Enterprise Architect version 15.2

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Bert Dingemans

Bert Dingemans

I am an independent (data) architect and EA consultant working often with enterprise architect mostly for UML class diagrams and ArchiMate 2.0. I am using enterprise architect for  generating documentation, XSD files and modelling enterprise architectures with ArchiMate 2.0. I have developed an Open Source Web Publication Platform for EA.  I also participate in Eaxpertise.nl. You can reach me at bert@interactory.nl

More and more organisations are adapting an agile approach for software development, information architectures and becoming a lean organisation. But what will change for software modelling, enterprise architectures and portfolio management?

To find answers the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) can help organisations to find a structured approach to introduce an agile organisation. This structured approach will require modelling activities! How can Sparx Enterprise Architect as our favourite modelling tool be part of this?

For these questions we (The Future Group and EAxpertise) will organise a full day Event with this title on the 25th of September in Zoetermeer (the Netherlands)! The event will be in English so also relevant for Sparx Users from the surrounding countries.

 

Please visit https://www.tfg-academy.com/trainingen/training-algemeen/sparx-meets-safe?date=25-09-2020 for more information.

One of the organisations I support in using Enterprise Architect was encountering problems with deleting elements from a repository. Sometimes modellers deleted elements by accident and in other cases where teams are modelling it was not clear that an element was still used.

However there is a model manager who is maintaining the repository content so from an organisational point of view this problem shoud be easy to solve. He suggested that a Wastebin should solve the problem. This wastebin should have the same functionality als the wastebin in Windows. When somebody deletes an element or package it is not deleted but moved to a certain location in the repository.

Since the organisation is using the IDEA AddOn we decided to develop a function in the AddOn, which is developed in VB.Net. It turned out to be relative easy. There is an adaption necessary in the AddIN Predelete event and an extra class (not necessary but for us a best practice) is added. Below you see the two code snippets.

Function EA_OnPreDeleteElement(Repository As EA.Repository, _

Info As EA.EventProperties) As Boolean

Return WasteBin.WasteBinElement(Repository, Info.Get(0).Value)

End Function

Function EA_OnPreDeletePackage(Repository As EA.Repository, _

Info As EA.EventProperties) As Boolean

Return WasteBin.WasteBinPackage(Repository, Info.Get(0).Value)

End Function

This piece of code is returning a true or false to deleted the selected package or not. When it is a regular user, the element is moved before the delete and therefore a false is returned. When somebody is authorized and the element is in the WasteBin package the element can be deleted so a true is returned. 

In the code snippet below you see the code of the WasteBin class

Public Class WasteBin
    Public Shared Function WasteBinElement(Repository As EA.Repository, strEntityId As String) As Boolean
        Dim oElement As EA.Element
        Dim intPackage_id As Int32 = GetWasteBinPackage_id()
 
        Try
            If intPackage_id <> -999 Then
                oElement = Repository.GetElementByID(Convert.ToInt32(strEntityId))
                If oElement.PackageID <> intPackage_id Then
                    Repository.EnableUIUpdates = False
                    oElement.PackageID = intPackage_id
                    oElement.Update()
                    Repository.EnableUIUpdates = True
                    Return False
                Else
                    Return DeleteFromWasteBin(Repository)
                End If
            End If
            Return True
        Catch ex As Exception
            DLA2EAHelper.Error2Log(ex)
        End Try
        Return False
    End Function
 
Private Shared Function DeleteFromWasteBin(Repository As EA.Repository) As Boolean
        If Repository.IsSecurityEnabled = False Or DLA2EAHelper.IsUserGroupMember(Repository, "Administrators") Then
            Return True
        Else
            Return False
        End If
    End Function
    Public Shared Function WasteBinPackage(Repository As EA.Repository, strEntityId As String) As Boolean
        Dim oPackage As EA.Package
        Dim intPackage_id As Int32 = GetWasteBinPackage_id()
 
        Try
            If intPackage_id <> -999 Then
                oPackage = Repository.GetPackageByID(Convert.ToInt32(strEntityId))
                If oPackage.ParentID <> intPackage_id Then
                    Repository.EnableUIUpdates = False
                    oPackage.ParentID = intPackage_id
                    oPackage.Update()
                    Repository.EnableUIUpdates = True
                    Return False
                Else
                    Return DeleteFromWasteBin(Repository)
                End If
            End If
            Return True
        Catch ex As Exception
            DLA2EAHelper.Error2Log(ex)
        End Try
        Return False
    End Function
    Shared Function GetWasteBinPackage_id() As Int32
        Dim oDef As New IDEADefinitions()
        Dim strPackage_id As String
        Dim intPackage_id As Int32 = -999
        strPackage_id = oDef.GetSettingValue("WasteBinPackage_id")
        If strPackage_id.Length > 0 Then
            intPackage_id = Convert.ToInt32(strPackage_id)
        End If
        Return intPackage_id
    End Function
End Class

In the code we check first if the element is in the wastebin package or not, if not the element is moved to the wastebin. If the element or the package is in the wastebin then an authorization check is done. If the user is authorized then the element is permanent removed from the repository

This routine is part of the IDEA AddOn. This Open Source tool can be downloaded from http://eaxpertise.nl/ideanl.aspx. When you want to include it in a ModelAddIn this is probably a relatively small modification.

