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Topics - Ian Mitchell

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General Board / Schema Composer - Editing Restrictions
« on: June 22, 2015, 11:41:07 pm »
I'm a bit of a newbie to the XML Schema Composer, but think I get the basic function - which is clear and usable.
I'm now trying some of the value-add which I would expect to be doing as I generate a schema from a class model, by adding and editing Restrictions - the multiplicity/optionality of an attribute.
I right-click the attribute to see the restriction, but I can't edit it. Is there something simple I'm doing wrong?
(EA V12 build 1215, Ultimate Edition)

General Board / EA and Use Case 2.0 'Slices'
« on: April 23, 2013, 06:27:40 pm »
I'm just starting to use the UseCase -> TestCase generation feature, as it makes EA REALLY useful for those who are using the new "Use Case 2.0" idea of 'Use Case Slices'. (see Jacobsen et. al white paper at

What I noticed is that the test case scenarios which get generated aren't all the possible paths through the use case, as described in Jacobsen's paper.

There seems to be one per Alternate, but you don't handle combinations of alternates.
So, if my Basic Path has alternates A1 and A2, I get test case scenarios for :
- BP
- BP, including A1
- BP, including A2,
- the A1 fragment
- the A2 fragment

but, I don't get BP including A1 and A2 (assuming that the logic of the use case allows the user to follow both paths in the same run of the use case).
I totally get why this would be: it's computationally nasty to cope with combinations of multiple alternates, and the user can quite easily construct these complex cases from the generated fragments, but I wanted to make sure that this was a deliberate omission. If so, then I'll explain to my users how they can make the complex cases themselves.

@Sparx - is this how it is ?

Also, it would be good, at some point, for EA to explicitly support the Use Case Slice idea, as it looks like you've done all the hard work, and it just needs a skin and a few graphics changes. UC2.0 looks a really practical way to use 'use case' ideas in the Agile world, so is likely to get more popular over time.

..and no, I don't want to write ANOTHER extension....:-)

General Board / Additive Attributes or TVs
« on: October 20, 2014, 09:51:54 pm »
Has anyone got a way to make some EA Attributes additive? For example, if I give each Use Case a 'points' (tagged) value, I'd like to give the 'Work Package' element which implements those use cases another Tagged Value, which is the simple sum of all the points values of the Use Cases it realizes?
A bit of a fiddle to setup, but seems really useful: then EA could make sure that the derived value is always up-to-date, and it become easily printable. Should be good for lots of other values, especially in the SysML world, where you're dealing with numeric values quite a lot.
Probably best done with a Script, but I can't quite see what the trigger would be? Has anyone done this already ?

General Board / Attributes of a Scenario
« on: July 23, 2014, 02:30:27 am »
I'd like to add some attributes to Use Case Scenarios, mainly 'Story Points' to help with estimating and managing my project.
Does anyone know a work-around for this, because sadly, there's no way to attach anything to a Scenario - tagged value, or connector, 'cos it's not a proper element. But is there any way to make it look a bit more like one?
Current - rather poor - work-around is to run a little script to create new <<scenario>>Use Case elements from the proper use case, and attach attributes to this, but it's clunky, and I have to re-run it each time I create a new Scenario.

General Board / EA11 Themes - how to edit ?
« on: March 06, 2014, 10:28:05 pm »
These Diagram Themes in EA11 really seem to make diagrams more readable: my BPMN process flows suddenly look much more interesting, and now I want to edit the default colours from the built-in Theme. The default 'EA11' theme seems to choose yellow for activities, green for Gateways etc, but where do I change and save these colours? I get that the built-in ones aren't editable, but when I save theirs with a new name,  it's not clear how to associate element types with fill colours.

