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Part 4 - Where to Now?

Having created a model in a repository, you might now like to see how your work can be further supported by tailoring the Enterprise Architect work area to your requirements. You can also re-visit the tools you have used, and learn a little more about them and about other tools and facilities that are equally valuable in helping you develop and manage your models.

Customize the Workspace

When you first open Enterprise Architect, you see the default layout of the user interface. You can change the layout and appearance of the interface in many, many ways, hiding windows you don't need, organizing the dialogs you do need in the most convenient configuration, changing the display colors and texts, and much more, to suit your personal preference, the area of work you are responsible for and the tasks you perform.

The sections here show you where you can perform this customization.

Change Visual Style

The illustrations of the user interface you have seen in the guide have a particular color and appearance - or visual style. You can change this style to one of several alternatives, using the 'Application Look' dialog (select the 'Start > View > Visual Style > Visual Style' ribbon option).

The first three fields on the dialog have the greatest visual impact. Try experimenting with changing the values; you can click on the Apply button and see the effect without having to close the dialog. Note that for some of the permutations you do not need to have values in all three fields.

The default values are shown in the illustration, so you can return to them if you need to!

Set Some Major Preferences

Preferences are aspects of the system that you personalize so that every project you open in Enterprise Architect, on your workstation and under your user ID, looks and behaves in the same way - the way you want them to! Each user might see the same project differently, according to their own preferences.

You start by displaying the 'Preferences' dialog (select the 'Start > View > Preferences' ribbon option).

As you can see there are many pages of options you can set, although not all options will be important to you. Click on the page names on the left of the dialog to review the options that are available. If you want an explanation of a setting, click on the Help button to display a description of every setting on the page.

The most visible preferences are the object colors on diagrams. Open a diagram and then change the settings on the 'Diagram > Standard Colors' page of the dialog. Every setting has an option to revert to the default color, so you can try all sorts of combinations without losing the standard settings.

Customize Ribbon Categories

The ribbons at the top of the work area together provide access to almost every tool and facility of Enterprise Architect, but as you are unlikely to use every tool and facility you might consider tailoring the ribbons to exclude things you do not need. You first display the 'My Ribbon Sets' tab of the 'Workspace Layout' dialog (select the 'Start > View > Workspace > My Workspaces' ribbon option and click on the 'My Ribbon Sets' tab).

Click on the New button and type in a name for your custom ribbon display. You will see that all the ribbons are now listed in the 'Configure Ribbons' panel, and if you expand a ribbon name the sections of that ribbon are also shown. For every ribbon and section that you don't need, you clear the selected checkbox so that the ribbon or section will be excluded from the ribbon bar.

Click on the Apply button to update the ribbon display. If you want to reinstate the default full ribbon set, click on the background of the 'Create Ribbon Set' panel and click on the Reset button.

Putting Things in their Place

When you open Enterprise Architect for the first time, the various windows are in position around the display. These windows - and others that you open - do not have to stay in those positions, you can simply click on the window name and drag the window to a more convenient spot on the  display.

Alternatively, you can dock a window exactly where you put it, so it stays there, open, across many work sessions.

As you move a window, a 'compass' icon displays in the center of the screen and a 'compass point' icon displays on each edge.

When you move the window over a compass point, an area of the display turns blue. This is the area that the window will occupy when you drop and dock it. You can then adjust the window borders to suit.

If there is another window in the docking area another compass displays there, with a square in the middle. The compass points dock the dragged window above, below, or to the side of the other current window, whilst the square makes it a tab of the same frame as that window.

Using the Workspace facilities

Docking a window puts one window in position at a time, but many of the windows can be used in combination, so to save you from working out, building and positioning those combinations, the system provides them for you and gives you the tools to quickly apply them! These tools form the Workspaces facility (select the 'Start > View > Workspace > Select a Workspace' ribbon option).

Before you try out some layouts, clear the 'Close on Apply' checkbox, so that you can try different layouts without having to re-open the dialog. Select a layout (such as 'Debug') and click on the Apply button.

You can set a system-defined layout and then move individual windows, or otherwise create a layout that better suits you. Having done that, you can save it as a personal layout by selecting the 'Start > View > Workspace > Save Current Window Layout' ribbon option, which prompts you to give your layout a name. If you use some other layout you can come back to yours by selecting it on the 'My Workspaces' tab of the 'Workspace Layout' dialog.

Going Back to Work

You do a lot of work using windows such as the Diagram View (with several diagrams as tabs, perhaps), Relationship Matrix and Model Search.

Having reached the end of a work session, you might want to start your next work session by picking up where you left off. You can capture your current work status using the Working Sets window (select the 'Start > View > Workspace > My Working Sets' ribbon option).

You right-click on the central panel of the 'Manage Working Sets' dialog and select the 'Store Main Tab View History' option, which captures the views that you have open as you close down your work station. If you also select the 'Apply When Model Opens' option, the system will automatically open those views when you open your model in the next work session. Alternatively, you could use the 'Open Working Set' option when you are ready to resume that work, if you need to do something else first.

