Sparx Systems Forum

Discussion => Bugs and Issues => Topic started by: kepNCI on June 11, 2015, 01:24:39 am

Title: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: kepNCI on June 11, 2015, 01:24:39 am
I have read several posts about trying to use MS Access 2013 to directly read an eap file, but I could not find a definitive answer.

Is this a correct statement?:
-------------
Access 2013 cannot read an eap file unless you first convert the file via Access 2007 or 2010 to an accdb file, which then renders it unreadable by EA. Therefore MS Access 2013 and EA are not compatible. i.e., they cannot both read/update the same file.
-------------

I have no problem when using MS Access 2010. I must assume that because MS Access 2013 dropped support for JET 3.5 it cannot read eap files, even if I had the jet 4.0 enabled within EA.  

I also tried to use MS Access 2010 to convert the EAP file to accdb format, but then EA cannot read it. Thus I have come to the conclusion as stated above.
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: Elpis on June 11, 2015, 02:25:22 am
> I have no problem when using MS Access 2010. I must assume
> that because MS Access 2013 dropped support for JET 3.5
> it cannot read eap files, even if I had the jet 4.0 enabled within EA.

Probably you know that, but just to be sure:
Enabling the "Use JET 4.0" in EA doesnt't make old (ie. already existing) project to be automatically upgraded to 4.0 format (assuming it has 3.5 format). In such a case Project Transfer must be done to newly created 4.0 .eap repository.
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: kepNCI on June 11, 2015, 04:08:15 am
Thanks Elpis

I did know that, but I am not convinced I am creating a 4.0 jet file.

I usually run with the Jet 4.0 option enabled. Thus I was thinking that all new databases that I create would be JET 4.0 format.  So I tried a little experiement...

1) I created a new EAP database, selected class as the model and the resulting eap file was 1186 Kb.

2) I then disabled the Jet 4.0 option, restarted EA and created another new eap database, again selecting class as the model. The file size was also 1186 Kb.  I thought the Jet 4.0 file size should be larger.

Also, if I open either file with Access 2010, it says it is an Access 97 file format.  

So maybe my issue is that I have not been able to create a Jet 4.0 eap file.  
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: kepNCI on June 11, 2015, 04:41:10 am
I partially answer my own question (with an assist from Elpis).

I now believe the following statement is true:
---------------
MS Access 2013 can read an eap file if it is JET 4.0, but cannot read Jet 3.5 eap files.  One must convert the 3.5 eap file to a 4.0 eap file using the transfer file to file function where the target is a Jet 4.0 file.
----------------

My mistake: I was assuming that if I had the 4.0 option set and created a new eap file, that it would be a JET 4.0 file.  
NOPE. EA was still creating a 3.5 Jet file. So, Instead of creating a new file with the JET 4.0 option set, I instead downloaded the "EABase_JET4.zip" file and used the contained file "EABase_JET4.eap" as the target.   Thus ensuring the target was a Jet 4.0 eap file.  Now Access 2013 can read it.


SO...
Now my question is:
How do I make EA create Jet 4.0 formated eap files when I create a new eap database?
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: qwerty on June 11, 2015, 05:17:01 am
EA takes a default repository from EA's program files called EABase.eap. Just replace it with the 4.0 version.

q.
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: kepNCI on June 11, 2015, 06:31:17 am
Yuk. Doesn't that mean that I have to replace the EABase.eap file with EABase_JET4.eap file every time I install a new EA version?  

I would have thought that EA install would have both base files in the program file and then use the "enable 4.0" option to determine which one to use when creating a new eap project.

Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: qwerty on June 11, 2015, 07:00:05 am
Well, this is EA. Any questions?

One of the Sparxians once told that not delivering Jet4 had to do with licensing. So maybe you should also blame Mickeysoft.

q.
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: kepNCI on June 17, 2015, 01:32:59 am
I entered this issue as a bug report. Here is SPARX's reply:

---------------
The purpose of the JET 4 button is to provide support for JET 4 projects. It doesn't and isn't intended to change the format of any JET files, including new projects.
---------------

RECAP SUMMARY:
FACT: In order to use MS Access 2013 to read an eap file, the file must be JET 4.0 format. MS Access 2010 and 2007 can read both 3.5 and 4.0 JET format.
Based upon SPARX comments and experimentation, I believe the following to be accurate:

Enabling the "Use JET4 option" only is functional (at least from a user's perspective) when you have already created a JET 4.0 formatted eap file.

Out of the box, EA can only create new eap projects in 3.5 JET format. To make it 4.0 format, user must open EA with the "Use JET4 option" already enabled, then open the existing 3.5 JET formatted eap project, then use database management/file to file transfer (eap to eap) to replicate the database. The replicated database will be in JET 4.0 format. NOTE: From that point on, make sure you always have the "Use JET4 option" enabled or you will no be able to open the 4.0 formatted project.

