idea is that you can manage a mapping between two types of (data) models. For example between your logical data model and your message model, or between your logical data model and your database model etc…

I already have a number of add-ins and scripts that somehow create traceability between models on element, attribute and association level, but I don’t have a tool yet to visualize and manage those traces.

To give you an idea the GUI of the thing could look similar to this:

mapping tool
Functions could include
– ability to add notes to each mapping
– ability to export the mapping to excel
– drag-n-drop to create mappings
– …
Now it seems to me like there could be many parties interested in such a tool.
I would like to develop this as a free and open source add-in (as I do for all my add-ins) but I’m still looking for sponsors.
My initial rough estimate for the development of such a tool is 15 man days.

I already have two parties that might be interested, but the more sponsors I can find the lower the price would get for each individual party.

So if you are interested in such a tool please let me know: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we might be able to work something out.

Published in News
Wednesday, 02 September 2015 12:28

A web publication platform for an ArchiMate model

A web publication platform for an ArchiMate model

 

Introduction

As an independent Enterprise Architect (EA) consultant I often get the question what the possibilities are for publishing the repository content over the web. Of course in EA there is the possibility to generate a HTML version of the model but in most cases my customers demand extra functionality like key word search or a discussion module.

In my current assignment for the National Health Broker in The Netherlands the introduction of a webbased solution was evident. One of the most important product of this organisation is the architectural documentation of the interfaces of the broker component. The organisation itself is quite small but the external stakeholders like software suppliers, software developers and policy makers is large.

In the current situation the architectural documentation is published in pdf documents. Keeping these documents up to date and correctly linked and integrated with each other is a tedious job. Introduction of an Architecture Repository based on ArchiMate 2.0 and EA helped us a lot. The web-based solution  is however an essential part of the solution. This article describes solution we introduced: the Web Publication Platform.

Implementation model

Because the current solution is the implementation of an ArchiMate 2.0 architecture model we use limited data entities from the EA repository. The model is  rather large, over 3500 elements and 5000 associations. In the image below the most important elements are displayed and described.

Archimate data objects

·         Packages are extensively used for grouping and sorting elements and diagrams

·         Diagrams are used for given summary views of the entities to various stakeholders

·         Elements are used to describe the architectural entities. Therefore we use the notes, alias, key word attributes and extra entities which are mentioned below

·         Associations for modelling the associations between the elements

·         Attributes for data modelling in data objects and artficats within ArchiMate (this is an extension on the methodology)

·         Tagged values for extra describing attributes of the elements

·         Linked files, because the broker has to keep track of legislation and standardisation constraints which are maintained by other organisations hyperlinks to webpages are essential.

For the implementation of the WPP we decided to use an Open Source Framework for content and form management. It is unnecessary to start from scratch developing a solution. Not only implementing the forms for the architecture repository the form factory solution has a web based interface for the governance of its own (form) entities.  In the image below an overview of the functionality

Archimate functions

The form factory has various form types that can be used to display information from a relational database. Since the EA repository is also a relational database the interface to the database is implemented in a number of SQL statements and are connected to a form type. The Form Factory engine now handles the request made by the user when using the web application.  The views are summarized below:

·         Lists and sublists are used to display multiple elements in a screen and make selections to display in detail views

·         Detail views to display elements and diagrams including links to associations, attributes and tagged values etc.

·         Explorer view is a combination of a tree view and a detail view

·         Discussion platform for adding comments to elements by authorized stakeholders

·         Search, for key words in combination with a number of filter options

In the image below a sample of an explorer view screen

Screenshot

 

Some challenges

When implementing the interface to the repository we faced a number of difficulties. We used two architecture principles that limited our options:

·         All governance modelling and administrative activies are done by architects via the desktop application of Sparx. The WPP is only used for publication of the information not for modification.

·         There are no modifications made to the EA database (eap file). Therefore no tables for the form factory component are implemented in this database.

