Diagrams are one of the most expressive views of the repository. They show a number of elements connected to each other by relationships, creating a narrative that describes a part of the repository in a visual language. Quite commonly the elements in a diagram exist in the same Package in the Browser window; however, the most expressive diagrams typically contain elements of different types from different Packages.
Creating a diagram is one of the most common ways for a modeler to add elements or relationships to the repository. As new elements are dropped onto the diagram canvas from the Toolbox, they are added to the same Package (or element) that contains the diagram. These same elements can participate in other diagrams; in fact, the more diagrams the elements appear in, the richer the model.
Diagrams are displayed in the Browser window as a child of either a Package or another element. While they often reside in the same Package (or element) as the elements they contain, they can be freely moved around the Browser window to any location.
Like learners of natural languages, newcomers to modeling often create basic diagrams that lack expression, but with a little practice and some time spent examining the diagrams of experienced modelers their diagrams will soon become rich and expressive.
Enterprise Architect supports a wide range of modeling languages, each of which has a set of diagrams; these include the UML, BPMN, SysML and many other languages and technologies.
As you create your diagrams and add modeling elements to them, you can use a number of helpful facilities to add extra meaning and expression, such as:
- Partition the diagram, whatever the type, either vertically into columns or horizontally into rows, using Swimlanes
- Partition the diagram into a grid of cells, using a Swimlanes Matrix
- Create a Kanban diagram, sectioned and color-coded to organize the elements' project management properties
- Add Legend elements, which both provide and can automatically apply a key to the colors and styles you have used for the modeling elements on the diagram
- Depict the more elements on the diagram as the objects that they represent, using graphical images from the Image Manager
- Automatically apply one of a range of layout formats to the diagram
- If the diagram display is too small to read comfortably, click on the diagram, press and hold and use the mouse wheel to temporarily expand or reduce the display magnification
- Diagrams can be the subjects of informal discussions and formal reviews; to add a diagram to a:
- Discussion, simply click on it when the Discuss & Review window is open
- Review, encapsulate it in a Navigation Cell on the Review diagram