Enterprise Architect Version 13 Beta

Enterprise Architect Version 13 Beta

by Phil Chudley, Principal Consultant

Sparx Systems released the first Beta of Enterprise Architect version 13 to registered users on June 3rd 2016. Since then a further build of the Beta was released on June 17th 2016.

Numerous changes have been made in Enterprise Architect version 13 (a full summary can be found at http://www.sparxsystems.com/products/ea/13/ ). I have not tried them all, therefore this document provides some hints and tips on just two of the new features:

  • Office 2016 Visual Style.
  • Custom Progress Bars.

Office 2016 Visual Style

The first thing you will notice is the new workspace utilizing ribbons rather than menus. Initially you may struggle to find those features you always use, but you will soon become familiar with this new look.

I did find that upon loading EA, version 13 displayed the ribbons and also the toolbars from my previous version 12.1 workspace layout, which gave a rather cluttered look. I simply closed these toolbars and saved this as a new workspace layout.

Of particular use is the Command Search to locate, quickly, a particular EA function. For example, let’s say you wish to regenerate an MDG but cannot find this in the Ribbons, simply perform the following tasks:

    1. Click this icon in the top left of the workspace; Enterprise Architect Version 13 Beta
    2. Enter Generate MDG in the search field.
      Enterprise Architect Version 13 - Generate MDG
    3. Select Generate MDG Technology from the list created dynamically from the search text.

This is very useful!


Custom Progress Bars

In Enterprise Architect version 13, any element that supports rectangular notation (which is most elements), and does not use shapes scripts can have one or more Custom Progress Bars displayed in compartments.

Some elements do not have to be using rectangle notation (for example an Actor) in order for the Custom Progress Bar to be displayed, whilst others (for example a Use Case) will need to use Rectangle Notation so that the Custom Progress Bars will appear.

Because these Custom Progress Bars only work for elements without a shape script, then Custom Progress Bars cannot be used on elements defined in MDGs such as BPMN 2.0 and ArchiMate 2.0.

This feature could provide a level of Project Management information.

In order to try this feature out, I had to undertake a bit of investigation to discover how to use these Custom Progress Toolbars, therefore I in this document present a mini-tutorial on how this feature can be used with Enterprise Architect version 13.

For this mini-tutorial I will show the addition of three Custom Progress Bars to a UML Component Element. These Custom Progress Bars will show:

  • The current total cost of development.
  • The current total of man hours spent in development.
  • The percentage completeness.

Step 1 ~ Define Tagged Values for each Custom Progress Bar

Having decided upon the Custom Progress Bars you are going to use, these need to be defined using Tagged Values.

Select the Configure ribbon:

Enteprise Architect Version 13 - Configure Ribbon

Select UML Type then Tagged Value Types:

Enterprise Architect Version 13: Tagged Value Types

(Your list of defined Tag Types may well be empty)

For each Custom Progress Bar, create a tagged value, giving it a Tag Name and Description.

For the Details, you will need to define the Custom Progress Bar using the detail described below:

Detail Meaning
Type Type of tagged value must be set to ProgressBar.
Compartment Name of the compartment where the progress bar will be visible.

Optional.

MinVal Starting value for the progress bar.

Optional – if omitted it has the value 0.

MaxVal Ending value for the progress bar (must be greater than MinVal).

Optional – if omitted has the value 100.

Text Text to be displayed next to the progress bar. #VALUE# displays the value currently set in the tag.

The table below describes the three tagged values used in this mini tutorial:

Tagged Value Detail
Cost Type=ProgressBar;
Compartment=Cost so Far;
MinVal=0;
MaxVal=20000;
Text=£#VALUE#;
Man Hours Type=ProgressBar;
Compartment=Effort in Man Hours;
MinVal=0;
MaxVal=500;
Text=#VALUE# man hours;
Completeness Type=ProgressBar;
Compartment=Completeness;
Text=#VALUE#%;

NOTE – Each line of the detail is terminated with a semicolon.

Add a UML Component element to a diagram of your choice.

UML Component Diagram - Web Portal

  1. Open the Properties dialog and click Tags.
  2. Add a new tag by clicking Add new tag
  3. Using the drop down list select one of the tags defined earlier
    Tagged Value
  4. Enter a value for the cost, for example 10000

NOTE – Although any text can be entered here only integer values between your defined MinVal and MaxVal will work.

This value is what is displayed in the progress bar, therefore if you wish to display a percentage, then the value you enter should be between 0 and 100.

Repeat for the other defined Progress Bar tag values, using values of you own choice.

To display the tags within the Component element, right-click and select Features and Properties, then select Feature and Compartment Visibility…

Select Tags

Feature and compartment visibility

Your UML Component should now look similar to that shown below:

Component with progress bar


Tips

As these tag values do not update themselves nor can one tag value be calculated from another, you may consider creating a script to maintain this Project Management information.

For example using such a script, a user could enter a value for the Man Hours and the Cost and Completeness can be calculated.

These Custom Progress Toolbars could be valuable for Project Management, but for modelling System Architecture they may not be desired.

Consider creating a System Architect Model first, such that all components have these tag values, but these tag values are not shown on the Component Diagram.

When the System Architecture modelling is complete, take a Shallow Copy of the UML Component diagram to a different package. Turn on the tag values compartment for all Components. Turn off any attributes / operations for all Components.

You now have two different views of the System Architecture, one for the development team (not showing the progress bars), the other for the Project Manager (which shows the progress bars)

As implementation progresses, the development team can update the values of the component tags, thereby updating the Project Manager viewpoint.

To ensure that all elements of a particular type have the same Custom Progress Bars, you could either create a Template Element (which has the Custom Progress Bars defined) which can then be copied to create other elements. Alternatively, you can create your own stereotyped element(s) containing the Progress Bars tagged values within an MDG.


Conclusion

In this article I have provided a brief insight in using the new Ribbon interface in EA version 13 and mini tutorial of the new Custom Progress Bars.

I hope you found this article useful and informative and please keep a lookout for further mini tutorials on the new an exciting features of Enterprise Architect version 13.


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