General Board / Transforming into locked packages
« on: March 10, 2014, 09:29:30 pm »
Apologies if I'm doing this wrong, but my customer has just asked me what I thought was a silly question.
They have a locked part of their model, for master versions of stuff only.
A user is trying to create a Communication diagram from a Sequence Diagram in this locked area, and to save it in their own area, for which they have permissions.
So, they choose Tools | Model Transformations, and select Communication.
EA correctly doesn't let them choose the locked, master package to put the resulting diagram, so they choose their own package.
...but when they do the transformation, the resulting diagram is created, but in the Locked area!!
Are they doing this wrong? Is there some other option? This seems to break the EA security model, so they are naturally concerned.

General Board / Display of Connector types and Stereotypes
« on: May 24, 2013, 12:12:35 am »
I'm hoping there's a simple explanation for this, but....
I've been noticin several oddities in the EA diagrammer, when displaying the Types and Stereotypes of connectors.
  • Link two elements with a <<trace>>Dependency, and the connector displays the <<trace>> stereotype text on the link. OK
  • Link two elements with a <<important>>Realization, and the <<important>> doesn't appear. Yes, I have got the diagram set to display connector stereotypes.
  • Double-click a <<trace>>Dependency (or <<trace>>Abstraction connector in EA10 - the one seems to have replaced the other as the default behaviour) and the properties window is called 'Trace Properties' - the name of the Stereotype, not the connector type
  • Double click <<important>>Realization, and the properties window is called 'Realization Properties': the Type not the Stereotype
  • Information Flow connectors get a stereotype of <<flow>> in the diagram, even though in the Properties page, they don't have one
  • ..but the properties is called 'Information Flow Properties'
  • Pick a stereotype for the Information flow (e.g ItemFlow), and the properties window uses the name of the stereotype...(Item Flow Properties)
  • ..except if I choose a 'RequirementRelated' stereotype (?), which means I just get the regular 'Information Flow Properties' title.
Now I'm not turning into an EA Diagram Geek, but people do ask me about this stuff occasionally, especially EA newbies, and I just can't create a simple explanation for what I see.

Bug? Feature? User Error?

General Board / BPMN 2.0 Simulation of sub-processes
« on: August 13, 2013, 01:52:40 am »
I'm trying to figure out how to simulate a BPMN sub-process.
For simple sub-processes, which just have one end event, everything is fine. The SIM dives into the sub-process, then comes back up again, and carries on. Fine.

Now I want my sub-process to end on one of two end events: lets call them 'OK' and 'Not OK'.
The flow out of the parent process clearly depends on whether the result of the sub-process was 'OK' or 'Not OK'. Somehow I need to hook these end Events to the activities which follow them.
Does anyone know how to get this to work with the simulator? It's a common use cases,  as it follows BPMN 'best practice' from lots of the BPMN books, and it would be great to show this all working dynamically in EA.

General Board / EAP files getting larger
« on: July 15, 2013, 11:35:00 pm »
I've had a couple of customers recently who have created unexpectedly large EAP models. In one case, a few newbie BAs created a 200+Mb model in just a few weeks, but <5,000 rows in t_object.
Compacting the model took it down to 125 Mb, but that still seemed a lot. Finally, I exported all the content to XMI, and all the ref data, then re-imported everything. Result: a 12Mb model, which is about what I was expecting.
  • My another customer is not quite so extreme, but they see the same effect when exporting/re-importing: model size is reduced by 80%.
  • Just tried the same thing on what I thought was a well looked-after model of my own: this time just a 50% reduction in size!
Question is, what's happening here? Have  I missed-out in exporting some data, such that this isn't a fair comparison? Ticked all the boxes in the Ref data, and the whole model went into the XMI.
Normally I recommend that model manager runs the Project Integrity check once a week, and compacts their EAP, and that's enough to maintain a good model. But is there something else we should be doing?

Why am I bothered about file size? Just makes everything take longer, especially when models are being moved about, versioned, backed-up etc.

Also, I can't make any of these models available for anyone else to experiment with.

General Board / BPMN 2.0 Message Flow 'Envelope'
« on: June 25, 2013, 01:55:39 am »
I'm trying to input some BPMN 2.0 diagrams, and I can't figure out how to get the little envelope symbol on my Message Flows.
In the supplied Sparx examples, they all look beautiful, but on mine, I sometimes get a brief flicker of the envelope,  as I'm re-arranging the geometry of the line, then it goes away.
Has anyone made this work?

