DT Consulting Newsletter Issue 1

Introduction

Welcome to this first issue of what will be a regular newsletter from Dunstan Thomas. In this issue the new features of Enterprise Architect 7.1 are described.

New Features in Enterprise Architect 7.1

The latest release of Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect (version 7.0 build 818) gave users a new toolbox interface, gradient fills and other exciting new functionality. The upcoming version 7.1 which is currently available as a Beta for registered users promises users even more usability and functionality. There are a large number of additions and improvements and the most exciting are described in this newsletter.

Key Features

Rich Notes Support

Up to the current release on Enterprise Architect all text in the Notes field on elements was plain and could not be formatted. This presented particular problems with Use Case scenarios since this often are specified using numbered lists. As text is just plain, maintaining scenarios was difficult since numbering is not automatic. Version 7.1 enhances the Notes field text by addingRTF formatting, this makes using numbered lists in Use Case scenarios much easier. This is illustrated below:

Model Views

Model views are used to create “subsets” of your project by selecting views and packages from the Project Browser. This is a convenient tool for work on large and complex projects. This is illustrated below:

RTF Documentation Master Documents

In the current release of Enterprise Architect you can create Model Document elements separately and generate individual documents from each one. In version 7.1 you have added flexibility and scope if you organize Model Documents under a Master Document. You can generate a document with a corporate template (using the existing template editor) for the covers, contents, headers and footers, whilst each section (generated from a separate Model Document) has its own appearance defined by a template appropriate to the section content.

A master document is a stereotyped package which contains model documents as its elements. Documentation is generated by using the Model Documents listed in the Master Document in the order in which they appear.

User Interface Improvements

A number of improvements have been made in Version 7.1 to the User Interface, these are summarized below:

1) When using quick link the destination element is highlighted
2) When using quick link “bend” points can be added by pressing the shift key.
3) In the corporate edition and when using a shared project stored on a central database server, locked diagrams are shown by a padlock icon in the diagram title bar.
4) A blue exclamation mark in the Project Browser indicates that the user has locked this package exclusively.
5) A red exclamation mark in the Project Browser indicates that this package has been locked by another user exclusively.
6) Labels can be edited in-line by pressing the F2 key.
7) When a new package is added in the Project Browser, the user has an option to create a new diagram in that package. (This in effect combines the two operations, add a new package followed by add a new diagram)

MDG

A new diagram type for Data Flow Diagrams has been added, an example of which is shown below:

DDL Generation

Upon generation of DDL from a Data Model, it is now possible to compare this with the schema of an existing database. The differences are highlighted along with suggested action to make the schemas compatible.

Model Merge based on Baselines

If more than one person is working on a project simultaneously, those people may use Baselines to take “snapshots” of their models. Changes in these saved baselines can now be merged into the current model.

Conclusion

The new version 7.1 of Enterprise Architect which is due for general release during the first quarter on 2008, promises to offer even more productivity and functionality to the modeller. In addition to the new version of Enterprise Architect, Sparx systems have also released new Betas of the following products which build upon the additions made in version 7.1. These are all available to registered users of Enterprise Architect.

1) MDG Technology for Zachman Framework (this is available now for Version 7.0)
2) MDG Technology for UPDM (UML profile for DoDAF(Department of Defense Architecture Framework/(MODAF (Ministry of Defence Architecture Framework)) – Beta release
3) MDG Technology for TOGAF(The Open Group Architecture Framework) – Beta release
4) MDG technology for RealTime UML – Beta release
5) MDG Integration for Visual Studio version 3.5 – Beta Release, supports Visual Studio 2008

For further information, please contact us.

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