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Sparx Services North America launches new offerings to support the BIZBOK® Guide for Business Architecture

Sparx Services North America is pleased to announce a new set of training, consulting and technology offerings aligned to the BIZBOK Guide to support the Business Architecture discipline.  Business Architecture is an essential part of companies’ digital transformation and operational excellence strategies - weaving together people, processes, information and technology in support of strategic vision and operational objectives. A Guide to the Business Architecture Body of Knowledge® (BIZBOK Guide) from the Business Architecture Guild® represents the generally accepted standards of practice for the Business Architecture discipline.

BIZBOK Training Offerings

Whether you are a new or aspiring Business Architect seeking to learn the fundamentals of the role; a seasoned Enterprise, Business, Information or Systems Architect looking to add the BIZBOK methodology to your toolbox; or a company that uses Sparx Enterprise Architect today and are looking to bring best-practices into your architecture function – the BIZBOK training offerings from Sparx Services North America, a Guild Accredited Training Provider®, can help provide the skills you need to succeed.

BIZBOK Foundation: A 3-day course covering the core framework content of the BIZBOK to help students prepare for the Certified Business Architect® exam from the Business Architecture Guild.

Sparx Enterprise Architect BIZBOK: A 2-day course to help students understand how to use Sparx Enterprise Architect (the industry leading EA tool) to support Business Architecture activities as outlined in the BIZBOK.

BIZBOK Essentials: A 5-day course that combines the framework and essential concepts from the BIZBOK Foundation course with the practical application and tooling guidance from the implementation course into an intensive overview to give students the knowledge and skills to apply the BIZBOK in their daily work. 

Business Architecture Alignment and Integration: A 2-day course focused on leveraging the BIZBOK concepts to integrate Business Architecture with existing EA, Business Analysis and Solution Delivery functions.

BIZBOK Consulting Offerings

As active contributors to the Business Architecture Guild, the architects from Sparx Services North America understand how to apply the BIZBOK framework and methods within the context of a company’s EA/BA practice along with best-practices for configuring and using Sparx Enterprise Architect to support the BIZBOK methods.

Coming Soon! BIZBOK Extension for Sparx Enterprise Architect

Sparx Services North America will soon be releasing a new BIZBOK Extension (MDG Technology) for the Sparx Enterprise Architect platform - providing pre-configured objects, data models and templates to enable Business Architects to quickly perform techniques direct from the BIZBOK using the industry leading EA tool, Sparx Enterprise Architect.

To learn more about the BIZBOK offerings from Sparx Services North America, visit www.sparxsystems.us/bizbok or contact one of our BIZBOK experts at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

gatp badgeSparx Certified Training Stamp

Business Architecture Guild, BIZBOK, A Guide to the Business Architecture Body of Knowledge, Certified Business Architect, CBA, Guild Accredited Training Program, and GATP are trademarks or registered trademarks of the Business Architecture Guild. Sparx Systems, Enterprise Architect, MDG Integration, and MDG Technology are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sparx Systems Pty Ltd

Published in News
Monday, 30 October 2017 06:00

HTML Report 2, Electric Boogaloo

HTML Report 2, Electric Boogaloo

As a sequel to my previous article on how to edit the CSS generated by Enterprise Architect to personalise your generated HTML report I was prompted by Guillaume to create this follow up as he gave me an idea on how to make these changes prior to generation. As we have already identified the changes that we need to make in the previous article we can actually create our own customised version of the CSS EA would use and specify that this is then used as we create our HTML report.


So how do we do this?

Keeping in mind the list of changes that we need to make:

  1. Change the attributes for .IndexHeader so that the logo fits within the header of the report.
  2. Change the attributes for .IndexBody to cater for the changes that we have made to the header.
  3. Change the attributes for #contentIFrame so that the content section of the report fills the correct amount of the screen.
  4. Change the attributes of #tocIFrame so the table of content is displayed correctly.