In order to have EA create 4.0 eap projects when creating a new eap file, you have to fudge the EA program file by:

- downloading the EABaseJET4.eap file from SPARX.
- overwrite the EABase.eap file in the EA program folder with the EABaseJET4.eap

When creating a new eap file, apparently EA will always start with the EABase.eap file, thus what ever format EABase.eap is, that is what the new project will be.  Beware, that if you change the EABase.eap file in the prgram file to the 4.0 format and then run EA with the "Use JET 4.0" NOT enabled (as if to create a 3.5 format), EA will throw several errors and eventually abort.  Basically EA cannot support the creation of new EAP databases in either 3.5 or 4.0  Must be one or the other depending upon the format of the EABase.eap file the program directory.

Personal comment:
I still see it as a bug or at the very least, poor design. In my opinion, EA should be able to create a new eap file in either 3.5 or 4.0 format. I would think that would be easy to code by having both base files in the program file and using the "Use 4.0 JET" option to determine which to use.
In the current design, I an not really sure what the purpose of the "Use 4.0 JET" option is. I would think EA would determine the format version of the eap file by looking at the file instead of a use-enabled option. But apparently the truth is a mixture. Regardless of the value of the "Use 4.0 Option", if the eap file is 3.5, EA is happy and continues supporting the 3.5 format. If the "Use 4.0 Option" is enabled and the file is 4.0 format, again EA is happy and continues supporting the 4.0 format. However if the "Use 4.0 Option" is NOT enabled and the file is 4.0 format, EA throws an error that it is not a recognized file format.

I will continue to be amazed at the functionality of EA and can understand bugs that do not get fixed immediately, but in this case, SPARX has disappointed me.
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: Geert Bellekens on June 17, 2015, 03:27:12 am
I understand what you are getting at, but I can also understand Sparx.
Being able too open the .eap file with MS-Access has never been a supported "feature" of the product, just a side-effect of EA using the same database format.

Personally I'm not really bothered by this because I don't think MS-Access is a particularly good SQL client.
There are much better and cheaper (free) SQL clients out there that will happily connect to a Jet 3.5 file.
I'm currently using the free AnySQL Maestro (https://www.sqlmaestro.com/products/anysql/) to query the EA repository.

Geert
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: qwerty on June 17, 2015, 04:33:41 am
Me too. It's nice for scratch work to use EAP files. But for production use I'd never use it (except maybe for the rare case where you need it in sites that are located on North Pole or the like where you have no usable network connection and are forced to use version control/EAP).

q.
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: bholtzman on March 31, 2016, 11:32:08 pm
Hi all:
So I want to use MS Access to open the EAP file because I can then build some additional tracking capability along with a custom front end and because I'm very comfortable with Access (due to years of sustaining legacy applications!). I've done this already by adding tables, queries, forms and reports to the EAP file. It seems to work well. I originally added rows to some of the EAP tables but that didn't seem safe. I don't perform any operations on the data in the native EAP tables except SELECT.

So are there people who have done this and do you have any tips or cautions about it? I could add another layer of defense by creating a separate Access file and linking to t_attribute and t_object. But this would add some complexity that I'm not sure I need.

I appreciate any thoughts or ideas.

Bill
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: Helmut Ortmann on April 01, 2016, 12:15:07 am
Hi,
I can only agree with Geert and qwerty.

I have seen a lot of work dumped because of inconsistent / corrupt repositories (*.eap file on a net share). If you are working alone *.eap files work well, mostly.

Usually you don't care what database is beneath EA. If you want to access EA on a real DB by Access you can do so. Query no problem, change is risky regardless of what database you use.

Regards,

Helmut
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: qwerty on April 01, 2016, 01:40:47 am
It's like playing with loaded guns: nothing happens if you know what you do. Any added table/column info may conflict with future EA releases. XMI im-/export (and others like consistency checks) will not respect your tables/columns. I would always fall back to what is inside. Any addition increases complexity and reduces maintainability in exponential relation.

q.
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: Paolo F Cantoni on April 01, 2016, 10:45:26 am
Well, as someone who has interacted with EA repositories with MS Access for over a decade, I can suggest some tips:

Hope that doesn't deter you...  As q says - if you know what you are doing, nothing bad will happen.  However, knowing what you are doing requires discipline and persistence.

Paolo
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: bholtzman on April 07, 2016, 02:13:22 am
Thanks, all. As you can see I am new to the forum and didn't realize you had answered. I turned on notifications for this topic but didn't check my spam folder!

Paolo you answered my questions exactly as intended. I definitely do not know what I'm doing at this point. But the project lead now wants to move the file to a central database for multiple users. For regulatory reasons, they also want to continue to access the tables via MS Access. Paolo that sounds like exactly what you've been doing, is that right?

I have Inside EA and read it!

Bill
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: Paolo F Cantoni on April 07, 2016, 09:39:17 am
Thanks, all. As you can see I am new to the forum and didn't realize you had answered. I turned on notifications for this topic but didn't check my spam folder!

Paolo you answered my questions exactly as intended. I definitely do not know what I'm doing at this point. But the project lead now wants to move the file to a central database for multiple users. For regulatory reasons, they also want to continue to access the tables via MS Access. Paolo that sounds like exactly what you've been doing, is that right?

I have Inside EA and read it!

Bill
Yes Bill, that's what I'm doing.  But the way I've done it, I can switch to another repository type (such as .eap) at the press of a button.

Feel free to ask questions.

