Enterprise Architect Add-In Model

The Add-In facility provides a means of extending Enterprise Architect, allowing the programmer to enhance the user interface by adding new menus, sub menus, windows and other controls to perform a variety of functions. An Add-In is an ActiveX COM object that is notified of events in the user interface, such as mouse clicks and element selections, and has access to the repository content through the Object Model. Add-Ins can also be integrated with the license management system.

Using this powerful facility, you can extend Enterprise Architect to create new features not available in the core product, and these can be compiled and easily distributed to a community of users within an organization, or more broadly to an entire industry. Using the Add-In facility it is even possible to create support for modeling languages and frameworks not supported in the core product.

Add-Ins have several advantages over stand-alone automation clients:

  • Add-Ins can (and should) be written as in-process (DLL) components; this provides lower call overhead and better integration into the Enterprise Architect environment
  • Because a current version of Enterprise Architect is already running there is no requirement to start a second copy of Enterprise Architect via the automation interface
  • Because the Add-In receives object handles associated with the currently running copy of Enterprise Architect, more information is available about the current user's activity; for example, which diagram objects are selected
  • You are not required to do anything other than to install the Add-In to make it usable; that is, you do not have to configure Add-Ins to run on your systems
  • Because Enterprise Architect is constantly evolving in response to customer requests, the Add-In interface is flexible
  • The Add-In interface does not have its own version, rather it is identified by the version of Enterprise Architect it first appeared in; for example, the current version of the Enterprise Architect Add-In interface is version 2.1
  • When creating your Add-In, you do not have to subscribe to a type-library (Add-Ins created before 2004 are no longer supported - if an Add-In subscribes to the Addn_Tmpl.tlb interface (2003 style), it fails on load; in this event, contact the vendor or author of the Add-In and request an upgrade)
  • Add-Ins do not have to implement methods that they never use
  • Add-Ins prompt users via context menus in the tree view and the diagram
  • Menu check and disable states can be controlled by the Add-In

Add-Ins enhance the existing functionality of Enterprise Architect through a variety of mechanisms, such as Scripts, UML Profiles and the Automation Interface. Once an Add-In is registered, it can be managed using the Add-In Manager.

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