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Messages - Thelonius

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Automation Interface, Add-Ins and Tools / Archimate Add-In Bad Drawing
« on: August 16, 2010, 11:57:35 am »
This probably isn't the most elegant way to render text graphically within the Archimate "Product" icon.

I'm sure someone will tell me to fill out a form and submit a bug report and fling that into the echo-less black hole of bug reports ...

Automation Interface, Add-Ins and Tools / Re: togaf question
« on: March 27, 2010, 02:30:50 pm »
Your ADDs must be compiled manually.

The TOGAF plug-in is useful, but it's pretty much just a skeleton. There's a lot more functionality / structure / content that could be added.

Is the group that created the TOGAF plug-in listening on the Sparx forum?

I would be interested to know what further development may be planned for the TOGAF plug-in.

Automation Interface, Add-Ins and Tools / Re: Requirement management
« on: December 09, 2009, 08:38:36 am »
You are partly correct - EA can be used to do requirements management without RaQuest.  However RaQuest provides an improved user interface for working with requirements (IMO).  Most people who will work with requirements would prefer to see them in a spraedsheet/grid form rather than a graphical/modelling form.  This is what RaQuest provides.  Howeverr because it is integrated, you can then allow the modellers to access the requirements and place traces on the diagrams.

David - just a question about RaQuest- is the synchronisation bi-directional between the spreadsheet and EA? Or is the spreadsheet export only a presentation artefact? Thanks - Jon

...when that half an hour editing is necessary you can bet your arse that at some point the analyst will quickly make some modifications in the document without doing those modifications in the model...Geert


Automation Interface, Add-Ins and Tools / Re: Hiding Elements
« on: October 09, 2009, 01:39:20 pm »

You are right, and I periodically get into deep and meaningful conversations with various colleagues on the points you raised in your original posting.  Unfortunately, I have been wrestling with a totally different set of problems lately, and have not been able to translate "what we need to do is..." from the conversations into "what I have done is...". Soon, I hope.

WRT Simon's suggestion, you might get more from the Diagram Slide Show topic in that Model Views section. Basically, what Simon is talking about is having a set of diagrams illustrating either a developmental progression or a set of perspectives (with and without elements relating to a particular perspective). Each time you run the slideshow you draw in the current diagrams - that is, they always represent the latest saved changes.

Bringing in Paolo here, those changes will have been made manually, and the Model Views facilities would either be telling you that the diagram has already changed, or there have been developments in relevant objects that now need to be (manually) added to or removed from the diagram, depending on what you set up in the SQL search views.

I'm getting out of my depth here, but maybe it would be possible to create an Add-In or MDG technology that performed specialised searches, opened relevant diagrams and updated them automatically.

There is a possible role for a series of shortcuts too - it seems to me that there could well be a meshing of different EA tools and facilities here, but I just don't know how it would all work. And THAT is where we return to Jon's point about "what I want to do, how I could approach it, why these EA tools and facilities might be useful, and then what steps do I actually work through". This is the sort of area that the white papers are supposed to address, so maybe we should look into them.


I appreciate this information. It's giving me a sense of where EA is going to go in the future.

White papers - yes, please. I've been meaning to write one myself for my colleagues at work.

I know what you mean.

So much work. So many challenges. So many opportunities. So little time. So few resources.

Lateral thinking?

Think about your social network out here. The Community.


Automation Interface, Add-Ins and Tools / Re: Hiding Elements
« on: October 09, 2009, 10:25:49 am »
Thelonius, what I would recommend for that kind of presentation is creating multiple diagrams.  To take matters further you can create a slideshow to automatically move through a sequence of diagrams.  (Look at the model views window)  Is that the kind of feature you are looking for?

As for your comments on what EA is good for, yes we know.


I must not be the smartest puppy in the litter.

I went to look at the Sparx documentation and found the following:

And after reading that little (very little) description ... I'm wondering "what would I actually do with this?"

"...encapsulate your model into the areas you are interested in." ?

This could mean just about anything to anyone, depending on context. It's a bit of a vague description, actually. And it's the only description I found in the user manual. "Encapsulate"?

If Roy is listening in, he'll be getting a bit of deja vu from this ...

The Sparx documentation / user manuals seem to provide a LOT of descriptive text about HOW to do something - but the documentation does not often seem to be written with consideration of the viewpoint of the user, who needs to first understand a bit more about what value or relevance or context a feature provides, or relates to.

As is "Gimme a ferinstance" as we used to say in the Bronx.


"If you need to define multiple views of a model to demonstrate specific knowledge about the model to stakeholders in a succession of views, you should consider the Model Views capability."

"In order to demonstrate what we mean by this, please watch the following (Camtasia Studio) demonstration ..."

And I would be willing to provide you with several worked examples of what I think would be relevant to many Sparx customers.

This does not require Sparx to anticipate ALL POSSIBLE uses that every customer in the universe may have -- but only a single 'most likely best instance' example that we can use to understand the potential value of certain capabilities of the tool. Just so the 'lightbulb comes on' for those of us - like me - who may be dragging the chain a bit ...


