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Topics - Adam@Schneider

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Suggestions and Requests / MDG generation automation
« on: November 19, 2014, 02:49:10 pm »
Generating an MDG is quite tedious (especially if you have a lot of toolbox profiles), the current process is:

1..10 Right click on each UML profile, diagram, and toolbox package (I have 10 or more of these), then export the UML profile
11. Launch the MDG generation, select the MTS file
12. Click through and review, change options
13. Click generate and get your MDG file

I have a suggestion that would make things easier.

- Store the MTS options in the model somehow, similar to the document generation specification
- Associate packages with the MDG rather than UML profile exports
- Generating the MDG would encapsulate the profile export to a temp location for each referenced package
- When generating the MDG from the specification, it would save any changes to the spec, as per the MTS behaviour

This would make MDG generation simple:
1. click to launch the wizard
2. review/update the options as per the existing MTS procedure
3. Click go and all the exporting and joining together would happen, giving you an MDG at the end.

Failing this, possibly:
- Use the File attribute on the UML profile packages to populate the UML profile export filename
- Add a function to the project object to export a UML profile (something like the XMI export/import functions)
- Add a function to the automation interface to autogenerate an MDG using an MTS file.
The whole process could be tied together with a script.

In addition to this, all paths should use the local paths variables (including the MTS file), so external icons, UML profile output, MDG output are all relocatable.

Suggestions and Requests / ico file support
« on: November 17, 2014, 12:47:16 pm »
When creating UML profiles and MDG it seems EA is very picky on the image format.
The alternative image set in the image manager seems to accept pretty much anything, I've had issues getting the "icon" member of stereotype elements to accept some image types and I have settled on using png files. The toolbox icons seem to only accept 16x16 bitmaps at 4 bit colour, or at least that seems to be what is happening.

The transparency is also weird, the icons treat RGB 192,192,192 as transparent but ignore the alpha channel, the stereotype icons ignore both the alpha channel and the grey background, where the alternate images honour the alpha channel.

How about support for windows .ico files containing multiple image sizes and multiple depths? EA can then pick the best suitable image from the file, it can handle the transparency correctly, and it means we dont have to make bespoke versions of each image for different EA MDG features. Currently I'm having to use imagmajick to extract specific formats from my ico files.

Suggestions and Requests / Persistent document generation filters
« on: September 24, 2014, 05:18:14 pm »
I have a Master Document, and a number of nested Model Documents.

A number of my Model Documents work on different packages, and within those packages require different filter criteria.

I would like to use the same template for multiple model documents, with different filter criteria. The best solution would be for the filter criteria set on the model document to persist rather than reset when the dialog is closed. This way, for each model document I could set the template to use, then using the model document "generation" page, set the desired filter criteria.

When I then generate the document from the Master Document, each of  the filter criteria is applied to each model document. To work around this I am having to create multiple copies of the same template with different filter criteria for each.

If changing existing behaviour is not desired then perhaps something on the properties page for the model document? some tagged values? persistent filters?

General Board / Reporting on AssociationClass
« on: March 10, 2015, 02:27:45 pm »

I cant seem to find it anywhere, other than using a custom script/custom SQL is there any way to get at the connector for an AssociationClass in the RTF templates? or the other way around?

General Board / BPMN relocating elements
« on: November 13, 2014, 06:25:14 pm »
I've noticed a quirk, if you create a BPMN process diagram, any elements you drop on it move to where the diagram is located within the project tree, if you move them back to their correct home in the project tree and then move them on a diagram they relocate next to the diagram again.

Why? and is this a user setting?

General Board / Remote DBMS models
« on: November 26, 2014, 02:35:23 pm »
We are hosting our EA models on a server within our corporate network but at a remote site, we have people from all corners of the country accessing the same models on the same server.

We have a response time issue for larger or more complex diagrams (selecting and moving/updating things can take several seconds or more per item). Document generation can also be very slow. The model itself is in SQL server, running EA locally at that site over RDC is very quick. We have tried both direct SQL server (with WAN optimisations) and the cloud service, it seems like the cloud service is little more than additional security, connection management and possibly some caching, the WAN acceleration is also possibly caching, or some optimised requests. None of these really help with interactive use.

I suspect EA is doing lot of things in the background sequentially waiting for the response from one operation before starting the next. Ping times are 35-45 ms, bandwidth is not an issue.

My question is, has anyone encountered and worked through this issue?

It would be really nice if the cloud service implemented a higher level protocol that could at least bundle up lots of updates together so that the number of round trips between the client and server are reduced. Alternatively has anyone used some kind of real time data replication? Is this risky in terms of data integrity (we can put some controls in place such as package locking)?

