Book a Demo
Prev Next

Repository Overview

EA Project Files

Enterprise Architect repositories contain valuable information about an enterprise and the projects that it runs. The information could be at a strategic, tactical or operational level, and the models can be based on a range of disciplines from business through technology to engineering. The models can represent the current or future state of the enterprise or one of its business or technology divisions or services. The repository will become the central hub of corporate knowledge and, through integration with a range of other tools, can provide a unified view of all enterprise knowledge and its connections.

As a modeler you create content in the form of graphs of interconnected elements that are visualized on diagrams, lists and specialized representations such as Matrices, Kanban Boards, Charts, Graphs, Road Maps and more. Stakeholders outside the modeling groups are able to view these visualizations and collaborate through discussions, reviews and chat, giving feedback and asking questions and so participating in the evolution of the models.

An Enterprise Architect Repository is stored in a relational database; this can be a file based database such as SQLite or Firebird (MS Access in older versions), or a database management system (DBMS) such as MS SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL or Oracle. Enterprise Architect can connect to DBMS-based repositories via a direct connection or with the use of the Pro Cloud Server - of the type usually referred to as Cloud Based Repositories. It is common to start with a File Based Repository and, when the project gets some momentum and there are a number of modelers accessing the repository, to transfer it to a DBMS. Whichever type of repository is implemented, the user interface remains the same and users can seamlessly move from one type of repository to another and continue to contribute as a team member on this modeling platform.




See also

Repository as a File

In any edition of Enterprise Architect you can store a project in a single file with a .qea or .feap extension.  Older versions of Enterprise Architect supported .eap/.eapx file, however since the release of Enterprise Architect version 16 this format is deprecated.

  • A .qea file is a SQLite database
  • A .feap file is a Firebird database
  • A .eap/.eapx files are Microsoft JET databases, with .eap being a MS Access 97 based file and .EAPX being a MS Access 2000
File Based Projects

Repository in a DBMS (Database Management System)

In the Enterprise Architect Corporate, Unified and Ultimate Editions you can also use a suitable DBMS repository for projects.

DBMS projects have the same database schema/structure as .qea and .feap files, but provide much greater scalability and concurrent access.  Enterprise Architect connects to a DBMS using either a 'Native' connection (introduced in EA v16) or ADO/ODBC (see Connect to a Data Repository). Sparx Systems recommends the use of Native connections going forward.

Note that when configuring an ODBC data source on a 64 bit machine, you should use the matching ODBC data manager for your Enterprise Architect installation.  For example, if you have installed the 64 bit version of Enterprise Architect then your ODBC DSN will need to have 64 bit definitions.  To ensure the correct version of the ODBC data manager is used, use Enterprise Architect's  'Settings > User Tools > ODBC Data Sources' ribbon option.

Server Based Repositories

Repository in the Cloud

In the Corporate, Unified and Ultimate Editions of Enterprise Architect you can further enable the distributed capabilities of Enterprise Architect and use the Internet or local network to connect to a Pro Cloud Server on which one or more Repositories have been installed and configured for access. The Pro Cloud Server is free software available from Sparx Systems, and is relatively simple to set up and configure on a suitable Windows-based machine. Cloud-based repositories provide the ultimate in distributed development and minimal client configuration. In fact, clients only need the URL of the server and database name in order to connect to the Cloud based repository.

The Pro Cloud Server supports the same File based and DBMSs that Enterprise Architect does, ie Firebird, MariaDB, MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, SQLite and SQLServer. If a DBMS server is being used, to ensure the best performance for Enterprise Architect clients, Sparx Systems recommend that the Pro Cloud Server and database servers should reside on the same local area network and be joined by a high speed connection.

Pro Cloud Server Repositories


Enterprise Architect uses this terminology when discussing Repositories and their contents.

  1. A Model is a related group of content that expresses some focused aspect of a system or enterprise that is related by the modeling tools and paradigm used. For example, you might build a 'Usecase Model' that describes behavior and scenarios using UML Use Cases. Process models, architectural models, behavioral models, structural models, Class models and so on are all Models within the current Project.
  2. A Project is a group of models that has a single unifying purpose. For example, a Project to design the navigation systems for a new aircraft or automobile would be considered a single Project. Within this Project there would be multiple models. Projects typically define levels of security, necessary types of view and model, necessary procedures and other management tasks to deliver the product. Project management capabilities in Enterprise Architect are very rich and allow for resource management, security, change management, testing and other typical project management tasks.
  3. A Repository is a single File, DBMS database or Cloud Server address that contains one or more Projects. Typically, file based repositories such as SQLite and Firebird models contain a single Project with multiple models that can be shared by a small workgroup or only accessed by a single modeler. DBMS and Cloud based Repositories will often contain more than one Project, especially where the Projects are in some way inter-related or co-dependent.

Adding Initial Content

After creating and accessing your new project in whatever form the Repository takes, you can now use the Model Wizard (Start Page 'Create from Pattern' tab) to create Model Packages that range from generic and simple views to more complex and pattern based content.

You can add models to a project from the Browser window by:

  • Right-clicking on an existing model and selecting the 'Add a Model using Wizard' option
  • Right-clicking on a Package and selecting the 'Add a Model using Wizard' option
  • Clicking on an existing model, pressing the Insert key and selecting the 'Add a Model using Wizard' menu option
  • Clicking on a Package, pressing the Insert key and selecting the 'Add a Model using Wizard' menu option
File Based Projects The Model Wizard

Opening Existing Projects

Existing Projects are accessible via the 'Recent Models' list or 'Open Project' option under the 'File Management' icon (Project list), or the 'Recent' list or Manage Projects button on the Start Page.

Connecting to an existing DBMS or Cloud based Repository is discussed in more detail under the relevant sections on working with those Repository types.

For new users, you can use the 'Start > Help > Help > Open the Example Model' ribbon option to open and explore the Enterprise Architect Example Repository supplied with Enterprise Architect. This example is not so much a fully worked example as a collection of models that show how you can leverage the power of the Enterprise Architect platform and the UML to create a wide range of visual and text based models.

Managing Connections to Projects

DBMS Repositories

You can connect to any of these data repositories:

  • Firebird
  • MariaDB
  • Microsoft Access 2007 onwards
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2005 onwards (including Express and Azure)
  • MySQL
  • Oracle 9i onwards
  • PostgreSQL

In brief, to create a new database repository, you first create a new database with the DBMS management software, then run supplied scripts to create the schema/structure.

The database then requires initial amount of data for Enterprise Architect to function correctly.  The initial data can be a copy of an existing repository or the bare minimum from a number of different sources. Details are available under the Server Based Repositories section.

Server Based Repositories