Paolo
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: bholtzman on April 07, 2016, 10:44:54 pm
Paolo,
Ah, this is great news for me. We have not committed to anything so your advice and experience will be of great value.

We're currently evaluating our options. What we want is to track custom metadata associated with classes, attributes, and everything we enter into EA. We need multi-user concurrent access from several different physical locations and networks. So here are the basic questions:

1. Can we do what we need inside of EA?
2. If not, what is the best client? Probably all of us would prefer a web-based tool for manipulating the metadata, but I think I mentioned that for regulatory reasons we need to use MS Access. Why have you chosen that client, your own familiarity with it?
3. What is the best configuration and database for concurrent access? Of course, "Deployment of Enterprise Architect" is a great resource for this. But there's no substitute for someone else's practical experience! We're leaning towards a MySQL database and still considering how to connect to it. We're also unclear as to how concurrent access will work. Is there any kind of locking mechanism?
4. Seems like we need to use the Cloud service option to connect to the database. Would you agree? Do you have any experience with that?

Scott Hebbard suggested we stick with EA and use tagged values. But the process of accessing the tagged values window for every single item is inefficient with respect to creating an Access form that contains every metadata item we want to track and a drop down of every EA item we want to include (from t_attribute, t_object, etc.). Also, having to type in every column name into the Tag field would really be labor-intensive. Or is there a way to populate the drop down? I looked at every single table in the database and did not see "EAExtended::CRUD" or the other two. Even if all of this worked you'd still have to get the values out of EA and I guess that'd be along these lines:
http://www.sparxsystems.com/enterprise_architect_user_guide/10/reporting/tagged_value_sections.html

Someone else suggested using the Glossary feature but it wasn't clear this was workable.

Thanks so much.

Bill
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: Geert Bellekens on April 07, 2016, 11:20:30 pm
Bill,

I really don't see why you would want to build another client in MS Access to enter data into Enterprise Architect.

If you really think you can't do it with the standard tagged values screens (which have improved greatly the last few releases, look at the BPMN 2.0 tags as an example) there still EAForms (http://www.eaworkplace.com/downloads/eaforms) which will allow you to build your own user interface to enter details.

And if that is not sufficient you can even add your own windows to Enteprise Architect by building an add-in. At leas you would only have one place to enter the data.

Geert
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: bholtzman on April 08, 2016, 01:48:18 am
Hi Geert,
I looked at tagged values but from what I could tell they would be lots of work. We have 20 or so fields we want to associate with an attribute. I would have to create a tagged value for all 20 for each attribute, typing in the name of the tag each time and then typing in the value. I'd rather use my Access form that links to that attribute and has all of the fields with drop-downs and possibly some auto-fill fields as well. (Can't seem to figure out how to attach an image to this.)

I haven't looked at EA forms but will.

As far as an Add-in, could I build something similar to the what I've described (a multi-field form keyed on rows in t_attributes and t_objects) that way?

I've watched several of your videos on youtube...great! I just saw the one on EA add ins in one minute but the EA Matic item is not in my Extensions drop down in EA 12. Thanks!

Is it possible that my version of EA does not have either EA Matic or EA forms? We own Corporate.

Bill
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: Geert Bellekens on April 08, 2016, 02:25:49 am
Tagged values are usually set in a set of stereotypes which are part of a profile.
Selecting an element of a specific stereotype automatically comes with the set of tagged values.

This is the standard UML compliant way of extending standard UML or UML Profiles.

For reference look at the way this was used in the BPMN2.0 MDG

EA-Matic and EA Forms are add-ins for Enterprise Architect you'll have to install separately.
EA-Matic is free and open source. EA Forms is commercial.

Geert
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: bholtzman on April 08, 2016, 03:37:24 am
Paolo,
Three more questions:

1. What's your preferred database to connect to? We are leaning towards MySQL. Do you have experience with that? Any specific issues or tips?
2. Once you've connected the Access front end to the relational database, can you then create tables and such? Or do you need to create the database structures separately?
3. How do you manage security on the side of the Access app? Do you specify locking level during schema construction?

Thanks!

Bill
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: Geert Bellekens on April 08, 2016, 04:09:25 am
In terms of performance we've seen the best results with MySQL and SQL Server, so MySQL is definitely a good choice. Just look carefully at the instructions with regards to settings and drivers.

For security there the's the built-in security feature. Most often used in the "Require user lock to edit" mode. Also have a look at the auditing feature if you want to be able to track who changed what.

I would strongly advice against changing anything to the database structure. It will make things like project transfer, upgrades, etc.. a much harder task.

Geert
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: qwerty on April 08, 2016, 05:22:20 am
Re 2. You need to create the tables first (as admin). Once setup you can transfer an existing repository (or a plain EAP) vie Project/Data Management/Project Transfer. The users need a Grant for R/W to all tables, but not CREATE TABLE.

q.
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: bholtzman on April 08, 2016, 05:38:52 am
Geert and Thomas,
Thanks very much. Good to know MySQL will work well.

