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Saturday, 08 October 2016 00:55

Sparx Systems Releases Enterprise Architect 13

Sparx Systems is proud to announce the full release of Enterprise Architect Version 13.

This groundbreaking build focuses on streamlining the user interface, agile teams, model management and parametric simulation.

 

Enterprise Architect 13 - A Fresh New Look!

 

In its 15 years of continuous development, Enterprise Architect has become the pre-eminent visual modeling platform, bringing together all aspects of the development cycle. Its feature-set has evolved to provide traceability, from the initial design phase through to deployment, maintenance, testing and change control. Version 13 delivers significant new capabilities in these areas and delivers them, in a streamlined and agile interface.

 

Enterprise Architect 13, represents many years of research, consultation and development - working with a broad community of customers, partners and industry observers. This has helped make this release what Sparx Systems has identified as truly defining.

 

Sparx Systems is confident, that the combination of distributed agile modeling and design, cloud based repository, Kanban project management, simulation, software development and database engineering capabilities of Version 13, will represent a powerful platform for realizing even the most ambitious projects.

 

A full list of updates and enhancements in Enterprise Architect 13 can be found at the Sparx Systems website.

 

Additional resources:

Published in News

I ran a number of times a 3 day training course for a client in the automotive industry on SysML with Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect tool to model complex systems. This training course in french involved two instructors: Pascal Roques, a SysML and Systems Engineering expert in France, and myself on modelling and Sparx Enterprise Architect.

This training course combines the theory with the SysML modelling language brought by Pascal expertise alongside Enteprise Architect as a SysML modelling tool, brought by Viseo. 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.

Following several successful "intra company" training sessions, Pascal and myself have decided to run "inter-company" training sessions throughout France, starting 2017. The first SysML + Enterprise Architect training session will take place in Grenoble in April (4 to 6th April).

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

Published in News
Tuesday, 16 August 2016 21:34

Automated FMU Generation from UML Models

Automated FMU Generation from UML Models

 
Original created by: Manuel Geier and Bernhard Sadransky
(www.sysml4industry.org)


Introduction

The simulation of cyber-physical systems plays an increasingly important role in the development process of such systems. It enables the engineers to get a better understanding of the system in the early phases of the development. These complex systems are composed of different subsystems, each subsystem model is designed with its own specialized tool sets. Because of this heterogeneity the coordination and integration of these subsystem models becomes a challenge.

The Functional Mockup Interface (FMI) specification was developed by an industry consortium as a tool independent interface standard for integration and simulation of dynamic systems models. The models that conform to this standard are called Functional Mockup Units (FMU).

In this work we provide a method for automated FMU generation from UML models, making it possible to use model driven engineering techniques in the design and simulation of complex cyber-physical systems.

Functional Mockup Interface

The Functional Mockup Interface (FMI) specification is a standardized interface to be used in computer simulations for the creation of complex cyber-physical systems. The idea behind it being that if a real product is composed of many interconnected parts, it should be possible to create a virtual product which is itself assembled by combining a set of models. For example a car can be seen as a combination of many different subsystems, like engine, gearbox or thermal system. These subsystems can be modeled as Functional Mockup Units (FMU) which conform to the FMI standard.

The Functional Mockup Unit (FMU) represents a (runnable) model of a (sub)system and can be seen as the implementation of an Functional Mockup Interface (FMI). It is distributed as one ZIP file archive, with a ".fmu" file extension, containing:
  • FMI model description file in XML format. It contains static information about the FMU instance. Most importantly the FMU variables and their attributes such as name, unit, default initial value etc. are stored in this file. A simulation tool importing the FMU will parse the model description file and initialize its environment accordingly.
  • FMI application programming interface provided as a set of standardized C functions. C is used because of its portability and because it can be utilized in all embedded control systems. The C API can be provided either in source code and/or in binary form for one or several target machines, for example Windows dynamic link libraries (".dll") or Linux shared libraries (".so").
  • Additional FMU data (tables, maps) in FMU specific file formats

The inclusion of the FMI model description file and the FMI API is mandatory according to the FMI standard.

Tools

Enterprise Architect is a visual modeling and design tool supporting various industry standards including UML. It is extensible via plugins written in C# or Visual Basic. The UML models from which we generate our FMU are defined with Enterprise Architect.