Are you an Enterprise Architect, Software Designer, Business Analyst or Business Process Analyst? Do you use Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect or Prolaborate? Are you interested in three days full of information exchange on the usage of Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect and Prolaborate.

For example, on subjects like:

  • Modelling languages like SysML and ArchiMate
  • Use Cases and best practices of Architectures and modelling in EA,
  • Extensions like MDGs in and for EA.
  • Various modelling techniques like real-time and data modelling,

Call for Speakers

As proficient Enterprise Architect or Prolaborate user you are probably know that Enterprise Architect User Conferences are being organised regularly. These conferences take place to better communicate with users all over the world. It enables users to take notice of other user experiences, use cases and ideas and thus make more effective use of Enterprise Architect. Obviously this goal can only be attained if we as organisers can attract speakers that have used or proposed to use Enterprise Architect in a way that is interesting for others.

When you want to contribute to this we would be honoured if would be willing and able to speak at next Dutch Enterprise Architect & Prolaborate User Group Conference.

The conference will take place in The Netherlands on 24, 25 and 28th of September 2020.  The venue will be the headquarters of the Dutch Railway company in Utrecht close  to Amsterdam. The 24th of september is a training day with half day deep dive sessions. On the 25th of september we offer three tracks with one hour sessions. 28th of September is a Meet and Greet with Nizam Mohamed (Prolaborate).

We would be happy to hear from you, for more information please visit http://eaxpertise.nl/eapug2020.aspx there you can also find our proposal form! 

You can also visit this website to see the preliminary programme or register with an early bird discount.

We hope to meet you on september 24th in the beautiful town of Utrecht.

 

Sparx Enterprise Architect is a powerful modeling tool for many types of modelers. For every modeling community Enterprise Architect offers numerous modeling languages like UML, ArchiMate, SysML and BPMN It has numerous  features and functionalities that aid modelers in their day to day modeling tasks. However for modellers new to Enterprise Architect the tool can be confusing because of the vast amount of functionalities and modeling concepts. To overcome the steep learning curve a new online training is available on Udemy, see https://www.udemy.com/course/introduction-to-sparx-enterprise-architect/

Udemy EA introduction

 

Udemy is an online learning environment where you can register for this online training course. This Enterprise Architect has almost 3 hours of training videos in a logical order for novice Enterprise Architect modelers. The course has five sections describing the most relevant features for modelers new in Enterprise Architect. The basics of the repository, the browser, diagrams and elements are described in video lectures. In the last sections we give an overview on publishing and reporting and using Enterprise Architect in modeling teams. Every section has a shore self test with multiple choice questions.

When registering for this online training on Udemy you get a lifetime access to the training videos and material. The material includes a sample repository used in the training as an eapx file. When you are interested please feel free to watch the introduction video on the webpage accessable via the URL above.

 

Introduction

Sparx Enterprise Architect is well known for modelling languages like UML, BPMN and ArchiMate. However creating data models in Sparx Enterprise Architect is also well supported. For example with the database engineering models, the database builder and the possibility to import database structures, XSD models etc.

This in combination with the possibility to create Conceptual Data Models in the ArchiMate notation, UML class diagrams for the Logical Data Model makes Enterprise Architect a tool well suited for data modellers and – architects.

See for example a simple three layer data model in the image below:

 

Data Mappings

One of the important aspects of creating data models is the possibility to create associations between columns in tables and eventually between properties in the conceptual model and columns or XSDElements in physical models. Although this is possible in Enterprise Architect it needs a lot of actions to create each data mapping. In version 15 there is a new feature matrix but for advance data modelling a specialized form is necessary.

Within the Dutch IDEA community (see http://idea.eaxpertise.nl ) an open source addon is developed in which this specialized form is introduced. Based on the experiences from a number of Dutch organisations we can support now advanced data mapping routines in EA based on diagram with tables or classes that can both act as source and as target.

In the screen below you get an idea of the data mapping form

Based on the elements on your diagram the mapping form is loaded. From this you can take the following steps:

  • Assign the entities and attributes for both source and target entities, when you activate this the grid is filled with either source attributes or target attributes
  • When there are already mappings you can push a button (Load Mappings) so the already present mappings are disabled in the grid
  • A possibility to make the source attributes or the target attributes in the grid leading (the leading side is prefilled in)
  • A very handy functionality is the match name button that makes it possible to define a mapping when the attributes have the same name.