With these changes in mind we are ready to get to work on defining our template. To do this you will need to fire up EA. At the bottom of your project browser you will see a tab labelled Resources, click this…

HTML Report 2, Electric Boogaloo

Having clicked this your view will change to…

HTML Report 2, Electric Boogaloo

You will then need to click into the section for Document Generation…

HTML Report 2, Electric Boogaloo

Next, right click Web Style Templates and choose Create HTML Template. This will bring up the following dialog…

HTML Report 2, Electric Boogaloo

Enter a name for your new template and a new window will open…

HTML Report 2, Electric Boogaloo

You can select any of the options listed in the left hand pane for editing by simply clicking on them. As the changes we are looking to make are relatively simple the only option that we need to concern ourselves with is CSS – Main. Click this option and you will see the following…

HTML Report 2, Electric Boogaloo

You will then see the CSS display itself in the right hand pane, navigate to the areas of interest by pressing ctrl+f and entering the headings outlined earlier. Clicking on the find next button will take you to these areas in the CSS and you can make the necessary changes. Once you have made the changes click save and then click close. With these actions complete you are now ready to generate a new HTML report that will automatically use your custom CSS.

As before right click on your project in the project browser and choose HTML Report…

HTML Report 2, Electric Boogaloo

Clicking this will display the familiar dialog…

HTML Report 2, Electric Boogaloo

Under the Style option you will now be able to have a drop down menu that will list the names of any custom templates that you have created. For this example, I have changed the style to be the CUSTOM template created earlier in this article, this means that when we generate our report EA will now use our predefined custom CSS rather than the standard set. We also need to specify our logo as before, then click Generate.

The result is that our HTML report has been generated with no changes to be made and that we can re-use our template every time that we need to create this kind of report…

HTML Report 2, Electric Boogaloo

Published in Tutorials

5 reasons why web based sharing and collaboration is imperative for modeling teams.

Enterprise Architect offers a wide spectrum of modeling solutions that lets users capture all
facets of an IT landscape. The models are rich, comprehensive and greatly helps in articulating key
answers to business queries. This article shows 5 key reasons why web based sharing and
collaboration maximizes the value of these models.

Acceptance from the business community - Models in Enterprise Architect convey pivotal information
to business users. Sharing a selected view of the model with focused information lets business users
conveniently view the live information. This maximizes acceptance of models as the key source
for due diligence. See how a business user can view models by clicking a link
View Live Diagram

Minimize Learning Curve - Viewing simplified views of models over web browsers and iPads greatly
reduces the learning curve in getting accustomed to a new modeling tool. The business users gets to
see what is relevant for them. Simple, modern web interfaces allows quick understanding and
fosters engagement significantly. A targeted set of diagrams can be shown in a
Thumbnail View a
customized
User Dashboards to let the business users quickly navigate their way around.

Simple and Focused - Models are comprehensive, which also makes it overloaded with information.
Simplifying an end users view is highly imperative to convey the right details. Prolaborate, is a web
sharing software for Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect, allowing the creation of simplified portals for users.

This can be used to define highly curated views on any part of the model. See how a process diagram and its details are
simplified
Process Diagram

Instant Feedback and Updates - Enterprise Architect diagrams are created to answer key user queries or demands.
Such finished diagrams are usually printed in Word documents and the review comments are
gathered in Excel. A live sharing platform like Prolaborate lets modelers and end-users to view live
Enterprise Architect diagrams, share Feedback on live diagrams, and also get the changes updated instantly. This
greatly reduces the turnaround time and improves agility.
Participate in Review


Keep them Notified - Another significant challenge in keeping the users notified of new discussions,
model changes, review comments, approvals, rejections etc is also addressed by the web sharing
solutions. Social media like discussion portals, instant notifications, email notifications, daily
summary and much more lets users to be always informed of key events from the team.
Learn more
on Notifications


Prolaborate, powered by Sparx Systems Pro Cloud Server, is a sharing and collaboration software for Enterprise Architect that allows these models to be conveniently shared to non-modeling community.

To know more on how you can enable collaborative modeling please visit www.prolaborate.com or
write to
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Published in White Papers

Editing an HTML report generated from Enterprise Architect using CSS

Introduction

This article will walk you through the process of making a couple of simple tweaks to your HTML Report generated from Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect.


So what's the challenge here?

If you have ever needed to create a quick and simple report to walk a colleague or stakeholder through certain aspects of your model, then by far the quickest and easiest route is to generate an HTML Report from EA.

This will create an HTML version of your project locally that can be navigated & drilled down into (but not updated etc). When creating this report, you have the option to include your own logo as a way of adding a little bit of an extra visual engagement to your publication.

The challenge that you can, and will likely, run into is that there is a set size for the logo that EA does not tell you about and you will not see the effect of until you view the report and see that your logo is cut off by content.


How do I fix this?

