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Topics - Ian Mitchell

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General Board / BPMN 2.0 Message Flow 'Envelope'
« on: June 25, 2013, 01:55:39 am »
I'm trying to input some BPMN 2.0 diagrams, and I can't figure out how to get the little envelope symbol on my Message Flows.
In the supplied Sparx examples, they all look beautiful, but on mine, I sometimes get a brief flicker of the envelope,  as I'm re-arranging the geometry of the line, then it goes away.
Has anyone made this work?

General Board / Hide the code in a BPMN Simulation
« on: June 07, 2013, 12:22:22 am »
I've created a truly beautiful BPMN simulation, which skips happily though the process like a....skippy thing.
But when I show it to Process-type people - who are generally non-technical - they are bit intimidated by the fragments of code (e.g. Math.floor(Math.random()*2) == 1;) on some of the connectors, where I want to the flow to choose 50/50 random direction.

Does anyone know of a way to hide this bit of code on my otherwise splendid diagram?

BTW - the code is in a SequenceFlow.conditionExpression tagged value, and Diagram/Connectors/Show Connector Property String doesn't do it.  

General Board / EA for Data Warehousing - state of the art?
« on: April 19, 2013, 07:22:36 pm »
I'm trying to put together a white paper for the EA Community site on 'tips for using EA for DW Projects'. It's a way of using EA which I've used just a couple of times, and I'd like to collect the wisdom of some other projects. I'm imagining an approach which helps people to do DW in the Kimball style. (Is this still the way people do DW?)
Areas I think will be of interest are:
  • Some simple stereotypes & guidelines for Fact/Dimension modelling
  • Creating & managing the data dictionary
  • Using EA Element Features to get element-level traceability
  • Documenting & linking ETL processes
  • well as more mainstream stuff -requirements traceability, prototyping etc
  • (I'm sure there's LOTS more)
Could anyone who has something to contribute please contact me at, and lets spread the love.

General Board / Migrating Visio BPMN into EA
« on: April 18, 2013, 03:00:53 am »
Does anyone have any faster way of migrating Visio BPMN diagrams into EA?
I am using the 'MDG Visio Importer' but whilst it's great on the geometry of the diagrams, its hopeless at creating the correct element types & stereotypes: everything seems to stereotypes of a single type (Activity looked easiest), but the EA BPMN uses lots of element types. Also, the source BPMN has lots of line types, and they all come out as a single one. And every line needs to be made 'Orthogonal rounded', which is really, really dull....
There MUST be a better way than spending an hour correcting each diagram!

Bugs and Issues / Creating new Operations in Locked Components
« on: March 03, 2014, 10:03:57 pm »
We have a component model which has locked components which most users can't update.
So, if they try to add new Operations to those components directly, EA correctly stops them.
When they take the same component, make it realize an interface, EA will let them select which operations they want to implement, THEN LETS THEM ADD THEM TO THE COMPONENT.
Surely this breaks the security model? Or have I missed an option somewhere?
How can I stop my users from compromising the integrity of my master model ? :-/

Uml Process / Inheritance of Required- and Provided-Interfaces
« on: November 19, 2013, 01:45:43 am »
I'm trying to provide an EA 'sandbox' where designers can try-out new ideas for components, based on pre-defined (read-only) existing ones.
The existing ones have lots of Provided- and RequiredInterfaces defined, with lots of operations on those interfaces.

What I was expecting to do was have them
  • create a Generalization of the existing component, so that they don't break anything
  • then add/modify interfaces/operations of the new Component
Mostly, though, they will just be re-using existing Interfaces (and their operations) from the parent.

But EA doesn't seem to inherit the ProvidedInterfaces of the parent. I'd imagined that anything which inherits from a parent inherits everything: operations attributes and implemented interfaces as well.

Any operations defined in the parent component are inherited just fine - of course - but I was surprised that the ProvidedInterfaces were not inherited as well.
Is this a gap in my understanding of (1) UML or (2) EA, or (3) just a funny in EA ?

The only way I can seem to get around this is to either
- create the ProvidedInterfaces all over again, on each of the inherited Components, which rather means there is no point inheriting the Component in the first place.
- doing a Copy/Paste of the parent element. This correctly copies the Provided- and Required-Interfaces. But now I've lost the fact that the new Component is related to the parent.

In both cases, if the parent changes, the children (copies) don't know. :-(, which is exactly what inheritance solves.