Based on these functionalities it is possible to create mappings between data entities fast and in an user friendly manner without leaving the Sparx Enterprise Architect application.

One extra feature for data mappings is the possibility to create merger entities. In the screenshow below you get an idea of what this means

Between source and target entities sometimes an extra element is needed, for example to merge or split attributes between source and target entities. This can be done fully by the mapper screen, by defining a merger in the grid. When the target attribute in the grid has the same name it is a merger, when the source attribute has the same name it is a splitter.

AddOn

This screen and much more functionalities especially for data (architecture) modelling is part of the IDEA addon. The AddOn is available as open source and can be downloaded from the IDEA website. For a webvideo on the form please visit https://youtu.be/xpiSGimO7vo. Extra information and the possibility to download a setup file from this link: http://eaxpertise.nl/cmsform.aspx?webpage=TEA. There is also more information available about participating in the IDEA community and help us to add new data modelling functionalities to Sparx Enterprise Architect.

Introduction

This article outlines how customers can migrate from BizzDesign to Enterprise Architect.  Many EAxpertise customers mentioned licence costs and additional factors have made them consider migration.

The functionality offered by both tools overlap to a great extend and especially in data modelling Sparx has more functionality than BizzDesign. For one of our customers, we undertook research on the migration options.  There are three models in the enterprise architecture:

  • Enterprise Architecture modelled in ArchiMate 3 models. This can be migrateusing the Model Exchange Format standard in the ArchiMate 3 definition.
  • Business processes modelled in BPMN models This can be migrated with the BPMN exchange format. 
  • Data  Models modelled in the Enterprise Data Model. For this part of the model there is no exchange format so we had to develop a solution for this.

For the last part of the enterprise model we had to develop an extension, whiuch is described below:

Migration extension

We first tried to develop a solution based on a script, but we needed a simple user interface to control the steps so we decided to extend the IDEA DLL with this functionality. The image below provides an overview of the functionality.

In the screenshot you see the following functionalities:

  • Options to load the data from an excel file. BizzDesign has the possibility to define excel files for the entities that can not be exported by the stanrd XML formats like MEF and BPMN. This applies to the EDM entities
  • Migrating the Entities data from the excel file to the repository in Enterprise Architect
  • Migrating the Associations from the excel file to the repository in Enterprise Architect
  • The transfer of the Attributes to Enterprise Architect
  • The last option needs a little explanation. BizzDesign has the option, just like Enterprise Architect, to add hyperlinks in the notes that link to other elements in the repository. However they use a different internal format for these hyperlinks. This functionality transforms the format of the hyperlinks to the Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect format.

An extra remark is needed for the counter under the load data button. This is used for loading the worksheet with that ordinal position in the workbook file.

Open Source AddOn

This converter from BizzDesign to Enterprise Architect is added to the IDEA AddOn. This AddOn has a number of functionalities that form a logical extension:

  • ArchimAID helper screen to combine searching in diagrams with toolbox functionality
  • Scripts for creating Conceptual, Logical and Physical Data Models and integrate them
  • Mapper functionality between data entities
  • EA Assistant functions for deduplication, HTML generating and more.

When interested please go the IDEA AddON page on the EAxpertise website. When you want support on using the AddOn, please feel free to contact me via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Utrecht, 27th and 28th of September 2018

A usergroup conference in the Netherlands for everybody working with Sparx Enterprise Architect as a modeling tool, architecture repository or requirements management tool. Two days full of interesting sessions, networking and exchange of information

  • Thursday 27th September:
    an EA training day, with a small number of in-depth sessions led by approved EA training partners.
  • Friday 28th September:
    a ‘traditional’ EAUG event day - presentations, case studies and user stories.

For this two-day event with a training day, 100+ attendees, and speakers from around the globe - of which you could be one! We will meet in the heart of the country next to Utrecht Central Railway Station, so if you want to join us. Plase note that all session will be in English!

See the EAUG Agenda for the session details

We hope to meet you in Utrecht

EAUG Utrecht

 

Dutch Sparx Enterprise Architect Event

Utrecht, The Netherlands

27 & 28 September 2018

Are you an Enterprise Architect, Software Designer, Business Analyst or Business Process Analyst? Do you use Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect? Are you interested in two days full of information exchange on the usage of Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect.

For example, on subjects like:

  • Modelling languages like SysML and ArchiMate
  • Use Cases and best practices of Architectures and modelling in EA,
  • Extensions like MDGs in and for EA.
  • Various modelling techniques like real-time and data modelling,

Then you should not miss this EA Usergroup event at Utrecht on 27 and 28 September 2018. 

