Author Topic: EA drifting away?  (Read 9011 times)

Knaldgas

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EA drifting away?
« on: December 08, 2015, 08:49:04 pm »
Am I the only one that feels that EA has drifted away from its core values?  :-/

I suppose this is a subjective view, so let me elaborate on that:
I started to use EA because it made it fast and easy to create UML diagrams for larger projects (and it included the timing diagram).

With each release I feel that the UI of EA becomes increasingly slower, and primary features gets increasingly more complex to reach. Today I stick with EA10 because 11 and 12 have become too slow and complex to work with for me, and I do presume that EA10 does not get any support anymore so I feel that I have hit a dead-end with EA. :-[

A couple of examples (from history as I remember it):
  • Attributes and Methods got buried under "Features and Properties...", so one more click to reach these.
  • Roles and multiplicity: Once you double-clicked on an association, and you could reach roles and multiplicity with a few TABs. Then they got demoted to secondary tabs under "Source Role" and "Target Role", and now their accessibility is even worse (try TAB your way to multiplicity). Previously you could hit the down-key to open the "pull-down list", that has gone as well.
  • Wasn't there a time where you could open an Association or Class dialog box, and click on other associations/classes in the diagram and cause the dialog box to simply change to that entity, so that you didn't have to navigate to the same field for each entity.

Anyway, I suppose I really want to ask Sparx to please stop implementing new features for a while and start making EA fast and easy to use again, and please fix all those bugs too.

Yeah, this will be my Christmas Wish!

qwerty

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Re: EA drifting away?
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2015, 10:42:47 pm »
Welcome. I sent at least a dozen of those Christmas wishes. None of them heard. Santa lives on North Pole. Not many locations are more distant from down under...

q.

Simon M

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Re: EA drifting away?
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2015, 08:55:05 am »
Hello Knaldgas,

I'm sorry you feel that way.

Personally I feel that there has been an evolution and streamlining process that we have been working on, but you're welcome to the opinion that they have been negative.

For me, the change to an editable attributes/operations list with a big notes field allowed me to work much faster with the properties that needed to be set more often. The old dialogs felt cluttered with multiple columns of controls that often felt haphazard. Having them in the same dialog isn't something I usually notice. I probably learned in my first week of using Enterprise Architect the shortcut keys F9 and F10. I've used them ever since. I'll also often use the in-place editor shortcuts (Ctrl+Shift+F9 and Ctrl+Shift+F10) and bypass going to the dialog.

The association roles are similar. Even with both roles being on the same page I find it much easier to use. To be honest, it's saved me a significant amount of time going to the wrong role page and then needing to switch.

It does come down to personal preferences, but I do hope that you'll give newer versions of Enterprise Architect another chance.
Simon

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Glassboy

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Re: EA drifting away?
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2015, 09:48:34 am »
Well I for one have found that I have managed to influence Sparx to get greater consistency in one small area (colour pickers) and generally I much prefer v12 to earlier versions.

I do look forward to greater basic UML functionality and consistency tho' :-) (must check whether the alias of a conveyed Information Item will display in the latest version)

Simon M

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Re: EA drifting away?
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2015, 10:59:57 am »
Quote
Well I for one have found that I have managed to influence Sparx to get greater consistency in one small area (colour pickers) and generally I much prefer v12 to earlier versions.
There was certainly significant demand for that (all seeming to originate from this forum.) Although I don't think they have been completely unified.
Simon

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Glassboy

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Re: EA drifting away?
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2015, 11:24:17 am »
Quote
Quote
Well I for one have found that I have managed to influence Sparx to get greater consistency in one small area (colour pickers) and generally I much prefer v12 to earlier versions.
There was certainly significant demand for that (all seeming to originate from this forum.) Although I don't think they have been completely unified.

Yes, they're not all completely the same, but the outliers are now the ones on (IIRC) relationships, and being pragmatic the colours that work on lines are the standard ones with the greater hue anyway, so it's less of a UI sin.

Geert Bellekens

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Re: EA drifting away?
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2015, 05:57:47 pm »
I partially agree.
There are little bugs, annoyances and inconsistencies that could be improved.
And yes, sometimes I have questions about why certain areas seem to get much attention where other are more or left as they are.
Some of the new or improved features we've seen in recent version seem to be very far from the core functionality of a modeling tool. (such as project management features, or charts)

But on the other I also saw some really useful new features such as the Schema Composer, and some significant little improvements in lots of different areas.

So yes, if given the choice I'd rather work with v12.1 then any of the previous versions (although I still hold on to the old visual styles for the GUI and diagrams)

One thing that does bug me, and that has reached a ridiculous level by now, is the fact that they keep moving menu options around in every single upgrade.

Geert

Knaldgas

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Re: EA drifting away?
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2015, 08:21:34 pm »
Streamlining can be good, but you do risk that everything becomes equally accessible (read complicated).

