Introducing Enterprise Architect 13.5

Webinar June 2017
In this session, we'll demonstrate:
  • New collaborative modeling support for web and mobile users
  • Pro Cloud Server and team-based model reviews
  • New diagramming and visualization tools

Join us for a preview of the Enterprise Architect 13.5 release. Sparx Systems staff will share insights on the major collaborative modeling enhancements and highlight some of our favorite features in the new release.

Ben Constable Ben Constable

Scott Hebbard Scott Hebbard

Questions from the Audience

Click on a question to see the answer.

General

When will Enterprise Architect 13.5 be released officially?

It is due for release imminently. Currently, the beta version is available for download at: http://sparxsystems.com/ea135

Does 13.5 make any changes to the [model repository’s] database schema?

No.

How does the upgrade path work if you have Enterprise Architect 13.0 or earlier?

You’ll simply download and run the installer from our Enterprise Architect release page. The installer will replace your existing Enterprise Architect installation.

Note: Because the 13.5 release is currently in a Beta phase, we strongly recommend using it only within a non-production environment.

Can you install Enterprise Architect 13.5 alongside an older version?

Yes. See our response to a similar question from an earlier release of Enterprise Architect.

Is there a database to review previous sessions on Enterprise Architect?

You can view past webinars from our Webinar Library.

Is there a possibility to download and test version 13.5 [Beta], via the registered users site?

The Beta version is now available for download from the registered users site. As usual, we will make the official release available for download from there as well. You can access the version 13.5 installers from the following web pages:

Team Modeling and Shared Model Repositories

The demo shows collaboration between several parties. How must Enterprise Architect be installed and what requirements are there for the project file to use this collaboration functionality?

The two main requirements are a model repository that supports multiple users and Enterprise Architect Corporate edition, which allows you to connect to such a repository with role-based (user) security enabled. For details, see the Help topic Team Support and its subtopics.

[Regarding sending a message to a specific user about a modeling error found during a review] How do you know who is responsible for that part of the model?

Packages and individual elements in Enterprise Architect have an Author field. In team-based modeling scenarios in which role-based security is used, the Author field is fill in automatically when a user creates a new element in the model.

How can we integrate users taking into account specific configurations such as LDAP, security, etc., that is already in place within organizations?

Currently the only method of integration with other sources of user information is via the Active Directory import function provided as part of Enterprise Architect’s Role-based (User) Security. For details, see the Help topics Import User IDs From Active Directory and Maintain Groups.

The Design review-response you just demonstrated, is it within an internal or external cloud?

We used a third-party cloud service to deploy the instance we demonstrated, but you can don’t have to do this. Either your own private cloud infrastructure, or a third-party provider with an external cloud are both supported.

Are previous versions on the elements read-only?

No, they can be edited and updated.

It seems the entire [model and] review discussion is stored in the same modeling repository. Is it possible to manage them in separate repository, which would mean I have two different repositories (for the model itself and another for the discussion), and then link the discussion to the model in certain ways?

No.

How can I make sure that my model mail is also sent to the exchange mailbox of my user?

Currently, this is not supported.

Please show again the slide with the Pro Cloud Server access.

You can access a read-only model on a Pro Cloud Server via the URL:
http://demo.sparxpublic.com

Model: EA Example

If you store the model in an on-premises database and then you share the link over the WebEA, is it possible for the end user beyond the network to see the modeling content?

Only if the end user has HTTP access to the server that hosts your WebEA instance. The model content is shared via HTTP.

[Regarding Model Mail] Many of these items are grayed out. For example, when going into Model Mail, the create message (envelope) is grayed out.

It is most likely because you have not enabled Role-based (User) Security for your project. For details, see the Help topics User Security and Enable/Disable Security.

Does WebEA work with a server-based model, for example a Firebird repository?

Yes. Firebird is one of numerous DBMS products that can be used as a model repository for both WebEA and Enterprise Architect. For a full list of supported DBMS products, see the Enterprise Architect System Requirements web page.

In which countries are the localized data centers for Pro Cloud?