Please don't interpret anything I have said here as being negative or rude. I love all of you guys and I'm a keen evangelist for Sparx EA out in "the market place of ideas". (Which is near Footscray, actually.)

Automation Interface, Add-Ins and Tools / Re: Hiding Elements
« on: October 09, 2009, 09:26:51 am »
Thanks, Simon - I'll go have a look at Model Views Window now ... get back to you on that ...


Automation Interface, Add-Ins and Tools / Re: Hiding Elements
« on: October 09, 2009, 08:21:09 am »
I think what livewireumd is asking for is to be able to use Sparx Enterprise Architect in an innovative manner - for direct communication of architecture knowledge.

As in - not creating an offline report - but standing up in front of a room full of decision makers - using Sparx EA live on a data projector - as a presentation and communication tool.

"Here are ALL of the <objects> ... "

"Here are ONLY the objects that relate to <domain A>"

"And here are ONLY objects that relate to <domain B>"

"And here we see objects that relate to BOTH <domain A | domain B>"

My customers love EA - and they're asking for me to be able to do this kind of presentation for them using Sparx EA in front of C-level executives. (Something I would not have thought possible 10 years ago...)

The visual impact of being able to do what livewireumd is asking for is something I've often thought would be useful.

If there is one point I wish I could get across to Sparx - it's that Sparx EA is a very powerful tool for communicating architectural knowledge to decision makers and stakeholders.

It's not only an MDA tool to be used in the back room by rocket scientist software engineers.

Ergo - more focus on assisting users to use Sparx EA as a tool for "presentation of knowledge capital". Which can include better report generation too. So far - I don't see this as a strategic goal for Sparx. Apologies if I'm missing something.

If I've understood you correctly, livewireumd .... ?

Just found this on Archimate:

From Mike Walker's blog. More relevant views here. I think you should be able to access this URL.


Interesting. And thanks for sharing your knowledge and views.

The referenced paper said something that I'm not quite sure about:

"Current object-oriented formalisms, such as UML, focus on
describing class models and use instance models only for
depicting scenarios. Little attention is being devoted to
defining how complex systems can be structured in order to
conform with those class models..."

I would have thought UML would be quite devoted to defining how complex systems can be structured to confom with class models.

Even in view of the fact that the paper was written back in 2000.

In reading all the stuff I can about Archimate - I have not yet found a really cogent explanation that tells me "Well, you could use basic UML to achieve the same thing that you can model with Archimate - BUT HERE'S WHY USING ARCHIMATE IS BETTER."

It just seems to me, from my naive perspective, that Archimate is "yet another" modeling branch off the base UML tree. Which may not be a good thing.

Automation Interface, Add-Ins and Tools / Anyone using Archimate add-in?
« on: August 19, 2009, 01:52:38 pm »
Sparx provide it. I've had a look at it, and at the Archimate specification. It has not been updated, and looks a bit daggy. I'm thinking that anything I could do using Archimate, I could do using basic UML.

Having a hard time seeing the value, really. In theory, the value assertion seemed interesting, but in practice - now that I've had a closer look - I'm not getting an epiphany from it.

What am I missing?

Since the process is entirely manual - you've got to type values in several places - there is a high probability of clerical error

That's the problem exactly. A good profile for defining profiles should normalize this, but setting this up would take a lot of time for planning and implementation, and obviously this is not top priority. After all it's probably just a minority of EA users wanting to define profiles.

Don't know about that, Frank. I think UML profiles are the first stop for people wanting to do some really simple and obvious things with EA. Personally, I'd like EA to do some very simple things via the application rather than having to go and create a UML Profile.

One example would be: defining a tagged value that I can name, that has an enum / pull down select list that I define, that allows me to to search, select, list, report on elements that have a tagged value that has a certain value.

Simple natural language example: "On this diagram that shows these business systems and all interfaces, select and display only those that have my tagged value Business Criticality set to HiGH".

What do you think?

I was going to bring this to market but I have kind of lost a little enthusiasm for doing so because I am not sure if anyone would be willing to pay for such a thing.

If it works, is easy to use, is well supported, extensible, documented, and integrates transparently with EA - I'd be willing to pay as much for an excellent third-party report generator add-in for EA as I have paid for the corporate version of EA. If not more.

This is my biggest problem right now. The 'RTF Generator' thing - the editor that allows one to modify the base report format - is ugly, wierd, idiosyncratic, mysterious and - for a human like me - unusable.

Consumers are like cockroaches. If you see one, there are thousands more you haven't seen.

I would encourage you to bring your work to the market.


Great idea. I find the Sparx RTF Generator a bit challenging. The documentation could be improved. Trying to work through it at the moment and finding it all a bit idiosyncratic. I'll keep trying.

The ability to easily generate -- and easily customise -- reports from the EA repository is something that would add ENORMOUS value to my work -- and would be of ENORMOUS interest to customers.

I showed the 'Working with the RTF Generator' documentation to a customer the other day. It didn't go over well.



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