To start you will need to generate an HTML report from your model. If you are not sure of how to do this simply right click the root node of your model in EA and choose “HTML Report” from the menu…

Editing an HTML report generated from Enterprise Architect using CSS

When you click this option you will be presented with the following dialog…

Editing an HTML report generated from Enterprise Architect using CSS

In this dialog check all the options that you want to include in your report and specify your output destination folder and your logo image. When ready, click “Generate” and you will have a progress bar pop up momentarily while EA generates your report.

When this process has finished you can either click “View” or navigate to your Output folder & open the file “Index.htm” (there will be other files & folders generated as well but for now this all you will need).

When opened you will see something like this….

Editing an HTML report generated from Enterprise Architect using CSS

As you can see, the logo is too big for the report and there is no way to address this issue inside of EA.

So what do we do?


The Solution!

The first thing we do is to open up the HTML report using Chrome. This itself posed its own challenge initially as out of the box Chrome does not really support file based URLs, but there is a work around for this (thanks to Phil Chudley for showing me this).

Firstly, find your shortcut for Chrome, right click it and choose “Properties”. When the Properties window appears locate the section labelled “Target” and add the following to the end of the information there:

--allow-file-access-from-files

Make sure that you include a space between …chrome.exe” and the string shown above for this to work.

Editing an HTML report generated from Enterprise Architect using CSS

We now need to make some changes to the HTML report.

Earlier I mentioned that there are several files generated at your output destination when you create this HTML report. One of those folders is titled CSS and contains two files, you will need to open the “ea.css”, personally I use Notepad for this but there are a host of tools you could use.

With your CSS file open and with Chrome displaying your report it’s time to start editing.

Hover your cursor over your logo, right click and choose the “Inspect” tool…

Editing an HTML report generated from Enterprise Architect using CSS

This will open up a new Chrome window displaying the developer tools…

Editing an HTML report generated from Enterprise Architect using CSS

The sections that we will need to pay attention to are:

  • IndexHeader; this will be apparent immediately if you choose to inspect the logo
  • IndexBody; you will see this below IndexHeader but you will also need to expand this section clicking the triangular icon to the left of it to expose the other areas we need:
    • tocIFrame; this is the section of the page containing the model tree in your report
    • contentIFrame; this is the main section of your report that displays your information

.IndexHeader

Editing an HTML report generated from Enterprise Architect using CSS

This is the CSS controlling the display of this section of the report. The important factor here is the height property. As you can see, it is by default only 60 pixels tall and in our example the logo is larger than this.

To adjust this click into the area where it displays “60px”. You can overwrite this with your desired figure or you can adjust it your logo by using the up arrow to increase the height one pixel at a time. In our example I changed mine to 91px.

With your ea.css file open you will need to find .IndexHeader in there and adjust the height to your new value. Save but don’t close your ea.css file.

You will, for now, still see something similar to this…

Editing an HTML report generated from Enterprise Architect using CSS

What we now need to do is make the body of our report work with the changes that we have made to the header.

To do this we need to make some changes to the section of the CSS for .IndexBody

.IndexBody

Using the developer tools window you now need to pay attention to the CSS for this section…



The change we need to make here is to the position attribute from position: absolute; to position: inherit;

You will see that this changes the position of the body of the report allowing the header section to be fully displayed along with our logo...

Editing an HTML report generated from Enterprise Architect using CSS

Make sure to adjust this section in your ea.css file & save.

You will notice that this has created a new issue in that the frame housing our table of contents has now shrunk. You can still expand and use this section as you normally would however it quickly results in excessive scrolling. This is something that we don’t want and so we will need to make a couple more changes to fix this.

#contentIFrame

This is the frame that displays our content & in the developer tools it will look like this…

Editing an HTML report generated from Enterprise Architect using CSS

In the developer tools this section will appear grey and so cannot be edited there. Instead you will need to locate this section in the ea.css file and make the change there without previewing it.

The change that you will need to make is to the attribute height: 100%; to instead be height: -webkit-fill-available; as shown above. Then save your ea.css file. This will set the size for the main display frame.

Next we need to look at the frame for the table of contents.

#tocIFrame

To make our Iframe look correct we will need to make the same change as we have just made to the content frame…

Editing an HTML report generated from Enterprise Architect using CSS

Again the change that you will need to make is to the attribute height: 100%; to instead be height: -webkit-fill-available; as shown above.

Then save your ea.css file.

You have now completed the changes necessary to have your HTML report display properly and with your own logo. From now on you will see something akin to this upon opening…

Editing an HTML report generated from Enterprise Architect using CSS

Everything is now exactly where you would expect it to be and in a useable fashion.