My other questions were not about EA, but about the configuration Paolo uses where a MS Access front end connects to a database (not EA). The Access app also has read links to the EA database. Then we connect the t_attribute and t_object tables to custom tables in the non-EA database and track all kinds of metadata using the Access front end. This enables us a lot of flexibility in terms of the types and amount of custom metadata we track, and infinite control over reports. We can give users direct access to the up-to-date and custom data dictionary without the need for them to use EA.

So I'm not talking about changing the EA database structure at all, not even the slightest change. What I was talking about was manipulating tables in the non-EA database from MS Access.

I think Paolo has been doing exactly what I'm talking about for years.

The fundamental issue here, and the reason we want to move to this configuration, is that EA Forms, EA Matic and MDG Technologies do not enable any user-driven changes to the EA tables. So we're at the mercy of the EA table structure for tracking this custom metadata. From everything I can tell, the custom metadata is stored in the tagged values tables (t_attributetag, t_objectproperties, t_connectortag) and the tags are stored as plain text. What we're looking for is the ability to use lookup tables for entry of custom data, so that the user chooses from drop downs and other widgets and the data entry is simplified. We also see an advantage in automating the data entry with auto-fill features and such by using MS Access this way.

Do you see what I am getting at?

Bill
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: qwerty on April 08, 2016, 07:19:44 am
Yes. I think it is okay to do so, as long as you remember that this is a custom database and has restrictions regarding XMI/VC. I don't know whether I would suggest to use such a DB, but I can see that the milage varies everywhere.

q.
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: bholtzman on April 08, 2016, 07:37:29 am
Thanks, q! It gives me confidence to have your "blessing" on this. I realize you aren't guaranteeing anything, but just knowing you don't have any outright objection is very helpful. Thanks for your comments!

Bill
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: Paolo F Cantoni on April 08, 2016, 10:08:24 am
Hi Bill and co,

I see you've been busy while I've been sleeping!

We use MS Access for a number of use cases:
Surgical intervention when things go wrong
Running scripts (MS Macros etc) to perform actions directly on EA Tables - including adding objects, relationships, attributes, operations and tags
Running scripts to check higher level validity or structure than that obtainable with the Integrity checker.

These are all administrative use cases - not for normal users.

We don't do data entry, per se, in MS Access.  But there's no reason not to.  But Geert is right, for normal users you should try to do everything from EA in some way.

We do have tables not in the EA Repository, some common to all repositories (usually metadata related) others specific to the target repository (as we change the target repository via a linked table manager, we automatically re-link these external tables to the requisite MDB.

Now, it took a few years to get all this additional framework in place - but now we have a significant amount of freedom to create our own modelling environment.

However, as the others have said, we try to use existing functionality within EA wherever possible - using predefined tagged values against metatypes a case in point.  In fact, sometimes we have been "ahead of the game" and when EA has caught up, we've retired our "extension" and switched to the new EA functionality.

We took the view that EA is not just a product, but a framework.  We build our own environment /configuration on top of that framework.  Don't be afraid of using MS Access, but don't see it as a panacea.

BTW we also interact with EA via MS Excel (we automatically synchronise formal "Catalogues" with the repository, for example).

My advice to you is to look at what you want to do, decide on a design and the put it up for comment on the forum.  Over the years, I've donethat where I wasn't sure if the idea was correct.

HTH,
Paolo
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: Geert Bellekens on April 08, 2016, 03:39:58 pm
Hi Bill,

You still haven't convinced me the MS-Access route is necessary.
With UML Profiles you can define tagged values in all kinds of datatypes such as enumeration (which show to the user as dropdowns) and even references to ther model elements (which the user can select).
You can do a lot with Enterprise Architect using UML Profiles, SQL Searches, Scripts and Add-ins. With that toolset I've been able to satisfy all of my clients requirements (some of which were really far fetched). Not once have I considered using MS Access for anything.

Geert
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: bholtzman on April 13, 2016, 11:43:22 pm
Hi guys,
Sorry for being offline. The conversation is really great.

Paolo,
I also feel like I have much more granular control and understanding of things using the Access option. Maybe it's just because I haven't been working with EA for years (just a few months actually) and don't have the "back of the hand" knowledge of it inside and out. It's certainly a powerful product with lots of capabilities, but as you say it's great to have freedom to create your own modeling environment.

We're curious how you capture "versions" of the data in your custom tables and how you match that up with each Baseline from EA. Did you build some custom tools for handling that?

It seems pretty bold to be running scripts to perform action directly on EA tables! Can you give some examples of this? I've already had cases where EA throws an error because it is creating an entry that violates a primary key, so I've taken steps to keep all of my activities confined to the tables I created, and not "touch" any native EA table except in "read only" mode. My sense is that this is necessary for me but not for you, because you've made the mistakes in the past and know what you're doing!

The flexibility of performing higher level and very customized validity checks is also appealing. I take it these are your arguments to Geert about why you think using Access is worthwhile?

Geert,
If I use UML Profiles would I also use EA Forms to provide the user with a way to track 20 pieces of metadata associated with a particular element, attribute, etc.? How would that data be stored, in t_attributetag, t_objectproperties, etc.? Having our custom field names stored in these tables as plain text doesn't seem efficient. Also, where are the enumerated tagged value datatypes be kept in the database? EA Forms does not seem to be that well supported. The web site doesn't seem to be up-to-date.