Embedded Engineer is a plugin for Enterprise Architect that features automated C/C++ code generation from UML models.

We further used the FMU SDK from QTronic for creating the FMI API. It also comes with a simple solver which we used to test our solution.

Running Example

Our basic example to test our solution is called Inc. It is a simple FMU with an internal counter which is initialized at the beginning and it increments this counter by a specified step value, each time it gets triggered, until a final to value is reached or exceeded.

State Machine

The state machine contains just an initial pseudo state which initializes the state machine and a state called Step. The Step state has two transitions, one transition to itself, in case the counter is still lower then the to value, if this is the case, the inc() operation will be called and we are again in the Step state. If the value is equal or greater to the to value, it reaches the final state and no further process will be done.


Class diagram

The class diagram consists of two parts. The left part with the Inc class is project specific. It holds three attributes: counterstep and to. All attributes are of type int. The initial value for the counter is 0, for the step it's 5 and for the to value it's 50. The FSM classes on the right are the mandatory classes for the Embedded Engineer to be able to generate the state machine code.
Some specific implementation code also exists in various places. In the state machine you can see, that we have some guards on the transitions. These guards are actually code that will be used to generate the code for the state machine:

me->counter < me->to

and

me->counter >= me->to

The property me represents a pointer to an instance of the Inc class.

And finally the implementation of the inc() operation is also provided:

me->counter = me->counter + me->step;



 

Manual Code Generation

First we manually created our reference Inc FMU, the following steps where taken:
  1. UML models were defined in Enterprise Architect (class diagram and state machine diagram)
  2. C code was generated from the previously created models (with the Embedded Engineer plugin)
  3. The FMI model description xml file and the FMI API were created by hand
  4. The (compiled) FMI API was packaged together with the model description file into a FMU file. This was done with a batch script.
 
 

Automatic Code Generation

Now we want to automate the creation of the FMI model description file and the FMI API. For this purpose we wrote our own Enterprise Architect plugin. To be able to generate semantically correct FMI model description and FMI API artifacts, we attached additional information to the UML models. This was achived through the definition of various UML stereotypes for UML class attributes and methods. Since the FMI defines its own data types we also had to map the data types used in the UML models to the corresponding FMI data types. With these challenges addressed we were able to implement our FMU generation plugin.

 

Future Work

Our work comprises a fundamental prototype that is only a start and could be improved in various ways. The following list describes some issues that could be tackled.
  • One limitation of the current implementation is that we are not able to provide initial values for the FMU. Consequently, to test different configurations of our FMU, we always have to set the default values in the UML models and regenerate the FMU for the simulator again. Hence, future work includes creating new stereo types for initialization of FMU settings/variables and testing these bindings.
  • We used the FMU SDK simulator for this project. Other (more powerful) simulators should be tested too. Furthermore, co-simulation with other FMUs needs to be tested.
  • In our project we restricted ourselves to just look at discrete functions by using the event system of the FMU. To continue the journey we also have to consider continuous functions.
  • More complex examples should be considered to test the capabilities of the automatically generated code. By creating more complex examples the practical limitations of modeling a FMU with a class diagram and a finite state machine need to be discovered. Questions like "What can be implemented?" and "What can not be implemented?" need to be answered.
  • The automated code generation process could be reduced to a one-click functionality to directly generate the ".fmu" file without any additional compilation and packaging step necessary.
 

Acknowledgement

This work has been supported by LieberLieber in the context of the CDL-Flex project: http://www.sysml4industry.org/.

Screencast

Screencast FMU with UML

Published in White Papers

planet nine in outer space artistic depictionOn 20 January 2016, researchers Konstantin Batygin and Michael E. Brown at Caltech announced a calculation-based evidence of a massive ninth planet in the Solar System.

Planet Nine would be 10 times the mass of Earth (approximately 5,000 times the mass of Pluto), and have an orbit that is so far away that it could take it 15,000 Earth years to orbit the Sun. It would most likely be an ice giant with a thick atmosphere of hydrogen and helium.

 

lsst graphic

However, as Zeljko Ivezic (Large Synoptic Survey Telescope Project Scientist) suggests “if it exists, might be too small to be discovered with ongoing sky surveys, but large enough to be discovered even with only the first year of LSST data! That would be a great way to start the survey!”

Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect is providing a scalable, shared model to integrate the work of the geographically dispersed LSST team. Enterprise Architect has delivered complete requirements traceability, round-trip code engineering and detailed SysML support.

 

Additional Resources:

  • Case Study: Designing the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope with Enterprise Architect - PDF Document
  • Download E-Book: 20 Terabytes a Night: Designing the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope's Image Processing Pipelines - PDF Document
  • Official website: Large Synoptic Survey Telescope - Visit Site

 

Creative Commons Attribution: Planet Nine in Outer Space artistic depiction image by Prokaryotes

Published in Sparx Insights

Supported by Sparx SystemsEA User Group Conference; London - The agenda takes shape...

We have received an amazing level of response to the call for speakers for the London conference and can now provide a preview of how the agenda is shaping up for London; 

EA User Group - London Conference 2015

We're still in the draft stages and so timings and presentations are still subject to change.

The call for speakers doesn't close until the end of the month so if you have a story to share and would feel like sharing it with the community then This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The conference will be taking place at the Park Plaza County Hall, 1 Addington Street, London, SE1 7RY, United Kingdom.

Tickets for this event are already on sale via the EA User Group website.

We look forward to seeing you all in London.

Published in News
Wednesday, 18 February 2015 09:43

Dunstan Thomas launch online training service.

Online training with Dunstan Thomas

Online training with Dunstan Thomas

DT Consulting now offer a virtual learning environment to compliment our existing classroom offering.

This new browser delivered self-study training environment will bring to you DT Consulting’s most popular training courses covering areas such as;

  • Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect
  • The Systems Modelling Language (SysML)
  • The Business Process Modelling Notation (BPMN)
  • The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF)
  • The Unified Modelling Language (UML)
  • ArchiMate

 

Available Courses

 

Coming Soon…

Please visit our website for information on subscription pricing.

Published in News
QUAD-ML – Rapid Modeling Mastery Course with Enterprise Architect (EA) v11

May 28-29 starts 7:00 AM Pacific – Register Here
June 5-6 starts 7:00 AM Pacific – Register Here

Take advantage of our new mixed-language course, QUAD-ML, a one-time only offer at a deeply discounted rate.

What is the QUAD-ML mixed-language?
It is a unique proprietary approach to integrating the four key modeling languages UML, SysML, BPMN and SoaML, into one compact and simplified hands-on course using EA, designed specifically for enterprise modelers, business & systems analysts, software developers and technical managers.

Why QUAD-ML? Why Now?
This course was designed based on inquiries and questions from our customers regarding best practices in mixed-language environments. We also learned that competent hands-on knowledge of these four key languages is becoming a standard in many corporate environments.

QUAD-ML was carefully designed to provide you with a quick and affordable way to gain practical knowledge rapidly with these four languages. It is the best way we know of (so far) to help you come up to speed and compete effectively in the current fast-paced business and high technology environment.

What you will learn:
  • The 10 most important modeling practices you should be applying today
  • The 7 best practices successful organizations use in mixed-language environments
  • How all four languages "integrate" in the same model-based environment
  • How to effectively use the Sparx EA modeling tool
  • Key fundamentals of UML and SysML enterprise modeling
  • The BPMN and SoaML languages
  • How and when to use BPMN and SoaML in mixed-language environments
 
What to expect?
  • Learn first-hand from experts in the industry with over 20 years experience
  • Full course delivery in only 2 days using EA (agenda details upon registration)
  • Experience a real world project in a mixed-language environment
  • A free early copy of the eBook "Rapid Enterprise Modeling" that will soon be selling on Amazon.
  • Register by May 23rd and get 50% off the regular course price
  • Cancel any time up to 24 hours before the class begins
  • 100% money back guarantee
May 28-29  – Register Here
June 5-6 – Register Here

With appreciation,
Ernest Stambouly
949-378-1138
 
Published in News

Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect is a great tool to produce and organise your models using UML, SysML, BPMN or other modelling languages or notations.

In some cases, the default rendering of elements on certain types of diagrams lacks a suitable colour scheme and font.

This article deals with two topics :

  • Highlight the strengths of Enterprise Architect as a modelling tool versus that of a drawing tool,
  • Applying visual styles to improve the look and feel of your diagrams.