Sparx Systems has some demonstration Pro Cloud Server instances on servers residing in Australia, UK and USA among others. We support and encourage you to run your own Pro Cloud Server instances within your own network to maximize the control and security of your data.

Is there an easy way to delete all the review posts and model mail? We release the model (EAP file) to various customers for reference and don’t want them to see all of that internal discussion.

Much of it can be removed by disabling user security in the copied model. For details, see the Help topic Enable/Disable Security.

Product Feature Set and Licensing

Can you talk about which WebEA and collaboration features can be used with an on-premises EA 13.5 license?

All of the features that we demonstrated in this webinar presentation are available with on-premises (on-prem) installations of Enterprise Architect. Furthermore, with the exception of WebEA, all features we demonstrated are available in the Corporate and higher editions of Enterprise Architect; to use WebEA, you need a separate Pro Cloud Server license. You can then deploy a Pro Cloud Server instance within your own corporate cloud/server infrastructure, or it could be deployed within a third-party cloud offering.

Are these features available also for standard EAP and DB server repositories? It is not clear, if the presentation is related to Pro Cloud only

Yes, the features we demonstrated are available when using DBMS server repositories, with the exception of the WebEA interface. WebEA is only available with the Pro Cloud Server. Also note: You typically wouldn’t use an EAP file as a repository for multiple users to share simultaneously.

Is WebEA only available in the cloud version or can it be used on stand alone installations?

WebEA is part of the Pro Cloud Server. It is not included with stand alone installations of Enterprise Architect.

Can Pro Cloud Server be installed in-house?

Yes.

Will the non-Pro Cloud version of Cloud Server still be available?

Yes, we intend to update the Cloud Server with bug and security fixes.

Does WebEA ship with the Enterprise Architect 13.5 or is it a specific product?

WebEA is separate. It comes with the Pro Cloud Server, which is a separately licensed server-based product for use with Enterprise Architect.

Is Pro Cloud Server an additional product or contained in the Ultimate edition license?

It is an additional product. It is not contained in the Ultimate edition license. For Pro Cloud Server pricing details, see the Special Offer web page.

Is there a version of Pro Cloud Server for a single consultant, who works in various places on multiple systems?

No. The pricing for Pro Cloud Server is listed on a per-server basis. You may be interest in the special offer currently available for Pro Cloud Server. For details see the Special Offer web page.

I assume storage of designs and reviews etc in WebEA is costed into the subscription cost?

No. Sparx Systems licenses Pro Cloud Server software (which includes WebEA), but does not provide hosting services. If you use a third-party hosting solution or cloud platform, that would be a separate cost that does not involve Sparx Systems. Obviously, if you deploy Pro Cloud Server within your own server infrastructure there is no additional fee beyond the Pro Cloud Server license, for hosting or storing models and reviews.

Is it possible to have multiple users accessing and working on a project at the same time?

Yes, our Corporate and higher editions of Enterprise Architect support this.

Review Elements and Discussions

Are review and discuss options available in a shared database solution?

Yes.

Does the item added to the review remain in the review at the configuration status it started with? For example, if the model changes, is the baseline for the review kept intact?

The review does not create a copy of the element. If you are interested in this kind of functionality, you could use time aware modeling, and include a particular version of an element in the review.

Is it possible to create tasks from a review or assign tasks to a review?

Yes. A Review, like other elements in Enterprise Architect, can have tasks assigned to it directly or have task elements associated with it. For details, see the Help topics Resource Allocation and Project Resources.

Do we have Outlook mail integration for sending the review comments?

Not at this time.

How can I make sure that my model mail is also sent to the Exchange mailbox of my user?

Currently, this is not supported.

I am interested in how statistics about reviews are recorded - review statistics, such as ratio of review effort / errors found.

You will probably need to record this information explicitly. If you use Resource Allocations, however, you could investigate the use of Charts in Enterprise Architect with a custom SQL query to extract the required information. For details, see the Help topic Charts.

Can we export and import the Model Reviews package, as we can do for other packages?