The difference between us is you have many, many years of working with EA and incorporating new capabilities. For us to get to anywhere near the same level of comfort might take a year. Meanwhile, Access is a familiar and comfortable tool and is probably used by 10,000 times as many people as EA. So if we build something in Access there are a lot more people available who can manage that component cheaply and proficiently. So the configuration is more manageable on the design side.

Cheers,
Bill
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: Geert Bellekens on April 13, 2016, 11:57:21 pm
Bill,

The way the data is stored should not be any of our concern, as long as it is managed properly by EA.

And I must say that EA does pretty good job managing all the metadata as it is.

As for the GUI part, have you seen how standard EA handles BPMN? There are tons of tagged values, and I think the GUI for managing these, out of the box, is not bad at all.

But as I mentioned, if you don't like the standard GUI it is possible to customize it with add-ins.

The advantage of using a UML profile is that this is a standard extension method for UML, and so your xmi exports will contain all your extended meta-data. That may become important once you start working with 3th parties, or you want to export your model to other tools.
Another issue to consider is document generation and html reports.
and probably some areas or concerns I forgot.

Anyway, once you "roll your own" and build your own meta-data extension using your own database or tables, your on your own for all of these areas. I'm pretty sure there will be a point in the future where you will regret that decision.

I would really investigate the standard out of the box extension mechanism before building your own.

Geert
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: bholtzman on April 14, 2016, 02:50:50 am
Thanks, Geert, I really do appreciate your comments and suggestions.

As far as document generation and HTML, I feel our approach has a definite advantage. I can customize the heck out of that. I've built modules in Access to export HTML files many, many times.

I have not seen how EA handles BPMN. Is there a video online somewhere?

As far as regretting the decision later, I don't get the sense that Paolo feels that way. In fact, he seems very comfortable with the direction they've taken, and has even been able to add his own data manipulation tools, letting him do things that ordinary users can't. It sounds like if he wanted to add a prefix to every object in one package (or do something more complex), he has a GUI for it.

Bill
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: Geert Bellekens on April 14, 2016, 03:25:51 am
OK, seems I can't convince you.

Then I want to reserve the right to "I told you so" in a year from now ;)

With regards to BPMN, see http://www.sparxsystems.com/resources/webinar/partners/bpmn/enhanced/BPMN2-enhancements.htm (http://www.sparxsystems.com/resources/webinar/partners/bpmn/enhanced/BPMN2-enhancements.htm) around minute 22 or so you see how EA handles the tagged values with the extra metadata.

Geert
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: bholtzman on April 14, 2016, 04:29:31 am
Of course you can say "I told you so"! If I'm wrong, I will freely admit it and make sure and tell you.  :)

You don't seem to be responding to my points directly, so I am feeling comfortable. Also, one of our tasks is to provide this custom metadata "overlay" to an existing, full-scale EA project. It seems to be this will be to some degree easier doing it our way.

With regards to BPMN 2.0, that is an MDG right? How long would it take to develop such an MDG for specific requirements? How long would it take to learn how to do it and where do you go for the training materials?

Bill
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: Geert Bellekens on April 14, 2016, 09:59:32 am
With regards to BPMN 2.0, that is an MDG right? How long would it take to develop such an MDG for specific requirements? How long would it take to learn how to do it and where do you go for the training materials?
Yes, the MDG is the "package" to deliver the UML Profile, and other stuff.
If you know what you're doing, making a UML Profile + shapescripts + MDG for say 10 different stereotypes would take about a week or so to develop.
Learning how to do it depends on the student I guess. All the learning material is in the manual and in the learning centre, but it can be hard at times to find it.

Geert
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: Paolo F Cantoni on April 14, 2016, 10:06:29 am
Bill,

Heed Geert's words.  The way our extensions work is that at the end of the process, you still have a "standard" EA repository.  We have just automated a manual process.  Admittedly, we have "hijacked" some existing fields, but that's something we could do manually.

Before "rolling your own" you need to understand what EA is doing and how it does it.  Then you can determine if that's suitable.  You're correct in saying that you haven't got the "grey hairs" from working with EA for years - that's why you should hire someone who has, to provide knowledge transfer.

As far as Access is concerned, we do use some tables of our own, but they are either temporary tables (in a separate MDB) or metadata tables for managing the process (in the main MDB).  We also have a library of VBA functions that we use for interesting stuff.  Some of the more "out there" things we do under Access automation (via Access macros) are:

This is to indicate what kinds of things are possible, not to say you should do it.

We are dealing with an enterprise wide repository, supporting potentially tens of teams and hundreds of users (mainly readers), keeping "the ducks in a row" and stopping them becoming cats that need to be "herded" requires this level of automated support.

As mentioned (and reinforced by Geert) our intention is to end up with a repository that can be properly supported by the standard EA UI (even if a bit "kludgy" at times).  We go to a lot of trouble to make sure we don't break anything in the standard product.  Sometimes, our solutions are less than optimal, but still consistent (enough) with standard EA.