A vital switch from a drawing tool to a comprehensive modelling tool

Initial context : A colleague and I discovered a set of BPMN diagrams maintained by a team using a BPM modelling tool, Bizagi BPMN Business Process Modeler. Being a freeware must have helped to quickly try and adopt this tool for the project. I have to say that the rendering of the diagrams looked rather attractive and modern. As a UML and BPMN expert, my colleague was the first one to get involved in this task. He started to model new business processes, and update existing ones as requested. He noticed a number of mistakes (e.g. broken sequence flow, missing end event) that he promptly fixed.

As things went on, we had a chat and I asked what he thought about this tool compared with Sparx Enterprise Architect. His feedback was interesting ; Bizagi was more or less a drawing tool like Ms Visio, that can be used to create a couple of UML diagrams. A project browser was  missing from Bizagi i.e. when you create a BPMN node like an activity or gateway, you have no access to this element so that it can be reused into several diagrams. Not to mention all the other powerful advantages from Enterprise Architect including traceability with other model elements from the same project, e.g. to link an activity with a requirement it fulfils, or with a use case to establish links between the business and system analysis models.

The need for a real modelling project quickly lead to a move from Bizagi modelling tool to Enterprise Architect, as agreed by the client.

Applying visual styles to improve BPMN diagrams rendering

As I started to create and maintain BPMN diagrams in Enterprise Architect, I looked at simple ways to reproduce a similar look and feel from the original tool (Bizagi).  The aim was to improve the default rendering of Elements in Enterprise Architect.  Below,  I managed to reproduce a similar visual style using the following colour schemes:

  • BPMN2 start event : light green background + dark green line

 Sparx EA diagram visual start on BPMN start event

  • BPMN2 end event : light red background + dark red line

 Sparx EA diagram visual start on BPMN end event

  • BPMN2 activities and gateways : light blue background + dark blue line

 

The procedure to create those visual styles is quite easy:

  • 1- I first defined the visual settings on a selected element using the diagram toolbar by setting the background colour, line colour and width, and the font.
  • 2- Then I clicked on Save as New Style icon from the toolbar, and entered the style name as prompted by Enterprise Architect, e.g. start event.
  • Alternatively, having an element with its visual settings already done, a new style can be created using the Get Style icon from the toolbar, followed by Save as New Style.
  • 3- Having repeated this process for each new visual style, I ended up with a list styles ready to apply onto my diagram's elements.

Note : Visual styles are stored within your Enterprise Architect project (e.g. the EAP file) but I haven't found them yet from the Reference Data to export them and share with others.

Once all visual styles have been defined, the following list can be opened from the diagram toolbar :

 

Here is an illustration of what I came up with, having applied the new styles :

 

Published in Tutorials

You really CAN have a highly-effective Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) implementation in a short period of time! In fact, it is essential that the MBSE environment you setup has all of its required components upfront in order to avoid costly pitfalls later on, especially for large complex projects and systems.

Many of our customers use Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect as the tooling component because beyond supporting SysML, the standard language for MBSE, it also makes it easy to support the other essential components of the MBSE environment.

 

Our workshop Implement Highly Effective MBSE: A 7-Part Strategy is coming up in 2 weeks.

Please read this to see how this workshop will help you ...

  • Launch a highly-effective MBSE environment in a short period of time
  • Avert costly implementations by adopting the “right” practices in addition to “best” practices
  • Get management buy-in and sustained support

 

Below is the official information and registration page:

Wed, Aug 21, 2013 to Thu, Aug 22, 2013
Location: Online Workshop
Expert-led, Strategic Workshop
Uses Enterprise Architect (EA) v.10
 

 Committed to your professional education,

 

The Cephas Training Team

Authorized Training Partner for Sparx Systems

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

Phone 866.433.3183 #101

Published in News
Friday, 02 August 2013 17:31

SysML Online Classes for August 2013

 

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 to Thu, Aug 29, 2013
Location: Online Course
Instructor-led, Hands-on course
Uses Enterprise Architect (EA) v.10

 

Register Now

 

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 to Fri, Aug 30, 2013
Location: Online Course
Instructor-led, Hands-on course
Uses Enterprise Architect (EA) v.10

Register Now

 

Committed to your professional education,


The Cephas Training Team
Authorized Training Partner for Sparx Systems
The full Cephas course catalog

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

Phone 866.433.3183 #101

Published in News
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