Quick Reference

Ribbons in Brief

Ribbons, shown at the top of the work area, provide access to almost every tool and facility in Enterprise Architect. Each ribbon supports a domain of work - such as designing the model components and structure - and is divided into segments to group the tools and facilities according to the structure or function the tools are for.

This example is the Start ribbon, which provides access to tools for organizing your work and your work area. In particular, look at the options in the 'Explore' panel, which provides the tools for seeing what is in your model and where particular objects are. These tools include:

  • Browsers - such as the Project Browser, Element Browser or Resources window
  • Properties displays -  such as the Properties window itself and windows showing Notes, related Documents, Features and Constraints
  • The Trace facilities for examining and tracing relationships between pairs of elements and sequences of elements
  • The model Search, providing many predefined searches for locating and highlighting different objects in your models

Portals Window

The Portals Window displays one of nine Portals, and provides the facility for switching to a different Portal. The Portals identify tasks in particular areas of work, and provide links to the window or dialog for performing each task. The Guidebook and Learning Portals provide links to online information that describes a feature of Enterprise Architect and how to work with it. You display the Portals window by selecting the 'Show > Portals' option at the left end of the ribbon bar.

      

Perspectives

Perspectives refine the model development facilities in Enterprise Architect to support a particular technology or domain, The most visible effects of setting a perspective are that the contents of the Diagram Toolbox are restricted to those element and connector sets used in the domain, and the model Patterns are tailored to generate diagram and/or model structures of exactly the type for modeling in your selected area.

You can list and select the perspectives from the Perspective drop-down list in the top right of the display.

Collaboration

If you are working as a member of a team, you will need to contact colleagues with anything from a quick question to a list of formal review comments. Whichever type of message you want to send, Enterprise Architect has a facility to create and deliver that message.

You can access the facilities through the 'Start > Collaborate' ribbon segment, selecting the 'Discussions', 'Reviews' or 'Mail' options. The Discussions option gives you a Chat facility too.

(Note that the Mail and Chat facilities operate on user IDs, which cannot be set in the Trial edition. The windows display, but you cannot send a message.)

Shortcut Keys

Many of the facilities and operations in Enterprise Architect can be selected by pressing keyboard keys as well as by selecting ribbon or menu options.

For a list of the keyboard shortcuts you can use, access the Learning Portal (select the 'Show > Portals > Learning' ribbon option) and look at the Keyboard Shortcuts and Diagram Shortcuts topics under the 'Quick Reference' heading.

Resources You Can Use

Help

At any time, if you want information on the purpose of a screen or how to complete it, you can select one of these options to display the Help topic describing that screen:

  • Press F1
  • Click on the Help icon. icon in the screen header, or
  • Click on the Help button at the bottom of the screen

Or you can access the Help by selecting the 'Start > Help > Help > Open Help System' ribbon option.

Each Help topic displays as a web page. You can click on the list of topics on the left of the page to explore related and/or more detailed topics, or click on a point in the 'breadcrumb' trail above the topic to access more conceptual topics or Help on a different subject area.

The Example Model (EAExample)

The Example model is a collection of model fragments, brought together into a single model, to illustrate the many different ways to use Enterprise Architect across a broad range of model domains.  The Example model does not represent a model of a working system, instead it provides samples from many disparate systems.

The example model is provided as part of the Enterprise Architect product installation and you can open it from the 'Help' panel of the 'Start' ribbon, selecting 'Help | Open the Example Model'.

When you load the EAExample model, its default diagram 'Getting Started' is loaded.  The 'Getting Started' diagram contains a series of links to other diagrams that relate to different modeling domains, such as Business Modeling or Systems Modeling, as well as some of the tasks you might want to perform in Enterprise Architect, such as Project Management and Publishing.  Double-clicking on a diagram link will open the diagram.  The next level of diagrams typically contain a description and some instructions on how to access related features in Enterprise Architect, and further links to model examples for that area of interest.

As an example, try double-clicking on 'Requirements Model' in the 'Getting Started' diagram, then 'Tracing Requirements' on the next diagram. and finally 'Traceability Diagrams' on the diagram with the heading 'Traceability'.  This will bring you to an example of a Traceability Diagram.

You will find a description of what is on the Traceability Diagram, why it is useful and how to create one for yourself.  You can right-click on the diagram itself - or its elements - and 'Find' them in the Project Browser to see where the elements come from and how they relate to each other.

Webinars and Video Resources

Sparx Systems has published a number of web seminars, tutorials and video demonstrations of the use of Enterprise Architect tools and facilities, on our website. These recordings are often quite short and all are easy to watch.

You can access the recordings through the Learning Portal (select the 'Show > Portals > Learning' ribbon option) by clicking on the 'Resources' option under the 'About' heading. This displays the 'Resources & Tutorials' web page, which provides three separate icons for the webinars, demonstration videos and tutorials.

Guidebooks

For a more in-depth discussion of Enterprise Architect's support for an area of work, you can read one of the many PDF Guidebooks held in the Sparx Systems online library. You can access these through the Guidebook Portal (as you saw in the 'Portals' section earlier).

You can either read a guidebook online or print it.