HTH,
Paolo
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: bholtzman on April 14, 2016, 11:38:50 pm
Geert,
I am becoming convinced that developing our own MDG is the longer term solution. For political reasons we want to demonstrate why that is using the quick and dirty Access method, explaining that they'll need to make a bigger investment if they want it done right and with full capabilities. Does that make you feel better?  :)

I do have one question. I understand that in EA 12 the EA Viewer no longer supported MDGs. Is that true? If so, that could be an issue that tips the scales back the other way.

Paolo,
Thanks for the caveats and detailed info. You guys must really know EA backwards and forwards. Sounds like a fun place to work! Our plan for the short term Access solution is to use a server-based database and put our custom tables in a separate database, using Access to link them and giving the Access front end read only capability for the EA tables. So we will have no way to make edits or change the schema of the EA database and so completely avoid the issue of "contaminating" EA.

By the way for both of you...I assume you're not native English speakers? If so you both have tremendous command of the language, both formally and in your use and understanding of day-to-day expressions! Thanks so much for your help.

Bill
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: Simon M on April 15, 2016, 08:30:53 am
I do have one question. I understand that in EA 12 the EA Viewer no longer supported MDGs. Is that true? If so, that could be an issue that tips the scales back the other way.
The difference was that the user interface of add-ins wouldn't be displayed. Everything relating to defining an MDG technology will still work. Including the technology broadcast, add-in searches and add-in calls from shape scripts.
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: Paolo F Cantoni on April 15, 2016, 09:43:13 am
[SNIP]
By the way for both of you...I assume you're not native English speakers? If so you both have tremendous command of the language, both formally and in your use and understanding of day-to-day expressions! Thanks so much for your help.

Bill
I was born in the UK to Italian parents, but effectively didn't speak English till I went to school at age 5.  Whether that make me a native English speaker is a moot point.

Geert is the real hero here...

Paolo
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: Glassboy on April 15, 2016, 01:32:01 pm
[SNIP]
By the way for both of you...I assume you're not native English speakers? If so you both have tremendous command of the language, both formally and in your use and understanding of day-to-day expressions! Thanks so much for your help.

Bill
I was born in the UK to Italian parents, but effectively didn't speak English till I went to school at age 5.  Whether that make me a native English speaker is a moot point.

and now you speak 'stralin.  Does that make you tri-lingual?
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: RoyC on April 15, 2016, 01:49:47 pm
If Paolo speaks Stralin, he might actually speak four languages, since the official language of Straya is Strayn.
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: Glassboy on April 15, 2016, 02:04:48 pm
If Paolo speaks Stralin, he might actually speak four languages, since the official language of Straya is Strayn.

'stralin is Kiwi for Strayn.  We're obviously better educated and more literate, and know how to use an apostrophe for contractions rather than just pluralising words :-)
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: KP on April 15, 2016, 02:37:25 pm
'stralin is Kiwi for Strayn.  We're obviously better educated and more literate, and know how to use an apostrophe for contraction's rather than just pluralising word's :-)
FTFY
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: Paolo F Cantoni on April 15, 2016, 03:18:54 pm
If Paolo speaks Stralin, he might actually speak four languages, since the official language of Straya is Strayn.
I know some people think I speak fluent "Rubbish".

Maybe I should apply to Rubb for political asylum?

Paolo
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: RoyC on April 15, 2016, 04:20:07 pm
Quote
'stralin is Kiwi for Strayn.  We're obviously better educated and more literate, and know how to use an apostrophe for contraction's rather than just pluralising word's :-)

Except that you DON'T use apostrophes for making nouns plural. Apostrophes are used for contractions (as in don't) and for indicating the possessive of an object OTHER THAN 'it' - Brown's car, the dog's breakfast, but never it's possession. Oh - in their guise as single quotes, they are also used to mark 'borrowed' words in a different context, and for indirect quotations (those that do not have an implied 'he said' or 'he wrote' before or after them).

And as I type this, I notice that you have corrected your post. Look, he DID abuse an apostrophe, honest, he did HE DID!    :->

Edit: Or was that Mr KP doing a clean up? Actually, since KP and I are both of English extraction, this says nothing about the Australian 'way with words'. Perhaps a dinky-die Australian could chip in with some limpid prose to refute that fellow from across the Tasman?
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: Geert Bellekens on April 15, 2016, 04:36:03 pm
Geert,
I am becoming convinced that developing our own MDG is the longer term solution. For political reasons we want to demonstrate why that is using the quick and dirty Access method, explaining that they'll need to make a bigger investment if they want it done right and with full capabilities. Does that make you feel better?  :)
Yes it does  :D
And as Paolo suggested, hiring an EA consultant who has experience with MDG's and stuff will certainly be beneficial. There is a list of Value Added Resellers (http://sparxsystems.com/partners/vars.html) (such as myself) on the website that you can contact.

By the way for both of you...I assume you're not native English speakers? If so you both have tremendous command of the language, both formally and in your use and understanding of day-to-day expressions! Thanks so much for your help.

Bill
You're welcome. I'm actually a Dutch native speaker, but that doesn't get me very far does it  ;)
So we tend to be good in other languages because we have to

Geert
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: Paolo F Cantoni on April 15, 2016, 07:02:07 pm
OK, so as an Information Architect who's concerned about words (and their meanings and usages), I may be able to provide a somewhat definitive and (I believe) totally consistent answer.