General Board / Table headers in document fragments
« on: October 31, 2014, 02:19:37 pm »
If I render elements into a table within a document template, and set a row as the header row it only shows the header row once (unless I add something else in the element section, for example child elements or linked document, even if there is none it seems to break the table).

I have to remove any additional line breaks, even those in the yellow tags for this to work, but I can get it to work.

My issue is I have different formats for different elements, so I insert a document fragment (a selector) then each specific template has the package and elements section (with line breaks removed) and a table containing the same header row and data row. When I do this it generates one big table but every second row is a header row.

Is there some special trick? or does this just not work?

Bugs and Issues / MDA tagged value types (and debugging in general)
« on: December 05, 2014, 08:24:39 pm »

So I have an MDG, I have been using some custom tagged value types, where I create them in the UML types, use them in the UML profile, and export everything to an MDG.

Now this has been working, but sometimes it doesn't, it seems to not make the association between the tagged value and the custom type, it seems like this is an all or nothing thing - either all of the types work or none do.

After more investigation t_propertytypes is empty, is there a log? how can I figure out what is going on? Obviously when I remove the old version of the MDG from the model and import the new one something is going wrong.

Automation Interface, Add-Ins and Tools / toolbox bitmaps
« on: November 17, 2014, 08:29:14 pm »
For an MDG, I have tried converting some icon files to bitmaps to be set as toolbox icon images. It doesn't seem to matter what format the bitmaps are in, EA tells me that I must use a 16x16 bitmap, I cant seem to get it to accept anything.

I'm using ImageMagick for the conversion and have tried a heap of different option combinations, with no luck. If I manually specify the image the base64 encoding in the UML profile comes out as a block of 'A'. I've even tried gimp and ms paint - I've gone through all permutations of BMP in paint with no luck.

What is the bitmap type that EA accepts? bmp2,3,4? how many colours? what depth etc?

Automation Interface, Add-Ins and Tools / ActiveX diagram 'modified'
« on: November 11, 2014, 05:43:52 pm »
I have a custom .NET ActiveX control within my addin, it is loaded into EA as a diagram page from a context menu using the repository.AddTab method.

The custom control contains a DataGridView that is populated from some items loaded within EA, when I create a new entry in the view, I create a new element in EA (and based on contents of the combo box cells I also create some connectors).

The thing is, every time I create a new row in the control I suspect some message is escaping the control and being caught by EA, marking the diagram as modified with a leading '*', depending on how long I am editing for I end up with a whole stack of '*'. This is very annoying, when I programmatically go to activate the tab, it has a different name to what I expect, also when I close the tab, even though all my changes are committed on an ongoing basis it prompts me to 'save' my diagram.

My question is, what is EA catching to trigger the '*'? If I know what message it is maybe I can prevent it leaking.
Is it something I am doing via the object model?
Otherwise, is there any way to say hey, EA, this diagram has been saved now so you don't need to sweat it with the starts and the prompts?


I'm making a lot of calls to Element.Elements.AddNew and Package.Elements.AddNew.

This is very slow, I'm wondering if there are any guidelines or best practices? Obviously I have to AddNew and then call Update on the new item, but do I need to Update and Refresh the collection before adding more in C#)?

I've found the Bulk update parameter on the repository, is there anything else I should/should not be doing?

Automation Interface, Add-Ins and Tools / auto layout diagram
« on: October 24, 2014, 02:26:24 pm »
is there a way from the automation interface or within an addin to trigger the diagram auto layout?

I cant seem to see anything, I'm doing some custom importing from XML using an addin (because theres a bit more logic required than I can do in the grammar editor). As far as I can see the only things I am lacking from using the built in reverse engineering framework are auto diagram layout and merging existing items in the import (which I can handle).

Manual layout isnt a big deal, but it would be nice to make an attempt :)

Automation Interface, Add-Ins and Tools / Update MDG types
« on: October 22, 2014, 01:35:56 pm »
Is there a way we can automatically go through all elements and re-apply updated stereotypes after an MDG update? I'm not averse to writing a script.

I'm working on an MDG, the number of profile packages are growing because I am restricting tools by creating multiple custom toolboxes to apply to different diagram types.

When generating the MDG you need to go through and manually save each packge as a UML profile. I cant see anything in the scripting API to automate this?

I'd love to be able to write a quick scrip that iterates through all profile packages and saves them to XML. Bonus points if I can generate an MDG from an MTS file using this too.

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