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Messages - Paolo F Cantoni

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Does that mean we've nailed it?

I started thinking about how your summation was predetermined by the grammatical tense in English and sunk slowly and quietly into a epistemological fugue state.
Surely you "sank into an epistemological fugue state".    ;D


Well, this seems to have died a quick death!

Does that mean we've nailed it?

I'm keen for others to suggest scenarios that we can test against our proto-design.


General Board / Re: Date format on diagram notes
« on: May 02, 2018, 10:11:04 am »
Hi Modesto,

If you mean the Diagram Notes Element (what I usually refer to as the "Title Block") on my machine it's all OK.  European dates all the way through.  Although since as qwerty and Geert remind us all, we're upside down out here, I guess anything is possible.  :)


Good to see someone thinking about this prickly problem in Sparx EA. I remember having a conversation way back in 1997 with Popkin for System Architect to support such a feature - unfortunately, it was too hard for them. It was the relationships between the elements that was the tricky part.  :(
Yes that's what we think also.  However, at least it's doable with EA.
[/quote]I like your idea of using a GUID to link back to the original element with a tag value and in addition taking a leaf from Martin Fowler's work on temporal patterns you could add a date range of when its active. Here's the link to Martin Fowler's temporal patterns

I guess it would be possible to do the same thing with the connector too.
[/quote]THe GUID is there just to preserve the relationship between the doppelganger and the master.  Once the doppelganger is imported, we use the GUID to create the arc back to the master.  Since the semantics of the past snapshot are different from the future clone, one can imagine a RefGUID in the Master identifying the last snapshot taken.  One can then create the link between the latest snapshot and the previous snapshot.

I met Martin in the early 90's when we both spoke at a Conference in Sydney.


I strongly doubt that "time aware modelling" is of any use at all. I had much fun reading DeMarco's "Deadline". And clearly, nobody has the money to work that "agile way" he describes. What I see is just to have a goal and steer towards that. Nobody is interested in past paths that have been taken. And also quite clearly nobody can afford taking parallel paths to find the optimal way to the set goal. What counts it the NOW and everything should be done to give a clear picture of this. Nothing else.

My 2 cents.

For smaller projects, that may be the case, but in an enterprise setting, where "Corporate Alzheimer's" sets in, there is merit to making the immutable past available.  In addition, in bureaucratic institutions ("no names, no pack drill") there is a necessity to not only consider alternatives but also to show they have been considered...

Also, I'm not necessarily talking about "Time-Aware" modelling, since it can't achieve what we need.  Perhaps I'm talking about Temporal State/Version Management.


Bugs and Issues / Re: 1417RC Can't show Notes!
« on: May 01, 2018, 04:15:18 pm »
The "Notes" checkbox should now be in the "Show Element Compartments" list along with all the other compartments.
Well that was intuitively obvious!  ;)   Especially since the order is alphabetic.

FWIW, in my over a decade of use of EA, I've been in that panel less than a handful of times. I plead "snow blindness".

But thanks!


Bugs and Issues / 1417RC Can't show Notes!
« on: May 01, 2018, 02:28:00 pm »
In the 1417 RC, the ability to use the Notes section of the [Ctrl+Shift+Y] Compartment Visibility dialog is compromised.  The [ ] Show Notes checkbox is missing!


General Board / Re: EA 14 Menu Changes - Reference
« on: May 01, 2018, 09:55:17 am »
I'm afraid I'm becoming too slow. I haven't finished learning 13.5, and here is 14 with another whole new set of ribbons and changes!
Great stuff. Will keep me busy for another year!.
So when we shout "Mayday, Mayday Mayday!"  You throw us this as a lifeline?   ;D

Lovely work! Thanks for that Nizam


As suggested, I've started a new thread to discuss what might be needed for Enterprise scale modelling of multiple states in time.  This post address the concepts involved so we can agree on what we are talking about and then look at options for implementation.

Time flows (for us humans at least).  What we consider to be the "present" state changes over time.  In database architectures, we can handle how records change over time with State Episodes (the record was in this state for this episode of time).  Using State Episodes, we can hold both historical changes of state and proposed future state(s) in addition to the present state.  One thing we can't do is hold alternate future states (at least not with standard State Episodes).

Because of the effluxion of time, there is only one present state and one "thread" of historical states.  With Standard State Episodes, one can hold a single "thread" of future states.

Historical states are (supposed to be) immutable.  The past is the past!  Whereas, the future is subject to change.  To quote Neils Bohr (disputed), "Prediction is difficult - especially about the future!".

The present is just the present - "As Is" - although what it contains changes with the effluxion of time.

Using state episodes, one can query the object and determine its state at any point in time, seamlessly.

One of the changes that the future is subject to, that that of alternate planning.  In real life (and therefore in modelling), we need to handle alternate, competing, possibilities for a solution while we are investigating the problem and its possible solution(s).  Eventually, we hope, one solution will win out and will be adopted as the "To-Be" solution, which when implemented and the effluxion of time has caught up with the future will become the new "As-Is".  One might say, in addition to a "To-Be",  we also need several "Might-Be".

