Author Topic: Relationship between/to Attributes  (Read 121 times)


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Relationship between/to Attributes
« on: December 01, 2017, 06:59:27 am »
Hi everyone!

Bear with me, as I am somewhat inexperienced with EA.

I have defined a set of Data Entities as a Class type, with the Attributes representing the fields associated with the entity. So far, seems like the right way of doing things.

I am now looking to be able to model the data handling for a set of interfaces. What I would like to be able to do is to create a connection between Entity and Entity It seems this would be easy to accomplish using a Relationship Matrix, but I don't seem to be able to get the Attributes as either a source or a target in the matrix. It seems to be restricted to elements. Am I expecting too much?

In the same way, I would like to be able to report on relationships between my Attributes and my System Use Cases, where a specific use case uses or modifies Entity I can model this (somewhat) by associating the Entity with the Use Case and attaching the connector to an Element Feature (the Attribute). The problem I have with this method is that I need to create a separate connection for each Attribute (a lot of work!).

One thing I can do, is to model the interaction between the Entity and the Use Case and suppress the Attributes which are not used using the Features & Visibility functionality. While that makes a nice diagram, I don't seem to be able to reproduce that in an extract document. (Note that I am using eaDocX to generate documents, and they have already indicated that they don't have this functionality available.)

Going the route of making individual connections for each Attribute/field, allows me to get what I need (sort of), but I'm not sure it's worth the work.

Anyone have any suggestions (particularly using the Relationship Matrix, if that's possible)?




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Re: Relationship between/to Attributes
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2017, 08:12:40 am »
You can associate attributes in that way only in a diagram. Place both entities side by side and create an association between them. Now click near one of them and choose Link to Element Feature. Choose Attribute from the drop down. Do the same from the other side. Now you have (visually) connected two attributes.



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Re: Relationship between/to Attributes
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2017, 07:58:48 pm »
Hi Tom, and welcome to the forum.

Am I expecting too much?

In brief: yes.

This isn't an EA issue, but the way UML works: Attributes Do Not Have Relationships.

EA has a function called "link to element feature," with which you can fake connections to attributes and operations (which is what qwerty's talking about and something you've already tried). However, this is mainly visual. Crucially, these fake (well, semi-fake) attribute connections are not available to other core functions like basic document generation or relationship matrices: these functions only see relationships between elements (classes, components, etc).

That said, the semi-fake links are stored in the database (every EA project is a database, even an .EAP file) and it is quite possible for a skilled document template wizard to create an advanced template which pulls that information out of there. But in order to get that done, the wizard would need a complete understanding of what else you want in your document -- a requirement spec, in other words.

I don't think you could get attribute links to work in a relationship matrix. With document templates, it's possible to use "template fragments" which can query the database directly, but that option is not available to relationship matrices.


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Simon M

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Re: Relationship between/to Attributes
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2017, 08:44:04 am »
This isn't an EA issue, but the way UML works: Attributes Do Not Have Relationships.
Not quite true. Dependency, some of its specializations and Information Flow all go between Named Elements, which includes Attributes.

On the other hand, UML doesn't define a notation for rendering relationships between the attributes of a class. (Although, it's not incorrect to render it as a Port or Part to show the relationships.)