Yes, you can use XMI to export and import packages that contain Review elements. Note: Even though our example model used a package named Model Reviews to contain Review elements, it is not required that you do the same; you can place Review elements anywhere in the model hierarchy.

You should also note that although you can use XMI to export and import packages that contain Review elements, there is not currently an export or import mechanism for the actual review data, such as topics, posts and replies.

Enterprise Architect treats Review information as metadata associated with the model itself; it is not owned by the elements that are being discussed. This allows you to discuss locked and version controlled elements effectively.

Is it possible to see the link between the model and discussions [Review elements] from the Relationship matrix?

No. The link is implicit. Review elements are only linked to – that is they form a Review Set with – other model elements by virtue of those elements appearing on the child diagram of a Review element. For example, this image shows that the packages Application Design and Requirements and the element named Book Lending Application are all part of a Review Set. That Review Set belongs to the Review element named Book Lending Solution Design Review.

The Review element's child diagram determines which elements are part of the Review Set

What happens to update the repository when the review process is terminated? Version management? Baseline vs evolution?

When the review is completed, you would just leave that review element and the associated diagrams alone. You could lock them to prevent further changes. If you need to do a similar review in the future you would create a new review element.

Is there any difference between the model review [element] and the Model Mail feature – it seems they are similar, in that we can add a link to the model for discussion?

The Review element with its associated Manage Reviews window and the Model Mail feature provide different and complementary functions. Whereas a message via Model Mail is great for communicating with a known set of recipients and alerting them to changes at a particular point in time, the Review element can be observed by different parties at any time. Team members can join and leave the discussion as appropriate, and any contribution they make to the discussions or reviews will be visible to a potentially large audience, indefinitely. This is obviously not possible with a Model Mail message, which requires a targeted unchanging audience, defined by the author at the time of composing the message.

Are you able to review geodatabase design or BABOK artifacts in design review via WebEA?

Yes. There is no restriction on the type of models that you can view or comment on via WebEA.

Although doing reviews of solutions is a good thing, where is the capability [for an enterprise architect] to see how many reviews were done last week, with what results? Where can we store standards, how does this tool interact with a portfolio management tool, etc.?

Although the example we used involved the review of a specific solution for the Book Lending system, Enterprise Architect’s Review elements can be applied at any level within the model repository. The Review could be on a business process, a top-level package that represents an entire enterprise architecture view, a third-party industry reference model, etc.

Regarding a report on how many reviews were conducted last week and their results, the Manage Reviews window provides a list of all reviews in the model, showing the start and end dates and review status among other fields. We will consider making these fields sortable in future as well. Because each Review is an element in the model, the results can be conveniently stored and displayed via the element’s notes field or as part of a document that is stored with that element in the repository. This image shows an example of the Manage Reviews window providing a summary, and the Notes window displaying results that were entered into the Review element’s Notes field.

The Manage Reviews window provides a summary recent reviews their status, start and end dates.

Regarding standards: There are many ways to incorporate these into the model repository, depending on the nature of the standard. For example, there are numerous industry reference models that are already developed in Enterprise Architect (for power networks, geospatial data, telco, etc), so you can directly include those reference models as part of your own corporate model repository. For internal corporate standards, you might use Enterprise Architect’s built-in Document Artifacts to store them, or drop office documents directly into the repository.

Integration with Portfolio Management tools is not provided out-of-the-box, though you might use a third-party extension or add-in for Enterprise Architect to achieve this.

Can you manipulate each individual comment or post?

No. Once a post has been submitted, it cannot be edited – only deletion is possible.

Navigation Cells

Is it, or will it be, possible to choose a custom image for the navigation cell?

At the moment, this has been limited to the set already provided, using one of the themes available.

Are the image manager images available for images on navigation cells, or can we provide our own images?

Not at this time. The only images that can be used as icons for Navigation Cells are those listed in the Select Image dialog which displays when you first create the Navigation Cell, or later when you invoke the context menu: Appearance | Select Navigation Image.

Time Aware Modeling

After you clone a certain package and apply modifications to it, is it possible to merge all the changes from all the clones (1.0, 1.1, 1.2, etc) into a new baseline package, such as Application Design 2.0?