At this event EAUG we will offer a day with training and in-depth sessions (a session lasts more than three hours). This will be at 27 September 2018. 

The second day is 28 September 2018 with is a regular event with sessions of 45 minutes. We will offer three tracks:

  • Modelling experiences in EA
  • How-to (changing the functionality of EA or use extensions)
  • EA@ (use cases of EA in various organisations)

Register now for the Dutch EA Usergroup event via http://eaxpertise.nl/eaugregistration.aspx

Register before 1 August and you get an Early Bird Discount

Thursday, 21 June 2018 14:05

Integrated Data Entity Architecture in EA

Introduction

IDEA is an abbreviation for Integrated Data Entity Architecture. It is a methodology and an implementation in Sparx Enterprise Architect to create an integrated architecture based on the following layers

  • Physical data modeling for a technical modeling that includes specific implementation concepts like columns and constraints
  • Logical data modeling a detailed implementation independent model for entities, attributes and assocations
  • Conceptual modeling for a business view on data and business entities including the connections to the application landscape and business processes
  • Data Management modeling for modeling data governance, ownership, privacy and security and data qualities.

Navigation screen WPP

Navigationscreen for the Web Publication Platform of the IDEA project

The IDEA website offers a number of products and solutions the most important are:

  • Viewpoints, these describe how the concepts and associations are used within one of the above mentioned layers
  • Example data model an example project of a datamodel to display the various layer concepts and the implementation
  • Example data management, displaying the concepts for modeling data management aspects
  • Scripts and Addons for Sparx, various zips with scripts and a dll, you have to register as a community member (see below)

Community

The IDEA elements like the viewpoints and scripts etc are developed based on Open Source and a community. This means that the community is a group of organisations and people who benefit from the developed products. They can therefore do suggestions for new functionalities.


Everybody can become a passive member of the community. This means that you only have to register at this website and after that you receive an email with a link to all the downloads.

  • Active members have the possibility to define functionalities and based on their requirements and input extra material is developed. Based on there requests a sponsor pays for the development costs. Advantage for active members is that they define the functionalities but share the development costs. When you want to become an active member please contact us via the contact page.

Sample screen of the IDEA mapper

Sample screen of the IDEA Mapper 

Products of the IDEA framework

The IDEA framework is based on a number of steps and layers. These are described in viewpoints (like in ArchiMate). However one of the main aspects of the framework is that it is supported by a number of components and scripts within Sparx Enterprise Architect. Below you find the most important products available:

  • Viewpoints model, implemented in an EAP file and available for download as a zip file but also in the WPP version of the IDEA framework via a viewpoint webpage
  • Sample layered data model baded on the four layers of the model. It is implemented in a repository for download and in the WPP version of the IDEA framework via a sample model webpage
  • Script module, repository for download with numerous scripts for generating layers in the model, modifying diagrams, creating mappings and helper scripts to make the work of a data modeller in a layered approach more easy. Sample scripts caan be downloaded after registration as community member
  • IDEA AddOn based on a DLL with numerous routines, forms and classes for generating layers in the model, modifying diagrams, creating mappings and helper routines to make the work of a data modeller in a layered approach more easy. Sample scripts caan be downloaded after registration as community member
  • IDEA MDG with the notations of the four layers implemented in toolboxes, diagrams, search routines and a modelview the work of a data modeller in a layered approach more easy. The MDG can be downloaded after registration as community member
  • Webvideo with an introduction to the modelling functionality in the IDEA framework. The video is available via the EAxpertise channel in Youtube

More information is available via the other startpages and via http://eaxpertise.nl 

Overview of mappings

 

EAUG2018 in Utrecht

As proficient Enterprise Architect user we like to contact you about the Enterprise Architect User Conferences in Utrecht on the 27th and 28th of September 2018. This two days event will be a training day (Thursday 27 september) where in depth sessions of three and a half hour are offered.

The Friday (28 september) will be a regular conference with sessions of 45 minutes in the tracks EA@, modelling and HowTo.

Currently we are collecting the session abstracts and speaker bios since the event is direct after summer holidays so early action for a full and interesting agenda is required.

We would like to invite you to do your proposal via the following url: http://eaxpertise.nl/eaugproposal.aspx. When you fill in your email address in the first step you can fill in your bio and photo (the first time) and add one or more session abstracts. Of course you can also send your information to the email address below.

We would be happy to hear from you, for questions and remarks please contact by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone (Bert) at +31.6.36431652. 

More information about this two day event can be found at: http://eaxpertise.nl/eaug2018.aspx 

We hope to welcome you in Utrecht at 27 or 28 september!

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