The 'Chat' tab on the Chat & Mail window provides an extremely useful facility of following and participating in quick conversations on a point of interest, with members of a selected user group. The user group can contain a number of users and is defined in User Security, which must be enabled in order for the Chat facility to be available.
You can also select an individual user to chat with; each model user - also as defined in User Security - is nominally a Chat group of one.
Each initial comment or response is a separate message, listed in date/time order, with the most recent message at the top of the list. The messages are independent of the currently selected model object and the full list displays whenever the user group is selected in the 'Chat' tab. As the messages are independent of any model object, they do not appear in the Discuss & Review - History window or 'Recently Discussed Elements' report, which are element-based.
If you simply want to make notes for yourself, you can use the 'Diary' tab on which you jot down any notes, comments, reminders or references that you want to record during the day. Alternatively, you can make similar notes about a specific element, and effectively chat with other users about that element, through the 'Journal' tab of the Discuss & Review window.
You can filter the messages by the time interval prior to today, and you can set up a check to notify you when new messages are posted by members of one or more user groups, including specifically-selected individual users.
This screen capture shows an example of a Chat session:
Start > Collaborate > Chat > Chat
Start > All Windows > Collaborate > Personal > Chat
Browser window > Right-click on element > Collaborate > Chat
On diagram > Right-click on element > Collaborate > Chat
> Personal | Chat
Select a User Group
Initially, the button at the top of the 'Chat' tab displays the name 'Select a Discussion Group'. Click on the button and, if you want to communicate with:
- A group of several users, select the 'Group Chats' option and the name of the user group to send messages to
- A specific user, select the 'User Chats' option and either the name of a user you have already been chatting with previously, or the 'Select Chat Group' option to locate the specific user (on the 'Create New Discussion' dialog, click on the , double-click on the name of the user in the displayed list, then click on the )
The name of the currently-selected user group or user then becomes the name of the button.
If you want to communicate with a different group or user, click on the button again and select the group or user to chat to, as before.
If you do not want to continue chatting, you can select 'Disconnect from Current Chat'.
Create a Message
At the top of the 'Chat' tab, in the text field, create your message. You have two options, direct entry or indirect entry.
In direct entry (better for short messages), type or paste your message as continuous text (no carriage returns). The text automatically wraps at the border of the text field. As you type, you can right-click on the text and perform the usual Notes text operations such as formatting and setting translation flags.
If you need to break your text into paragraphs, press at the point at which to break the text.
In indirect entry, press in the field to display a simple text window and type or paste your Chat text there. When you have finished your message, press the key to transfer the text to the 'Chat' tab. The advantage of the indirect method is that you can edit and format the text - especially in long messages containing several paragraphs - without risk of accidentally submitting it incomplete as a Chat item.
Note that your text might contain words that are automatically underlined. These are terms for which a Glossary definition has been created, and positioning the cursor over one of these words will display the definition in a pop-up message box. If you do not want to indicate glossary terms, right-click on the message and click on the 'Highlight Glossary Terms' menu option. This will clear the automatic underlines across the system. Do this again if you want to restore the underlines.
Whilst you can add quite a lot of text to a Chat message, you might need to send a larger volume of already-existing text or information in another format such as a chart or graphic file. You can do this very simply while you are typing, by right-clicking at the appropriate point in your text and selecting:
After the document link is inserted, you can continue typing the rest of the Chat message.
When you have completed your message in the text field, click on the or press the . The message displays at the top of the list underneath the text field.
If you have selected to show avatars (the 'Settings > Security > Administer > User Settings > Show user avatars' ribbon option), all messages show an image representing the user who contributed that message. If a user does not have an avatar image, a default 'head and shoulders' silhouette displays as the avatar.
Also, if you are chatting with members of a user group, your names are shown in full. If you are talking to a single user, only your first name displays. There might be more than one Steve or Dave in your user group, so the surnames identify which is writing. In a one-to-one Chat you specifically chose to talk to, say, Dave Brookes, so the surname is not necessary.
Messages you have sent or received are listed in the body of the 'Chat' tab in chronological order, with the most recent message at the top. If you post messages in succession, without response from another user, your messages are grouped together in time order with the most recent at the top, and the time it was sent on the left. If the set of messages spans more than one day, the date of posting is also displayed.
In a Chat with another individual user, the messages from each person have highlighted backgrounds, so that you can quickly see where each user's message(s) start and finish.
Once a message has been sent, it cannot be edited. If you want to re-use the text of a message item, you can copy some or all of the message to the clipboard by pressingbefore you send it. You can then paste the text into a new chat item or into another document in Enterprise Architect.
You can also delete a message by right-clicking on it and selecting the 'Delete Message' option.
Messages sent by other people to the currently-selected User Group display in your screen immediately. Messages deleted by other users do not disappear immediately. To update your list, right-click on it and select the 'Reload Messages' option.
Monitor User Groups for Messages
You can set the system to monitor selected user groups, and to notify you when a member of one of those user groups posts a message whilst the 'Chat' tab is either set to a different user group or not visible. A member of the 'Administrators' user group can add themselves to any other security group and receive notifications of posts to that group.
Note that you do not have to manually set monitoring for Chat messages posted under the IDs of individual users; these are all monitored automatically.
The notification is a that displays at the right of the application title bar when a message is posted from a monitored user group. The button also displays if a message is posted in the thread you have been reading, and the 'Chat' tab is not visible. If you still have the thread loaded in the 'Chat' tab, click on the button to redisplay the 'Chat' tab with the new message in the thread.
Thealso provides a menu to indicate which group has posted the new and unread message. When you click on a group in that menu, the 'Chat' tab displays with the appropriate thread of messages.
To set up a check for messages from a user group:
- Click on the 'Options' icon on the right of the header of the 'Chat' tab, and select the 'Monitor Groups for new Messages' option.
- Select a user group to monitor. If you want to monitor more than one group, either:
- Do steps 1 and 2 again for each individual group to monitor, or
- Select the 'All' group to check for messages from any group
- Select the 'Monitor Groups for new Messages' option again, and click on the 'Check for new Messages Every' option. Click on the interval of time at which the system will check for new messages - every minute, or up to every ten minutes.
- If you want to cancel monitoring a specific group, repeat steps 1 and 2. Clicking on a selected group will deselect it.
- If you want to cancel monitoring all of the selected groups, perform step 1 and then click on the 'None' option.
You can also set up a concise and very responsive mechanism on a diagram to notify you of Chat messages sent to you. For further details, see the Collaboration Support in Diagrams Help topic.
Filter Messages by Age
The 'Options' icon provides a series of options to limit the display of messages to those posted within a certain number of days prior to today's date.
You can select to display only messages posted today (the default), or within the last 3, 7, 30 or 90 days. The 'Today +' option also enables you to show postings from today and the 20 most recent postings prior to today
If you do not want to limit the display of messages to an interval you have set, you can cancel it by selecting the 'All' option.