General Board / Hide the code in a BPMN Simulation
« on: June 07, 2013, 12:22:22 am »
I've created a truly beautiful BPMN simulation, which skips happily though the process like a....skippy thing.
But when I show it to Process-type people - who are generally non-technical - they are bit intimidated by the fragments of code (e.g. Math.floor(Math.random()*2) == 1;) on some of the connectors, where I want to the flow to choose 50/50 random direction.

Does anyone know of a way to hide this bit of code on my otherwise splendid diagram?

BTW - the code is in a SequenceFlow.conditionExpression tagged value, and Diagram/Connectors/Show Connector Property String doesn't do it.  

General Board / EA for Data Warehousing - state of the art?
« on: April 19, 2013, 07:22:36 pm »
I'm trying to put together a white paper for the EA Community site on 'tips for using EA for DW Projects'. It's a way of using EA which I've used just a couple of times, and I'd like to collect the wisdom of some other projects. I'm imagining an approach which helps people to do DW in the Kimball style. (Is this still the way people do DW?)
Areas I think will be of interest are:
  • Some simple stereotypes & guidelines for Fact/Dimension modelling
  • Creating & managing the data dictionary
  • Using EA Element Features to get element-level traceability
  • Documenting & linking ETL processes
  • well as more mainstream stuff -requirements traceability, prototyping etc
  • (I'm sure there's LOTS more)
Could anyone who has something to contribute please contact me at, and lets spread the love.

General Board / Migrating Visio BPMN into EA
« on: April 18, 2013, 03:00:53 am »
Does anyone have any faster way of migrating Visio BPMN diagrams into EA?
I am using the 'MDG Visio Importer' but whilst it's great on the geometry of the diagrams, its hopeless at creating the correct element types & stereotypes: everything seems to stereotypes of a single type (Activity looked easiest), but the EA BPMN uses lots of element types. Also, the source BPMN has lots of line types, and they all come out as a single one. And every line needs to be made 'Orthogonal rounded', which is really, really dull....
There MUST be a better way than spending an hour correcting each diagram!

Bugs and Issues / Creating new Operations in Locked Components
« on: March 03, 2014, 10:03:57 pm »
We have a component model which has locked components which most users can't update.
So, if they try to add new Operations to those components directly, EA correctly stops them.
When they take the same component, make it realize an interface, EA will let them select which operations they want to implement, THEN LETS THEM ADD THEM TO THE COMPONENT.
Surely this breaks the security model? Or have I missed an option somewhere?
How can I stop my users from compromising the integrity of my master model ? :-/

Uml Process / Inheritance of Required- and Provided-Interfaces
« on: November 19, 2013, 01:45:43 am »
I'm trying to provide an EA 'sandbox' where designers can try-out new ideas for components, based on pre-defined (read-only) existing ones.
The existing ones have lots of Provided- and RequiredInterfaces defined, with lots of operations on those interfaces.

What I was expecting to do was have them
  • create a Generalization of the existing component, so that they don't break anything
  • then add/modify interfaces/operations of the new Component
Mostly, though, they will just be re-using existing Interfaces (and their operations) from the parent.

But EA doesn't seem to inherit the ProvidedInterfaces of the parent. I'd imagined that anything which inherits from a parent inherits everything: operations attributes and implemented interfaces as well.

Any operations defined in the parent component are inherited just fine - of course - but I was surprised that the ProvidedInterfaces were not inherited as well.
Is this a gap in my understanding of (1) UML or (2) EA, or (3) just a funny in EA ?

The only way I can seem to get around this is to either
- create the ProvidedInterfaces all over again, on each of the inherited Components, which rather means there is no point inheriting the Component in the first place.
- doing a Copy/Paste of the parent element. This correctly copies the Provided- and Required-Interfaces. But now I've lost the fact that the new Component is related to the parent.

In both cases, if the parent changes, the children (copies) don't know. :-(, which is exactly what inheritance solves.

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