Below a number of specific challenges are briefly described

Configuring the Form Management System

Because of the second principle we faced the problem that in one detail screen (for example the element detail) we have to display information from two databases in one screen. The Form Factory was not configured for this constraint. Therefore we introduced an abstract class where the sql statements are combined with a connection string so before the sql statement is executed to retrieve the data the connection to the right database is opened. In the code snippet below an

       Public Function Detail(entity As String, id As String) As String

            Dim strRet As String

            Dim strSql As String

 

            Select Case entity.ToUpper

                Case "ELEMENT"

                    Me.ViewerHtml("<H1>Details element</H1>")

                    Me.ViewerDetail("SELECT name as elementnaam, stereotype, note as toelichting, '<a href=FrmDetail.aspx?module=package&id=' & package_id & '>Module informatie</a>' as [module] FROM [t_object] WHERE [object_id]=" & id)

                    Dim strCon As String

                    strCon = "SELECT start_object_id, '<img src=images/' & t_object.stereotype & '.png >' as logo, connector_type as type, t_object.name as element FROM [t_connector], [t_object] WHERE [t_connector].start_object_id = t_object.object_id AND [end_object_id]=" & id

                    strCon += " UNION "

                    strCon += "SELECT end_object_id, '<img src=images/' & t_object.stereotype & '.png >' as logo, connector_type as type, t_object.name as element FROM [t_connector], [t_object] WHERE [t_connector].end_object_id = t_object.object_id AND [start_object_id]=" & id

                    strCon += " ORDER BY 2, 3 "

                    Me.ViewerList(strCon, "FrmDetail.aspx?module=element&id=", "<H2>Associaties</H2>")

                    Me.ViewerList("SELECT t_diagram.diagram_id, t_diagram.name as diagramnaam FROM [t_diagramobjects], [t_diagram] WHERE [t_diagramobjects].diagram_id = [t_diagram].diagram_id AND [t_diagramobjects].object_id=" & id & " ORDER BY 2 ", "FrmDetail.aspx?module=diagram&id=", "<H2>Weergegeven in diagrammen</H2>")

                    Me.ViewerList("SELECT object_id, filename as bestandsnaam, '<a target=_blank href=' & filename & ' >Open bestand</a>' as link FROM [t_objectfiles] WHERE [object_id]=" & id, "", "<H2>Gekoppelde bestanden</H2>")

                    Me.ViewerList("SELECT ID, name as naam, container as [afkomstig van], lowerbound as mincard, upperbound as maxcard, notes as toelichting FROM [t_attribute] WHERE [object_id]=" & id, "", "<H2>Attributen</H2>")

                    Me.ViewerList("SELECT propertyid, property as eigenschap, value as waarde, notes as toelichting FROM [t_objectproperties] WHERE property LIKE 'Vz%' AND [object_id]=" & id, "", "<H2>Extra items</H2>")

                    If ViewerFactoryHelper.IsDiscussieLid() Then

                        Me.ViewerList("SELECT ea_discussion_id, EA_DISCUSSION.datum, EA_DISCUSSION.onderwerp, EA_DISCUSSION.toelichting, '<a class=''ddbutton'' href=cmsForm.aspx?formid=50315&ea_discussion_id=' & ea_discussion_id & ' >Detail en Reageer</a>' as link FROM EA_DISCUSSION WHERE EA_DISCUSSION.element_id = " & id & " ORDER BY 1 DESC", "", "<h2>Gestarte discussies over dit element</h2>", ConfigurationManager.AppSettings("connectionstring"))

                        Me.ViewerHtml("<a class='ddbutton' href='cmsForm.aspx?formid=50301&element_id=" & id & "' >Start Nieuwe discussie over dit element</a><br>")

                    End If

                Case Else

                    MyBase.objSB.Append("Niet gevonden")

            End Select

            strRet = MyBase.objSB.ToString()

            Return strRet

        End Function

In the code you can see a number of statements in combination with a connectionstring. The sql statements are also very informative because it gives an idea of how the information is retrieved from the repository. The viewer functions like ViewerHTML are used to call the right formtype in the form factory engine.

Exporting diagrams

One of the powerful aspects of EA is the diagramming tool in combination with the relational database to store the information. Reason to re use the diagrams in the WPP, but how to export the diagram’s from EA to a file readable in a web application.

