Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect Version 14; A Preview

Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect Version 14; A Preview

About this time of year Sparx Systems usually announce a new version of Enterprise Architect, and this year is no exception, with the announcement of Enterprise Architect version 14.

Although no dates have been announced and at the time of writing the pre-release Beta is not available, Sparx Systems have provided a tempting taster of what users can expect. This article explains the highlights of version 14.

Version 14 Release Theme

Unusually, Sparx have focused version 14 around a central theme, namely:

“Helping users to focus EA tools in order to fulfil their modelling needs”.

In other words, a user selects what they wish to achieve (for example Business Process Modelling), and EA configures the workspace and associated toolsets automatically, thus providing a focused and productive modelling environment.


Feature Summary

The new (or enhanced) features provided in EA Version 14 are illustrated below:

Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect Version 14

Of these features, the following are interest to all EA users:

  • Focus & Modelling Intent
  • Diagramming
  • Enhanced Properties Windows

The remaining features target more specific users of EA.

In this article we will concentrate on the three features that target all EA users, whilst providing a brief overview of the remainder.


Focus and Modelling Intent

Amongst feedback received from EA, one of the most common is “can the workspace be configure to suit our modelling needs”, and the answer is yes. However, with the current version(s) of EA, this configuration has to be performed by each user for their installed instance of EA, and comprises of:

  • MDG configuration
  • Workspace Configuration
  • Ribbon Configuration

The new features in EA Version 14, illustrated below, perform this configuration automatically.

Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect Version 14


Perspectives

By selected a modelling task (for example Business Process Modelling, or ArchiMate Enterprise Architecture Modelling) from a newly added Perspectives list, the workspace, tools, diagram toolbox, and stereotypes are filtered to just elements and artefacts within the selected Perspective.

The supplied Perspectives are customisable, and new perspectives can be created.

The impact of this is that the user no longer needs to configure the EA environment, including the MGDs, and the selected perspective can be changed at any time.


Portal Changes

The portal referred to is the icon shortcuts on the Start Page, one of which launches the Perspectives list.


Context Browser

This new view, supplements and works in conjunction with, the Project Browser. The Context Browser, provides a focused view of the entire model repository based upon a selection within the Project Browser.


Workspaces

These have been updated so as to conform to the selected Perspective.


Diagramming

There are no changes to the manner in which diagrams are created, however there are changes in the manner in which diagrams are managed. These new features are illustrated below:

Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect Version 14


Model Wizard

This has been updated substantially, and is now displayed in a floating / dockable view and provides the following features:

  • Model View – This is the same as the existing functionality except that it is synchronised to the selected Perspective and hence only displays what is relevant to the modeller’s tasks
  • Patterns & Guidance – Each model view has a number of patterns to “kick start” a diagram. A panel is displayed showing:
    • A preview of the pattern
    • Explanation of the pattern
    • Why and when such a pattern is used in modelling

Guidance is a entirely new feature and provides illustrated work flows with Requirements Checklist for many EA infrastructure tasks such as creating a centralised DBMS based model repositories, installing Cloud Services and Pro Cloud server

  • Perspective Based – as with many other features I EA version 14, the model wizard is perspective based enabling an environment which targets the tasks selected by an EA User

Inline Reader

This is a specification manager for the elements referred to on a diagram, hence when invoked the specification manager view is populated with name and the notes from all elements on the currently selected diagram.

This allows the EA user to update the name and notes fields of the diagram elements without selecting each element separately and opening that elements property dialog.


Metamodel Views

A very interesting feature enabling any diagram to be filtered according to a selected Metamodel. Once selected, only those elements and connectors that are defined within the Metamodel are highlighted, all other elements and connectors are “greyed out”.

In addition, selecting a Metamodel filter for a diagram, also “fine tunes” the diagram toolbox and Quicklink rules allowing for more accurate and consistent model diagrams thus raising overall model quality.


Enhanced Properties Window

EA has always had an Element Properties view, but many modellers ignore this since it is limited to elements and selected properties within the selected element.

This has been replaced with the Enhanced Properties Window, the functionality of which is illustrated below:

Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect Version 14

In EA version 14, the element properties view has been replaced with the properties view which, as shown above, will show all the properties (including tagged values), for any selected artefact. This, in effect, makes the new Properties View indispensable rather than hardly used, since properties can be changed easily without the need to open up property dialogues. This provides a most productive modelling environment.


Remaining Highlights

EA version 14 also provides enhancements to the following features:

Pro Cloud Server

Although not part of EA version 14, the Pro Cloud server has been enhanced to support PCS Integrations with:

  • JIRA
  • TFS
  • EA Cloud – in this integrations support has been added for “cross model repository references”, for any model repository that is accessed via Pro Cloud server
  • Row-level Security – allows rules to be applied to define which part(s) of a model repository are viewable to users
  • Keystore – support has been added to Pro Cloud server to allow the keystore for floating licences to be managed by Pro Cloud server rather than Keystore.exe

Web EA

Sparx Systems have not released much information, as yet, to the functional enhancements to WebEA, the only statement being “we have listened to users and have improved the way that element properties are displayed within Web EA. Further details are other enhancements will be released in due course”.

Business Processes and Model Simulation

EA version 14 provides functional enhancement to the following features which are already part of EA version 13.5, namely:

  • DMN (Decision Modelling Notation) – both for process flow and decision table modelling
  • BPMN Model Simulation – this has been enhanced to allow for richer and more robust simulation of BPMN 2.0 process models

Code Engineering

These enhancements provided in EA version 14 are very likely to appeal to a small section of EA users who wish to use EA for detailed software design and analysis. The features that have been enhanced are:

  • Execution Stack Profiler
  • Visual Studio Integration for Solutions (code / class model integration)
  • Memory Profiler (targeting C and C++ code design)
  • App Profiler
  • Executable State Machine

Conclusion

In this article we have provided an overview of the exciting new features that are part of the upcoming EA version 14. Further articles will provide more in depth details of:

  • Focus & Modelling Intent
  • Diagramming
  • Enhanced Properties Windows

In the meantime, please view the following webinar created by Sparx Systems which provides a visual insight of all of the features included in this article using a pre-beta release of EA version 14:
http://www.sparxsystems.com/resources/webinar/release/ea140/overview/index.html

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