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Repository Overview

An Enterprise Architect repository is stored in a relational database; this can be a file based database such as MS Access or Firebird, or a database management system (DBMS) such as Oracle or MS SQL Server, on a network or in a Cloud Based Repository. It is common to start with a File Based Repository and, when the project gets some momentum and there are a number of modelers accessing the repository, to transfer it to a DBMS. Whichever type of repository is implemented, the user interface remains the same and users can seamlessly move from one type of repository to another and continue to contribute as a team member on this powerful modeling platform.

Concepts

Concept

Description

See also

Repository as a File

In any version of Enterprise Architect you can store a project in a single file with a .eap or .feap extension.

  • A .eap file is a Microsoft JET database, so you can also open it using MS Access 97, 2000, 2003 or 2013, or any other reporting tool that can work with JET databases
  • A .feap file is a Firebird project file
File Based Repositories

Repository in a DBMS (Database Management System)

In the Enterprise Architect Corporate edition (and above) you can also use a suitable DBMS repository for projects.

DBMS projects have the same logical structure as .eap and .feap files, but provide much greater scalability and concurrent access. You connect to a DBMS using ADO/ODBC (see Connect to a Data Repository). Please note that when configuring an ODBC data source on a 64 bit machine, you should access the ODBC data manager using the 'Main Menu | Tools | ODBC Data Sources' menu option, as this will load the correct ODBC manager to access 32 bit data sources as used by Enterprise Architect.

Server Based Repositories

Repository in the Cloud

In the Corporate Edition (and above) of Enterprise Architect you can further enable the distributed capabilities of Enterprise Architect and use the Internet or local network to connect to a Cloud Based server on which one or more Repositories have been installed and configured for access. The Cloud Server is free software available from Sparx Systems and is relatively simple to set up and configure on a suitable Windows based machine. Firebird files or any DBMS server are the required Repository types supported by the Cloud Server, and these can reside on the same machine for best performance or on another machine to maximize local and network access. Cloud based repositories provide the ultimate in distributed development and minimal client configuration. It is in fact much easier to deploy a Firebird based repository on a Cloud Server for distributed development than to set up and manage a full DBMS solution.

Cloud Based Repositories

Models

Enterprise Architect uses this terminology when discussing Repositories and their contents.

1. A Model is a related group of content that expresses some focused aspect of a system or enterprise that is related by the modeling tools and paradigm used. For example, you might build a 'Usecase Model' that describes behavior and scenarios using UML Use Cases. Process models, architectural models, behavioral models, structural models, Class models and so on are all Models within the current Project.

2. A Project is a group of models that has a single unifying purpose. For example, a Project to design the navigation systems for a new aircraft or automobile would be considered a single Project. Within this Project there would be multiple models. Projects typically define levels of security, types of views and models necessary, procedures and other management tasks necessary to deliver the product. Project management capabilities in Enterprise Architect are quite rich and allow for resource management, security, change management, testing and other typical project management tasks.

3. A Repository is a single File, DBMS database or Cloud Server address that contains one or more Projects. Typically, file based repositories such as MS JET and Firebird models contain a single Project with multiple models that can be shared by a small workgroup or only accessed by a single modeler. DBMS and Cloud based Repositories will often contain more than one Project, especially where the Projects are somehow inter-related or co-dependent.

Adding Initial Content

After creating and accessing your new project in whatever form the Repository takes, you can now use the Model Wizard to create Model Packages that range from generic and simple views to more complex and pattern based content.

You can add Models to a project from the Project Browser by:

  • Right-clicking on an existing model and selecting the 'New Model' or 'Add a New Model using Wizard' options
  • Right-clicking on a Package and selecting the 'Add | Add a New Model using Wizard' option
  • Clicking on an existing model, pressing the Insert key and selecting the 'New Model' or 'Add a New Model using Wizard' menu options
  • Clicking on a Package, pressing the Insert key and selecting the 'Add a New Model using Wizard' menu option
File Based Repositories Model Wizard

Opening Existing Projects

Existing Projects are accessible via the 'Main Menu | File | Open Project' option. They are also accessible from the 'Recent' list in the Main Menu and on the Start Page.

Connecting to an existing DBMS or Cloud based Repository is discussed in more detail under the relevant sections on working with those Repository types.

For new users, you can use the 'Main Menu | Help | Open Example Model' option to open and explore the Enterprise Architect Example Repository supplied with Enterprise Architect. This example is not so much a fully worked example as a collection of models that show how you can leverage the power of the Enterprise Architect platform and the UML to create a wide range of visual and text based models.

Open a project

DBMS Repositories

You can connect to any of these data repositories:

  • MS Access 97, 2000, 2003 and 2013 (in all editions - .eap files are stored in Microsoft JET databases)
  • Access 2007
  • SQL Server 2000 onwards
  • SQL Server Express 2005 onwards
  • MySQL
  • Oracle 9i, 10g, 11g and 12c
  • PostgreSQL
  • Adaptive Server Anywhere

In brief, to create a new data repository, you first create a new database with the DBMS management software, then run supplied scripts to create the logical structure.

You then use Enterprise Architect data transfer functions to move a project from a .eap, .feap or DBMS model into the new project. Details are available under the Server Based Repositories section.

Server Based Repositories