The automation or scripting interface of EA offered a solution that was easy to implement. We export all the diagrams to a png file in a certain folder on a disk and this folder is published over FTP to the implementation of the WPP application. The code to export the diagrams is given below (the script can also be found on the WPP website.

option explicit

 

!INC Local Scripts.EAConstants-VBScript

' WARNING Change this constant for your own Export Directory

public const DirName = "c:\testbert"

 

sub OnProjectBrowserScript()

               

                ' Get the type of element selected in the Project Browser

                dim treeSelectedType

                treeSelectedType = Repository.GetTreeSelectedItemType()

               

                ' Handling Code: Uncomment any types you wish this script to support

                ' NOTE: You can toggle comments on multiple lines that are currently

                ' selected with [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+[C].

                select case treeSelectedType

 

                               case otPackage

                                               ' Code for when a package is selected

                                               dim thePackage as EA.Package

                                               set thePackage = Repository.GetTreeSelectedObject()

                                               ExportDiagrams(thePackage)

                                               Session.Prompt "Diagrams exported to " & DirName, promptOK

                               case else

                                               ' Error message

                                               Session.Prompt "This script does not support items of this type.", promptOk

                end select

end sub

 

Sub ExportDiagrams(objPackage)

    Dim objProject as EA.Project

    Dim objDiagram as EA.Diagram

 

    set objProject = Repository.GetProjectInterface()

    For Each objDiagram In objPackage.Diagrams

        Repository.OpenDiagram(objDiagram.DiagramID)

        objProject.SaveDiagramImageToFile(DirName & "\" & objDiagram.DiagramID & ".png")

        Repository.CloseDiagram(objDiagram.DiagramID)

    Next

    Dim objChild

    For Each objChild In objPackage.Packages

        ExportDiagrams(objChild)

    Next

End Sub

OnProjectBrowserScript

The export diagram routine in the code does the job. We loop through a collection of diagrams in a package and each diagram is saved with the objProject.SaveDiagramImageToFile() method. The parameters and naming is connected to the naming convention in the WPP implementation.

The open source solution

For this WPP platform we decided to publish it as an Open Source Solution in the hope that a community of users will emerge to continue the development of this solution. This means that the code can be downloaded from the WPP website. This WPP website is by the way an example of a architecture repository view based on the form factory framework. It is actually a WPP publication of a sample repository in an eap file in combination with some extra information pages about the product.

More information

More information about the WPP is available at the WPP website: http://wpp.interactory.nl . Please subscribe to the community and use the material in your own situation. Also take part in the forums to report bugs or discuss new functionality. In the blog section I with regularly describe functionality etc. When you want to have more information about modelling in ArchiMate or the usage of architecture repository please contact me via the contact page of the wpp website.

Published in Community Resources

The EA Navigator is a free and open-source (BSD License) add-in for Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect that makes the life of any Enterprise Architect user a lot easier.

It allows for quick navigation between different elements in a model, especially between those elements that are not easily found using the standard EA features.

Using the dockable add-in window it retains a history of the 50 last selected model elements, and shows the important related elements at a glance.

The EA Navigator is part of the Enterprise Architect Toolpack

It allows you to navigate between:

  • Operations and Sequence/Communication diagrams
  • Operations and their implementation (Behavior)
  • Operations and CallOperationActions
  • Types and Parameters
  • Types and Attributes
  • Tagged Values and the elements they reference
  • Elements and their owner

And to any Fully Qualified Name (FQN) or GUID that has been copied to the clipboard.

Prerequisites

Download

download button v2.4
EA Navigator older versions

Docked window

Once installed there should be a new menu option Navigate in the Add-Ins/Extensions menu.

If this option is not visible then something must have gone something wrong during the installation.

The EA Navigator will now show its functions depending on the type the element that is selected. You can either access its function using the main menu, or using the right-click context menu.

In order to enable the “docked window” feature of the EA navigator check the optionExtensions|Add-In Windows

The Navigator window will now show up somewhere in your application

EANavigator_docked

Icons

 

Toolbar Actions

Toolbar

The toolbar on top of he docked contains the following actions, from left to right:

Select in Project Browser

Toolbar_selectInBrowser

This option will select the selected element in the EA Navigator window in Enterprise Architect’s project browser. (similar to Alt-G from a diagram)

Open Properties

Toolbar_openProperties

Opens the properties dialog for the selected element

Add to Diagram

Toolbar_addToDiagram

The add to diagram button will add the selected element in the EA Navigator tree to the currently opened diagram.