Quote
'stralin is Kiwi for Strayn.  We're obviously better educated and more literate, and know how to use an apostrophe for contraction's rather than just pluralising word's :-)

Except that you DON'T use apostrophes for making nouns plural. Apostrophes are used for contractions (as in don't) and for indicating the possessive of an object OTHER THAN 'it' - Brown's car, the dog's breakfast, but never it's possession. Oh - in their guise as single quotes, they are also used to mark 'borrowed' words in a different context, and for indirect quotations (those that do not have an implied 'he said' or 'he wrote' before or after them).
Having watched Glassboy's pronouncements over time, I was prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt and assumed he was writing ironically (word's for words)

Abbreviation: A shortened or contracted form of a word or phrase (term), used to represent the whole.
Abbreviations come in many forms:  Contractions, Reductions, Initialisms and Acronyms (and Symbols).
A contraction is where the start and end of the word remain (such as Dr for Doctor).
A reduction is where one or other end of the word is "lopped off" (such as etc. for Et Ceterea - incidentally, if you've ever wondered why MS word isnsists on puitting a full stop after etc.  its because (in English) reductions get a full stop to indicate the lopping off and contractions DON'T; so "Dr." is incorrect).
Initialisms are those terms formed by using the initial leters of the words, where you don't pronounce the result as a word - such as FBI
Acronyms are like intialisms except you pronounce the word - such as RADAR RAdio Detection And Ranging.  Acronyms can include other letters to aid in pronunciation.
Symbols are very short terms used to indicate a longer term such as AU for Australian in AU$ or Cu for Copper.

Quote
And as I type this, I notice that you have corrected your post. Look, he DID abuse an apostrophe, honest, he did HE DID!    :->

Edit: Or was that Mr KP doing a clean up? Actually, since KP and I are both of English extraction, this says nothing about the Australian 'way with words'. Perhaps a dinky-die Australian could chip in with some limpid prose to refute that fellow from across the Tasman?
'Tis another use fo the apostrophe to indicate letters dropped or removed for reductions in addition to contractions - otherwise how could you tell that the first letter you see is actually NOT the first letter.

So "'strain' although somewhat obtuse is acceptable as the apostrophe alludes to the "sotto voce" missing "Au".  'Strain differentiates the word from the word strain - with it's normal meaning.

HTH,
Paolo
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: bholtzman on April 15, 2016, 10:26:13 pm
Since you guys already hijacked the thread (I know - I started it!)...Geert I know a number of Dutch air traffic controllers both in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, as well as some at Maastricht. And they all have that same challenge with the language since we use English in all business. My hat is off to all of you!

Bill
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: RoyC on April 18, 2016, 02:14:10 pm
Sorry to pontificate, but I am duty bound to report that Glassboy's post further back in this thread was, in fact correct in its punctuation (although I am still not certain about whether he was being serious or facetious in the actual text...). It turns out that SOMEbody added the apostrophes where they didn't ought to have been added. So my deepest apologies.

Paolo, on the other hand:
Quote
'Strain differentiates the word from the word strain - with it's normal meaning.

Now was that you being facetious - or even fatuous - or did SOMEbody enact some corruption there too?
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: Glassboy on April 18, 2016, 02:40:11 pm
I was being facetious.  You can find abuses of the language on both sides of the ditch.  I do notice youse being used as a plural for you more when I'm in Straya, but that maybe because it is more noticeable when hearing it in another accent.
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: Paolo F Cantoni on April 18, 2016, 05:17:28 pm
Sorry to pontificate, but I am duty bound to report that Glassboy's post further back in this thread was, in fact correct in its punctuation (although I am still not certain about whether he was being serious or facetious in the actual text...). It turns out that SOMEbody added the apostrophes where they didn't ought to have been added. So my deepest apologies.

Paolo, on the other hand:
Quote
'Strain differentiates the word from the word strain - with it's normal meaning.

Now was that you being facetious - or even fatuous - or did SOMEbody enact some corruption there too?
Nope, just typo on a moving bus and insufficient checking  and or rogue spell check....
At least nobody assumed it was that way because I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT WAS CORRECT...


Paolo
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: KP on April 18, 2016, 05:25:35 pm
I do notice youse being used as a plural for you more when I'm in Straya, but that maybe because it is more noticeable when hearing it in another accent.
It's more common in country areas than the capital cities. I'm sure I would find it very useful, but unfortunately it (like its US equivalent y'all) can't be spoken un-self-conciously in an English accent.
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: Paolo F Cantoni on April 18, 2016, 05:32:50 pm
I do notice youse being used as a plural for you more when I'm in Straya, but that maybe because it is more noticeable when hearing it in another accent.
It's more common in country areas than the capital cities. I'm sure I would find it very useful, but unfortunately it (like its US equivalent y'all) can't be spoken un-self-consciously in an English accent.
It's also a Bogan (predominantly Western Sydney and Melbourne) pride term...  As in Jeff Fenech's: "I loves youse all!"


It's not used so much in the Western third of the West Island.