While Sparx EA does not actually hold state episodic data, it utilises the single thread concept as part of its time aware modelling.

EA uses the concept of doppelgangers or clones to (at least some extent) simulate state episodes.  While not able to achieve the seamless determination of the object state at an arbitrary point in time, a clone (version) of the object is created at nominated points so that changes in a specific version are not also made in other versions.

Unlike a state episodic item, there is no single "identity", rather the single "thread" of clones establishes how the item has changed in each version.

In real life (and therefore in modelling), we need to retain knowledge of "As-was". There is a conceptual difference between "As-Was" and the other two viewpoints.  "As-Was" as mentioned above is immutable. We'd like to be able to recreate the state of an item at any point in the past for which we were tracking it, but that's not possible.  We can only take a "snapshot" of the item at a point in time.  Thus, we aren't really creating an "active" clone of the present (at the point at which we took the snapshot), but a "frozen" doppelganger.  It seems to me, therefore, that the semantic relationship between the past doppelgangers and the present is distinct from that of the future clones and the present.  In addition, while there is no direct relationship between the past doppelgangers (since they each came from a snapshot of the evolving present) there is an inferred relationship between them.

In EA, we already know how to create snapshots, we just export the branch and re-import using "Strip GUIDs".  All we need to do is to link the doppelganger with its master.  Not hard to do if we add a Tagged Value holding the original, master, GUID before export.  We can use the same GUID to link the other past doppelgangers to the new one.



Bugs and Issues / Re: RefGUIDList tag: field too small
« on: April 30, 2018, 09:57:21 am »
My personal interpretation is that multiple tagged values represent the value for a single property. This allows you to use multiple strings, multiple structured values or 7 or more RefGUIDs.
I think it depends on the concpetual multiplicity of the TV wrt the item.  That having been said, if the multiplicity is > 1 then go for it.


General Board / Re: Aris vs EA for Process Modelling
« on: April 27, 2018, 10:11:13 am »
Hi Paolo where can I learn more about this clarification service? Sounds interesting!


Our EA Organisation now offers a "Clarification Service" to help users agree what they are talking about.  It's based on our Onto-Terminological Modelling and the few User Departments that have used it have been very pleased with the results.

Hi Richard,

It's not rocket science, we use a controlled language. Based on our Onto-Terminological model where we relate terms and concepts, terms and terms and concepts and concepts.  We have also developed some guidelines/rules about how language needs to work in order to reduce confusion.  As a result, we've created some special ontological relationships.  But, basically, it's sitting in on discussions and listening to how people are miscommunicating and helping sort it out when we see it.  We also hold facilitated sessions to explore the domain, principally from a data-oriented viewpoint.

PM me if you want to know more.

General Board / Re: Aris vs EA for Process Modelling
« on: April 26, 2018, 05:06:32 pm »
So I would focus efforts on getting maximum clarity on what your client wants to achieve and how they want to achieve it - then the tool choice should be straightforward.

Yeah... Good luck with that. ;)

Our EA Organisation now offers a "Clarification Service" to help users agree what they are talking about.  It's based on our Onto-Terminological Modelling and the few User Departments that have used it have been very pleased with the results.


Bugs and Issues / Re: Time-aware models: revert clone
« on: April 26, 2018, 04:59:13 pm »
Notwithstanding that the cloning mechanism is for our use (notionally), I could practice what I preach and open up a "crowd-sourced" requirements and use case thread - to help us specify what the mechanism should do and how it should behave.

I'm in!

OK, I'm "up to my neck in muck and bullets" right now, but I'll try to get something started soon.

If you like, PM me some requirements as you see them.


General Board / Re: Excel Import
« on: April 26, 2018, 04:49:23 pm »
Hi Takeshi,

That's a really nice EA hint! I shall remember it.



Bugs and Issues / Re: Time-aware models: revert clone
« on: April 24, 2018, 09:54:58 am »
Very good perspectives and analysis in this thread. This is the kind of discussion that could have given a perfect spec for the new feature.
What ask the users what they want in a feature BEFORE you build it?  To paraphrase the ".Net Rocks" guys, "That's crazy talk!"

One of our senior architects was bemoaning a new "feature" that had been developed by one of our manufacturers on one of our production applications. "They build what they want to build and then wonder why it doesn't suit our needs.  They never asked anybody".

It seems to be an occupational hazard.

For our part, we have decided (and here I don't mean the "royal" we, I mean our Modeling Review Board) that this year we need to implement a proper cloning mechanism to help us keep track of what's going on in our enterprise-wide repository.  So given Sparx has developed a "cloning" mechanism of sorts, we need to be as compatible as we can with that.  Based on previous experience,  the feature design is not going to change significantly in the next little while.

Notwithstanding that the cloning mechanism is for our use (notionally), I could practice what I preach and open up a "crowd-sourced" requirements and use case thread - to help us specify what the mechanism should do and how it should behave.


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