I was not aware of the F9 and F10 shortcut as I have always used the Context menus to reach those, and F9 and F10 are not described there (UI inconsistency btw., but thanks for the pointer).

An example, Create a class, name it and set stereotype to "control":
EA10: Create class (F3), type name, press TAB, type "co", press DOWN (control is found), press ENTER.
EA12: Create class (F3), type name, press TAB 4 times, press ENTER, press TAB, type "co" (control is found), press ENTER.

Another thing that has irritated me for ages: Reading direction of associations! - If I choose to set a reading direction, it does belong to the association name in the model, not just the visual representation. So having multiple diagrams with the same associations visible, I have to set the reading direction for each and every association. And even worse if I change the name and its semantic, e.g. "has >" to "< belongs to", then I have to identify and change the reading direction on every visible association.

I currently have customers with non-technical staff who are very reluctant to use EA as "it's too intimidating", and I'm in the process of finding out how I can make MDG's for them, but that in itself is quite a journey.

When I used the word "slow", I meant that the application itself has become slower. Load of a simple model with EA10 takes 36 seconds, and the same model with EA12 takes 46 seconds, and I cannot see what I get for this extra delay - The only visible is a "fancier UI", which btw. in both versions I have set to the same XP style without whistles and bells (i.e. no gradients or shadows).

To me, a modeling tool should not trade speed for "whistles and bells". It'll be ok as an option when rendering images and reports.

Geert Bellekens

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Re: EA drifting away?
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2015, 08:46:10 pm »
Some of the delay might be related to the extra add-ins and MDG that EA enables by default.

Often when I visit clients I see that they have ALL MDG's enabled, and they have both the Eclipse and Visual Studio add-ins enabled.

I haven't done any tests, but I haven't really noticed a performance loss upgrading from v10 to v12.1.

If you have experienced one anyway I would definitely document it and send it to Sparx. I'm sure they will investigate it and fix it if possible. (they have done so in the past. I in think around v 9 we got a lot of performance improvements)

Geert

Knaldgas

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Re: EA drifting away?
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2015, 09:51:41 pm »
I did disable quite a few MDAs in both versions, although they were not the same, so I've just done that, and another test.

MDAs enabled: Basic UML, Simple UML Views, Core Extensions, Database Engineering, BPMN 2.0, EAScriptLib, GoF patterns, Simple UI, System Engineering, Win32 UI.

EA10: 24 seconds.
EA12: 42 seconds.

I'm absolutely supporting the concept of users reporting bugs and issues in general, but I feel that we (users) have become their "test department". Had the product been free of charge, then ok...

And I completely agree with the moving menus and rearranging dialog boxes - That renders me a rookie user after every(?) update.

Knaldgas

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Re: EA drifting away?
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2015, 09:58:23 pm »
Did another test:

EA10: 24/32 seconds (UI presented / CPU load drops)
EA12: 34/42 seconds (UI presented / CPU load drops)

Geert Bellekens

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Re: EA drifting away?
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2015, 11:28:12 pm »
Have you tried with v12.1 as well?

I just did several tests comparing v10.0.1009 with v12.1.1224, and both open my models at about the same speed.

A small local .eap file opens in about 5 to 7 seconds on both v10 as v12.1
A large SQL Server model opens in about 30 seconds if it only need to open one diagram, and it takes 37 to 40 seconds to open a bunch of diagrams when opening the model. (I use a working set to opens the same set of diagrams that was open when I last closed the model), again, about the same time on both versions.

So no, I can't say that v12.1 is slower then v10

Geert

Knaldgas

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Re: EA drifting away?
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2015, 12:34:51 am »
It is 12.1.1224 and 10.0.1010 I use (should have been more precise before).
It's a small local EAP file (139 elements).

The timing is measured from Desktop (dropping the EAP-file onto the EA shortcut - Same as double clicking the EAP file for the 12.1.1224) to UI ready and CPU load drops (two measures).

Anyway, it wasn't meant to be a debugging thread, but rather a general "whine" of frustration, with the hope that Sparx would hold back on whistles and bells, and focus on keeping us productive.

qwerty

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Re: EA drifting away?
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2015, 12:50:53 am »
Quote
Anyway, it wasn't meant to be a debugging thread, but rather a general "whine" of frustration, with the hope that Sparx would hold back on whistles and bells, and focus on keeping us productive.
This is something I prayed over many year. I gave up meanwhile.

q.

Geert Bellekens

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Re: EA drifting away?
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2015, 12:57:08 am »
I know, but since we're at at..
But then there must be something else wrong on your machine I think.

Lets use something we can compare. The EAExample.eap from the %appdata%\Sparx Systems\EA folder loads on my machine in between 7.5 and 9 seconds, and this model is a lot larger then 139 objects.

That seems like an awful big difference with the 25 - 40 seconds you are seeing.

Geert