The element will be added to the top left corner of the diagram.

Navigate to Fully Qualified Name

Toolbar_toFQN

Selects the element that matches the node path (FQN) in the clipboard. If there is no valid FQN string in the clipboard the EA Navigator will show a dialog asking for the FQN.

Select Element from GUID

Toolbar_selectGUID

Each item, elements, attributes, operations, diagrams, etc… has a unique id in the form of a GUID (example: {C06EF618-D57C-4f63-BF64-F5A5265694AE}).

Pressing the Navigate to GUID button will allow you to go to that element using it’s GUID. If there’s already a GUID in your windows clipboard then the EA Navigator will use that one. If not the EA navigator will show a dialog where you can past (or type) the GUID.

For elements shown in the project browser you can easily copy the GUID to your clipboard using the context menu Copy Reference|Copy Node GUID to Clipboard

CopyGUIDClipBoard

Options

Toolbar_options

Opens the options dialog allowing you to tune the EA Navigators behavior to your liking.

Quicksearch_options

All options are stored in the users profile, so different users on the same machine can have different options

About

Toolbar_about

Opens the About dialog

About dialog

Quicksearch

Toolbar_Quicksearch

Start typing in the Quicksearch box and you will get a list of all things in the model who’s name start with whatever you have typed.

Hovering an item in the dropdown list will show you it’s fully qualified name in the tooltip.

Quicksearch_dropped

Selecting an item will select it in the EA Navigator tree.

The Quicksearch also comes with a whole bunch of options, you can choose which types of items to search for, and with the Actions you can choose what to do when an item from the Quicksearch is selected.

Navigation options

Below you find all navigation options grouped by the element(s) they are available on

All

  • Owner
    Selects the owner of the selected element

 All Except diagrams

  • … Tags
    Shows the elements referenced by the owned “RefGUID” style tagged values.

    These tagged values translate to the following options in the EA Navigator window

  • Referencing Tagged Values
    Navigates to the opposite direction of the … Tags. Shows all RefGUID style tagged values that reference the selected element
    .
  • Link to Element Feature
    EA has the possibility to define links between features of an element such as Attributes or Operations using the Connect to Element Feature feature, which is very useful in a lot of situations.Visually EA shows which feature is linked using brackets next to the connected Attribute or Operation.

     

    LinkToElementFeature

    The is all nice and dandy, but the downside of the story is that you can only see which features are linked by looking at the diagram.

    Now with the EA Navigator you can simply navigate from one feature to the other

    NavigateLinkToElementFeature

Operation

  • Diagrams
    Shows all sequence diagrams that contain a message calling this operation or contain an Action that calls this operation.
  • Parameter Types
    Shows all types of the parameters of this operation.
  • Calling Actions (not for messages)
    Shows the CallOperationActions calling this operation
  • Implementation
    Shows the diagrams owned by the behavior of this operation.

Message (in sequence diagram)

  • Operation
    Select the called operation in the project browser.
  • Diagrams
    Shows the sequence diagrams for the called operation?
  • Parameter Types
    Shows the parameter types for the called operation
  • Implementation
    Selects the Behavior element for the called operation in the project browser and opens all diagrams owned by this Behavior.

Classifier

  • Dependent Attributes
    Shows all attributes that use the selected classifier as type
  • Dependent Parameters
    Shows all parameters that use the selected classifier as type

Attribute

  • Type
    Shows the type of the attribute.

Sequence Diagram

  • Operations
    N
    avigate to all operations called on the diagram.

Open Diagrams dialog

When the function Diagrams is selected the Open Diagram dialog will open

From this dialog you can select the diagrams you wish to view and click the Open button to open the selected diagram in EA.

You can also double-click on a single diagram, which will also open the diagram.

Select Elements dialog

The Select Elements dialog will be shown if a list any other type of elements need to be shown.

Clicking the Select button, or double-clicking an element in the list will select that element in the project browser.
Elements that are grayed-out are non-selectable elements such as primitives.

Other Resources

Published in Community Resources