Paolo
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: Glassboy on April 19, 2016, 08:24:36 am
I do notice youse being used as a plural for you more when I'm in Straya, but that maybe because it is more noticeable when hearing it in another accent.
It's more common in country areas than the capital cities. I'm sure I would find it very useful, but unfortunately it (like its US equivalent y'all) can't be spoken un-self-conciously in an English accent.

I find y'all quaint and endearing and I am always delighted when someone manages to use it twice in one sentence.  Youse (ewes) - on the other hand - are sheep.
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: bholtzman on May 05, 2016, 11:08:53 pm
Paolo and all,
We've established a Postgres database on our server and migrated an EAP file into it. We then connect to the database from both EA and a custom Access front end. After some performance tuning of my code, it all seems to work quite well. My table and code configurations are such that we don't do any data manipulation on the EA tables but only on the custom tables I created. So I feel like we've minimized the risk of bad things happening and still leveraged the power of your approach.

It's really quite an effective solution to our needs and fits well with our existing skill sets. I do hope to graduate one day to Geert's more sophisticated and intrinsic solution but the current configuration is what will enable us to get the resources required for that.

We want to provide users with only the run-time MS Access to use the custom front end. If they had the full version of Access they could create the connection to the database themselves, but with the run-time version I understand I need to code the connection in VB. Do you have any tips or code snippets on doing this? Maybe this wasn't an issue for you but I figured it was worth asking.

Thanks for all of your help!

Bill
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: Glassboy on May 06, 2016, 06:48:37 am
We've established a Postgres database on our server and migrated an EAP file into it. We then connect to the database from both EA and a custom Access front end. After some performance tuning of my code, it all seems to work quite well. My table and code configurations are such that we don't do any data manipulation on the EA tables but only on the custom tables I created. So I feel like we've minimized the risk of bad things happening and still leveraged the power of your approach.

I've had some issues in the past with Postgres based repositories, especially migrating off them.  Given what you're doing, I'd suggest you test a transfer to an EAP based repository just to make sure you haven't accidently locked yourself in (as it were).
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: bholtzman on May 06, 2016, 10:43:32 pm
Hi GB,
We did that and it seems to have turned out fine. I also published to HTML and that went fine. I didn't do any comprehensive testing though. Is there anything in particular we should be looking for in terms of problems with migration?

All in all we haven't had any issues so far except for performance over the VPN from far away.

Bill
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: Glassboy on May 09, 2016, 07:36:04 am
Hi GB,
We did that and it seems to have turned out fine. I also published to HTML and that went fine. I didn't do any comprehensive testing though. Is there anything in particular we should be looking for in terms of problems with migration?

I've seen a couple of really strange errors that looked like some type mismatch on exports, but as my only access to the database was a 32bit ODBC client that needed shimming to work on what was already a broken Windows 7 build it was rather hard to work out what was going on.
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: bholtzman on May 20, 2016, 03:33:14 am
Does anyone know how to code an ODBC connection into the Access file? We'd like users to be able to run the app with the run-time version, which doesn't allow them to configure the connection. Just hoping someone has some copy-and-paste and save me the trouble...

Bill
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: qwerty on May 20, 2016, 05:27:30 am
Use File/Open. From the context menu of an existing connection choose Edit connection string.

q.
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: bholtzman on October 09, 2016, 02:42:43 am
I have to tell you guys, using MS Access with an EA Postgres database has been working out great. I have so much flexibility in terms of customizing the Access front-end, adding and modifying my custom data tables, and customizing the output capabilities it is tremendous. Even if I knew how to build MDG Technologies, I am not sure I'd have the same ease-of-use that I have and it would have taken me months if not more to get to the same level of proficiency. It helped, of course, that I had years of experience with Access. But I really am skeptical that I could have achieved the same level of capability with MDG Technologies even if I had mastered them.

I haven't had any issues with corrupting the database or any other setback. Naturally I am diligently and religiously careful never to touch the EA native tables. The only issues I have are performance-related when I am using a VPN connection. Most functions work well but when Access does heavy data crunching, as most of you know, it passes lots of data back and forth with the database. So one procedure - when I review all of the EA changes and build a new data dictionary - can take as long as a half hour to run. But it's an issue that's very workable and a small price to pay for the powerful tool I have built.

Well, I just wanted to update you on my efforts and let you know that this method does indeed have value despite your misgivings. You just have to be careful and know what you're doing, as I think Paolo said previously. Thanks, Paolo!

Bill
Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: Gary W. on May 05, 2017, 09:04:18 am
Hmmm, is this still an issue?  I don't see EABaseJet4 at http://www.sparxsystems.com/registered/index.html (I've logged in as a registered user).

I'm on v13, and although I ran into this in the past. .I can no  longer find the option to use Jet4 without opening a file.. and I cannot open a file!

TIA
gary

Title: Re: MS Access 2013 and EAP files
Post by: bholtzman on September 07, 2017, 11:47:40 pm
Hi Gary,
I should check this more often (the emails go to my spam for some reason). Did you find a resolution? I find that I get these EAP files in the old format and to upgrade them, I load them into my circa-2004 Sony VAIO and use Access 2003 to convert them.

Bill