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Messages - Richard Freggi

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Hello Balloons (hehe)
I hear this kind questions sometimes at work and essentially it can be summarized as "what is a better tool: a screwdriver or a hammer?
There's no way to answer unless you have a very clear of what you want to do with the tool.  I have seen people highly skilled at hammering screws on to walls and others very good at banging on nail heads with a screwdriver.  Yes it can be made to work but it is never a sensible idea.

So what do you need to do and have you decided how you are going to do it?

If you have a well defined system architecture and database schemas and you need to tell users what process to follow, then structured analysis (BPMN, flowcharts, Data Flow Diagrams etc) will be OK.  I don't know Blueworks and Aris but from their Wikipedia page they seem capable to support this.
Aris is used a lot with SAP implementation because regardless of what the consultant tells you, the ERP system and data architecture is pre-defined - it's OK to tweak it a bit using BPMN or the like.

If you need to define an integrated process-data-system architecture and you DON'T have a predefined solution that you can squeeze into your processes, then UML is by far the fastest, safest, most effective and cheapest way to do it.  Defining a data and system architecture based on BPMN or flowchart (structured analysis) opens the door to a world of hurt (which I see regularly in my job).  I have evaluated a few UML tools and Sparks is top for price/performance (and is fully capable to support a large enterprise effort).

The more you understand your needs and approach, the easier is tool selection.     

Good luck!

General Board / Re: Replace element
« on: June 24, 2018, 01:56:05 am »
You should be able to change the instance classifier of UML elements with right-click context menu in diagrams (why you can't do it in project explorer is beyond me).  So your element becomes an instance of some other classifier.
IIRC Ctlr-L works everywhere. But that works only for instances->classifier, not vice versa.


Good tip QWERTY!  Thanks!

General Board / Re: Deployment Diagram questions
« on: June 23, 2018, 01:07:12 pm »
Hello Casey

Deployment diagram is a structural diagram that shows what things you have and how they fit together.  A node is usually a physical thing - a metal box (server, switch, RAID array etc).  Metal boxes don't have behaviors besides maybe beeping and flashing lights.  They just sit there.
Nodes deploy artifacts that are usually binary files (executables, database instances etc.).  The files also pretty much sit there.

The best way to show how the system behaves is to use a behavioral diagram: in your case I suspect an interaction diagram (sequence or communication) would be best.

If you need to show some behavior information, business rule or constraint on the deployment diagram, the best practice is to add a good ol' text note to the diagram.

More info in "The unified modeling language reference manual" (Booch, Jacobson, Rumbaugh), or The elements of UML 2.0 style (Ambler)


General Board / Re: Replace element
« on: June 23, 2018, 12:47:55 pm »
You should be able to change the instance classifier of UML elements with right-click context menu in diagrams (why you can't do it in project explorer is beyond me).  So your element becomes an instance of some other classifier.

General Board / Re: Deployment Diagram questions
« on: June 22, 2018, 07:55:54 pm »
"We've been simply using a single node using a naming convention 'Cluster'<Type><RootName><Node1Name>/<Node2Name>/etc. So example ClusterAIXFluffA/B/C. However, there are times when we'd like to specify differences in node behavior in instances of the same cluster type. So ClusterAIXFluffA/B/C is a mirrored redundant set of nodes but ClusterAIXPeanutA/B/C has a primary node with two fail-over nodes. Our engineers need to know that a node failure on ClusterFluff is automatically handled and no special code needs to be written."

In my opinion the problem is that this is not information that should described in a deployment diagram.  There are other diagrams where you can describe classifier properties, behavior and interaction logic.

John, I think you are mixing up the Open Group (that manages the Archimate standard) and the Object Management Group (that manages the UML standard).  I suspect this is why you refer to the "Open Management Group" .

They are two separate and independent bodies, and Archimate and UML are not related besides the fact that you can mimic Archimate using UML's wonderful extensibility mechanisms (profiles and such).  And it's great that Sparx EA has the MDG mechanism to replicate Archimate functionality.

I won't get into the argument of why Archimate looks like UML (there be cans of worms!!!)

More info on Wikipedia

General Board / Re: Star Schema / Dimensional Database
« on: June 08, 2018, 10:42:41 pm »
*Drops monocle*
I thought star schema is just a style of schema implementable in any relational database?  Should be OK unless you need to forward engineer to a RDBMS that EA does not have DDL generation for

General Board / Re: Reusing a Use Case, generic or template?
« on: June 06, 2018, 11:24:17 pm »
Yes that one and when you finished it (a couple of afternoons max), "Applying use cases" by Schneider and Winters is a great next step.

By the way to the original poster: what you are describing below is best modeled via a sequence diagram
1 - System A sends request to System B
2 - System B validates request
3 - User gains access System B

What request is sent?  What classes are impacted by that message? What objects sent, what operations invoked?  How does that change your class diagram?  How about the validation?  That's where things get interesting.

General Board / Re: Reusing a Use Case, generic or template?
« on: June 05, 2018, 07:50:18 pm »
I only can recommend Bittner/Spence. Use case synthesis is a rather simple thing. But sometimes simple things are harder to understand than complex ones. IT people tend to analyze things and dissect them once they start with it. But UCs are just the other way around. I always see the same sort of questions (yes, I had them too in the beginning when working with UCs). The only remedy is to understand what UCs are good for. It's like teaching people Zen. So simple. So difficult.


What q. said.  Really good and easy book.

Learning how to model for the first time using EA is a bit like learning to drive by starting with an 18 wheel truck.  I usually recommend that people get the hang of modeling using the free Archi tool ( and then come over to EA once the basic principles are understood. You can even export your models from Archi and import them into EA when you are ready.  Clearly that works best when using Archimate, but it has really helped me help people get over the mental barrier between diagramming and modeling.

My experience is that if the modeler understands the notation and methodology, using the tool is not a challenge.  Most of the screw-ups are because the modelers try to do something the notation was never designed to do.  My experience is that heavy investment in training for notation (UML, Archimate, BPMN... pick your poison) and in methodology (what an artifact is and how it should be used) pays back in spades.  Then Sparx, Papyrus, Rational... you can spend an afternoon giving modelers the tool overview and then let them look up details in documentation as needed (usually Google works wonders).

Yes, I know that EA can't RE a DDL. Unfortunately there's no emphasis for irony/sarcasm in texts.


I didn't know that!  Not even the higher cost versions?  Don't open source tools like MySQLWorkbench do that already?  Me sees a feature request lurking somewhere......

I'm not an Oracle expert but any RDBMS should spit out the schema DDL code as a text file on request.  Then just run the DDL in EA to recreate the schema as a physical data model?

Hello Casey,
because of Visio, what you have is artwork, not artifacts.  No model consistency or metadata that you can really use.  You will have to clean up the artwork anyways before you can do anything useful with it, and the easiest/fastest/most accurate way to do it is right at import into EA.  My 2c is to bite the bullet and manually generate useful artifacts in EA using the artwork you have in Visio. 

General Board / Re: Step by step Guide
« on: May 19, 2018, 12:34:50 pm »
how you use EA to document requirements depends mostly on how you are going to use the requirements.  There are several good ways to do this...
If you are going to use the requirements to drive UML based software design or system architecture, then the book "Applying use cases" by G. Schneider and J. Winters is more than enough to get you on your way.  It's a very easy read.  Then it will be obvious what to do in EA.
Good luck!

Seems like Release 14 is late, buggy and nobody really asked for it, so it seems to me like it's as Agile as you can get!!!

..... sorry it's been a long nasty week, I'll see myself out...... 

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