There is something to bear in mind should you choose to use this method. If after following this method, you need to make changes to your model & regenerate the HTML report to the same output destination then your changes to the CSS will be overwritten as well.

To get around this, before you regenerate your HTML report simply rename the ea.css file to something else e.g. ea – NEW.css and then regenerate the report.

What you find now is that in the CSS folder in your output destination there will now be another file called ea.css and this is the one that the report will default to. Simply delete this file and rename the ea – NEW.css file back to ea.css having done this your updated report will open & use your modified CSS still.

Obviously there is a lot more styling you could apply by using the CSS, this is just a simple fix for a particularly common bugbear with the HTML Report.

You can find more content like this on our YouTube channel, Facebook and Twitter.

Published in Tutorials

The second Sparx University Week will be run during October, with most training sessions being held during the week of October 23-27.

University Weeks are hosted by Sparx Systems Japan, Sparx Systems Central Europe, Sparx Services North America, Sparx Systems India and Sparx Services UK (Hippo Software).

uni week 2 hi rct

The delivery format for each course varies depending on the subject, audience and location, with a mix of both online and face-to-face seminars and courses.

It is anticipated that Sparx University Week will be run on a global basis every few months, in conjunction with Sparx Systems Sister and Services Partner network.

Bookings are essential, please review the course schedule below and visit the course provider's website for more details and to register your place.

 

Sparx University Week Schedule:

 Facilitator: Date/Time: Course Title: Location: Language: Link:
Sparx Systems Central Europe Mon 16 Oct: 9:00am - 12:00pm CEST UML Fundamentals with Enterprise Architect - Free Session!  Online Delivery  English Details & Registration
Sparx Systems Central Europe Thur 19 - Fri 20 October Model-based Development with Enterprise Architect Nuremberg, Germany German Details & Registration
Sparx Systems Japan Fri 20 Oct: 1:30pm - 5:45pm JST

Enterprise Architect Introductory Seminar - Free Session!

Yokohama, Japan Japanese Details & Registration
Sparx Services UK (Hippo Software) Mon 23 - Tue 24 October Enterprise Architect, BPMN and Use Cases Online Delivery English Details & Registration
Sparx Systems Central Europe Mon 23 - Tue 24 October Enterprise Architect Foundations Munich, Germany German Details & Registration
Sparx Systems Central Europe Tue 24 - Wed 25 October SysML with Enterprise Architect Munich, Germany German Details & Registration
Sparx Systems Central Europe Tue 24 - Wed 25 October Enterprise Architect Foundations Zurich, Switzerland German Details & Registration
Sparx Systems Central Europe Tue 24 - Wed 25 October Enterprise Architect for Developers Amsterdam, Netherlands English Details & Registration
Sparx Systems Central Europe Tue 24 - Wed 25 October Enterprise Architect for Developers Vienna, Austria English Details & Registration
Sparx Systems North America Tue 24 - Thur 26 October BIZBOK® 4 Foundation with Enterprise Architect Online Delivery English Details & Registration
Sparx Systems India Tue 24 - Thur 26 October Enterprise Architect for Business Analysis Online Delivery English Details & Registration
Sparx Services UK (Hippo Software) Wed 25 - Thur 26 October Enterprise Architect and ArchMate  Online Delivery English Details & Registration
Sparx Systems Japan Fri 27 Oct: 1:30pm - 5:40pm JST Enterprise Architect Utilization Seminar - Free Session! Yokohama, Japan Japanese Details & Registration

 

Published in Events

Knowledge Exchange & Networking Opportunity

Join us in Chicago on Thursday 16th of November to hear from senior representatives from Sparx Systems HQ and Sparx Services North America, along with Partners and senior industry representatives. Lunch and refreshments will be provided during the day.

North America Enterprise Architect User Group


Tom O'Reilly COO, will highlight the latest product developments from Sparx Systems and provide insights into the new features of Enterprise Architect 14 and the Pro Cloud Server.  Presentations from Sparx Systems US Partners and leading industry experts will provide insightful case studies and valuable solutions based on world best practice.

Enterprise Architect User Group events are an ideal opportunity to foster collaboration and develop long lasting professional relationships.

North America Enterprise Architect User Group:

  • Date / Time: Thursday 16th November, 8:00am to 5:00pm CST
  • Venue: East-West University, 816 Michigan Avenue, Chicago IL
  • Tickets: $100 per person - includes Networking Lunch

Limited Availability - Register Today!