I'm trying out the "Office Integration" add-in from Sparx, and there's a useful-looking button on the front page of 'Import Word Document' which says 'Add Diagrams for each package'.
No matter what I do, I can't get it to import the diagrams from my Word document.
Has anyone else made this work?

Automation Interface, Add-Ins and Tools / Sort order of Scenarios
« on: June 10, 2015, 11:59:49 pm »
I'm pulling scenario data from the API using EA.Element.scenarios, but there is some data missing, namely the 'Step' indication from the UI.
The UI shows each scenario with the basic path step from which it is called, and a letter (a->z), so that the steps have a predictable sort order in the UI.
Question is, where does that sort order, and the 'step' numbering come from ?
The table t_objectscenarios has a column 'EValue' - even Querty doesn't know what this does, but it may get copied into an attribute called 'scenario.weight', which is sometimes the sort order, and sometimes not.
Can anyone from Sparx tell me where the Step number+letter comes from ?

Automation Interface, Add-Ins and Tools / Office MDG Performance
« on: June 08, 2015, 09:34:48 pm »
Having just installed the Office MDG, i'm now getting some strange performance impacts from Word and Excel. Each of them now takes about 10 sec extra whenever a file is loaded. This seems to be associated with Word and Excel addins which also seems to get installed with the EA MDG.
I have a i5 computer with 8Gb and an SSD, so everything else is super-fast: does anyone know what these addins are doing for 10 seconds each time ?
BTW - disabling the Sparx addins removes the problem, so I'm 100% certain they are to blame.

I've only just discovered that we're allowed to create content for the Learning Center, which would mean I can write training material which the user can view at the same time they are using EA: should be great!
But the instructions are quite brief, and I've spent a while not making much progress.
Does anyone have an example - even a simple  'hello world' one - which shows how I can create a bunch of pages, have them link to each other, and have some diagrams etc. this would help me see what I'm aiming at. Or perhaps Sparx might make a little bit of the actual Learning Center content available, as a ready-made example?

Automation Interface, Add-Ins and Tools / MS Word Import tool ?
« on: October 15, 2013, 04:45:27 pm »
I have a customer who needs a way of doing a 1-off import of a number of large MS Word documents into EA, and breaking them up into separate Packages, Requirements, Classes, Features etc. so they can then use EA to manage the data.
Does anyone know of any tools which might help them ?

What I had in mind was a 2-stage process.
  • First they take the heading structure of the document and make it into the EA Package structure. Maybe they might then take the content under each heading and make it into a Linked Document under each EA Package. This would at least get everything into EA.
  • They would then have to go through all the content, and highlight individual sentences/paragraphs, and make then into the relevant EA elements.

Has anyone written anything to do this? Has anyone any experience of doing his some other way?

Automation Interface, Add-Ins and Tools / Test for Identical elements ?
« on: October 28, 2013, 11:12:18 pm »
Does anyone know of a way to test if two elements, created using the ClonePackage call, are identical i.e. has the clone been changed ?
Clearly, the GUIDs will always be different, so I need to ignore that, but there seems to be an almost limitless depths to checks needed to say whether one has changed: not just basic attribute values (Name, Status), but Attributes & Methods (and all their internal sub-structure e.g. parameters), Tagged value names and values, sub-elements like Constraints.....
There must be an easier way ? Maybe ? (and No, I don't want to create baselines : this is for an element-by-element comparison)

Automation Interface, Add-Ins and Tools / How to close a tab?
« on: September 18, 2013, 12:14:41 am »
I'm using the repository.addTab() method to create new tabs, but now I'd like to close them again, under program control.

The other "addXX" methods have equivalent "removeXX" methods, like removeOutputTab and RemoveWindow, but where's the 'removeTab' method?
Or does anyone know a way to close such a tab in some other way ?

In the definition of a ModelView, the name of  search is defined by its GUID.
But to run the search using repository.getElementsByQuery, we need the name of the search.
Does anyone know how to do a lookup on the search GUID to get its name ?

I need to get back the contents of a diagram. Diagram.diagramObjects does this perfectly, but what about when the user has applied a Diagram Filter. Great feature, but how can I get the sub-set of diagramObjects from the diagram with the filter applied?
Looking at the format of the filter definition in t_xrefsystem (found that thanks to its really complicated, so no chance to do the filtering myself.
Any ideas ?

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