Published in Events

Upcoming Community-based End User Events in Europe - September & October, 2017

EA User Group Logo 130h

 

Two European User Group events will be held during late September and early October. The Scottish Gathering of Enterprise Architect Users will be held again in Livingston, as well as a new 2 day User Group event to be hosted at the Aeropolis in Brussels.

 

Scottish Gathering of Enterprise Architect Users - 29th September, 2017

Hippo Software will be hosting their next User Group event at Livingston, Scotland; the single day event costs just £48, including lunch and refreshments. Previous Scottish End User events have been very popular and is an excellent opportunity to share knowledge and network with like-minded professionals.

Delegate registrations are open now, event hosts are also requesting Speaker submissions until August 31; for more details please visit the event website.

Event Details & Registration

Brussels Enterprise Architect User Group - 5th & 6th October, 2017

The 2 day event includes an 'EA training day' and a typical User Group day. Delegates can register for either or both days, early bird discounts end on the 18th of August. Previous User Group events held in the region have been very popular, the new 2 day format will provide additional value to delegates.

Event hosts are currently requesting Presentation submissions and Sponsorship opportunities are also available, please visit the event website for details.

Event Details & Registration

Published in Events

 

Thistle Logo.gif

Hippo Software is hosting the Scottish Gathering of Enterprise Architect Users 2017 in Livingston on Friday 29th September 2017 (9am to 4pm).

This is a great chance to attend a friendly and relaxed get together of like-minded IT professionals currently using Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect. It is an excellent opportunity to share real-world experiences, knowledge, ideas and innovations.

If you would like to join us, please visit our website to download a Delegate Registration form.

 

More information (URL): http://www.hippo-software.co.uk/pages/EAGathering.htm

Published in Events

A series of global knowledge exchange sessions will be held during the month of July, the inaugural Sparx University Week will be hosted by Sparx Systems Japan, Sparx Systems Central Europe, and Sparx Services North America.

Sparx Uni Week BannerThe format of each course will be varied, depending on the subject, audience and location; sessions being held in July feature a mix of both online and face-to-face seminars and courses.

It is anticipated that Sparx University Week will be run on a global basis every few months, in conjunction with Sparx Systems Sister and Services Partner network.

Seminars being held in Japan have already proved to be popular, requiring an additional seminar scheduled for early August to cater for market demand.

 

Sparx University Week Schedule:

 Facilitator: Date/Time: Course Title: Location: Language: Link:
Sparx Systems Japan Fri 21 July: 1:30pm - 5:45pm JST

Introduction to Enterprise Architect SOLD OUT!

Additional seminar: Tues, Aug 1

Yokohama, Japan Japanese Details & Registration
Sparx Services North America Mon, July 24: 9:00am MDT

01-0615:

System Development

Online Delivery English Details & Registration
Sparx Systems Central Europe Mon 24 - Tue 25 July CEST

UML for Developers

with Enterprise Architect

Vienna, Austria English Details & Registration
Sparx Services North America Tues 25 July: 9:00am MDT

01-0626: 

Requirements Management

Online Delivery English Details & Registration
Sparx Systems Central Europe Tues 25 - Wed 26 July CEST

UML for Developers

with Enterprise Architect

Amsterdam, Netherlands English Details & Registration
Sparx Systems Central Europe Tues 25 - Wed 26 July CEST

UML for Developers

with Enterprise Architect

Munich, Germany German Details & Registration
Sparx Services North America Wed 26 July: 9:00am MDT

01-0614:

Business Process Modeling

Online Delivery English Details & Registration
Sparx Systems Central Europe Wed 26 - Thur 27 July CEST

UML for Developers

with Enterprise Architect

Vienna, Austria German Details & Registration
Sparx Services North America Thur 27 July: 9:00am MDT

01-0625:

Sparx EA Systems Engineering

Online Delivery  English Details & Registration 
Sparx Systems Central Europe Thur 27 - Fri 28 July CEST

Systems Engineering

with Enterprise Architect

Munich, Germany German Details & Registration
Sparx Systems Central Europe Thur 27 - Fri 28 July CEST

Model Driven Engineering

with Enterprise Architect

Nuremberg, Germany German Details & Registration
Sparx Systems Central Europe Thur 27 - Fri 28 July CEST

UML for Developers

with Enterprise Architect

Zurich, Switzerland English Details & Registration
Published in Events

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.

eatests

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.

Published in Events
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