Not in an automated way. You would need to manually merge variants.

[Regarding Time Aware Modeling] Can nested elements be manipulated individually?

Not really. When you make a change to the nested element, that implicitly changes the parent element.

Specific Feature Requests

Is it possible to have an attribute (or tag field) for a requirement whose value is inherited by connected requirements? So the attribute value can be cascaded up or down a tree structure of requirements. (In reality we only need this to be a boolean value attribute.)

It depends on how your Requirements are connected. Currently, tagged values can be inherited using a generalization connector between elements. This allows the value to be displayed on all subtypes until overridden. This functionality, however, isn't available for other types of relationship. If you need something like this for other relationship types, it may be achievable via a custom add-in for Enterprise Architect.

When you right-click an object and choose insert related elements and choose one or all related elements, all objects will be moved to the left or right corner. Has this been addressed in version 13.5?

At the bottom of the Insert Related Elements dialog, there is a check box labeled Layout Diagram when complete. You can enable that option prior to clicking OK.

Will you be making Enterprise Architect Mac native soon?

There are no near-term plans for this. However we find that Enterprise Architect running via Wine or its commercial counterpart, CodeWeavers CrossOver, performs very well. For installation instructions, please see our web page on installing Enterprise Architect on Linux and Mac.

Are there any enhancements to the XML schema functionality?

Not at the time of presenting this webinar.

Can we link to our avatars in MS Lync? We potentially have several hundred people who might need to refer to and comment on models.

Not currently.

I have been working with a Pro Cloud Server demo and I've noticed that a BPMN activity that is a Composite does not open the linked diagram using WebEA. Is this by design or a bug?

You should contact our support team directly by raising a support ticket. You could do that from within Enterprise Architect via the Start Ribbon | Help | Explore Online Resources | Bug Report Page, which will invoke our registered users support page. Our support team would need some more details, such as the screen or controls you have tried and perhaps a small sample model to confirm or reproduce this issue.

You showed the Traceability window. This is one of the most potentially useful features as far as impact analysis and reporting goes. Except that you cannot export or print its contents... Has this been rectified in version 13.5? If not, what is thinking behind this? Are there any alternatives that do not require vast amounts of scripting (which for business users like me means programming)?

There isn’t a reporting mechanism from the Traceability window along the lines of what you suggested. It’s purpose is primarily for exploring the model dynamically via connected elements, which can certainly be in the context of impact analysis, as you suggest. It is not intended as a documentation tool however. That said, we recommend using Enterprise Architect's reporting templates - not scripting - to do this kind of reporting on connected elements. It is true, this does require some detailed configuration, rather than a click-and-go kind of approach. You might like to review some of our previous webinars on reporting:

With no Project Browser in the Pro Cloud view [WebEA], how do you access an element directly, especially when not all elements are visualized on diagrams? The lack of the Project Browser is no problem if a package page included links to all elements in that package (as implied visually when you drag a package element onto a diagram as a List). Will version 13.5 do this? If not, must I assume that the modeling paradigm is: Every element must be on a diagram and access is always top-down via diagrams (rather bottom up via libraries/packages)?

Regarding WebEA, we understand the concern about finding elements that don't exist on any diagram. There are various modeling scenarios where this situation occurs. Fortunately, in WebEA each package does provide links to its contained elements, regardless of whether those elements are in a diagram. There is in fact a simple way to navigate the model as a hierarchy in WebEA - it just doesn't provide the full tree view that you have in the desktop application. If you click the 'element branch' or 'hierarchy' icon top right of screen in WebEA, you can drill down from the top-level package to lower level packages. If there is a child diagram for the selected package, it will display that diagram in the contents view on the left side.

There is another icon next to the 'hierarchy' button to toggle that display so that all child nodes of the package, such as diagrams, elements and sub-packages, are displayed. So navigating the model hierarchy without placing elements on a diagram is certainly possible in WebEA. It means using more simplistic controls than a fully-fledged tree view though. Especially for review purposes and convenient navigation for web/mobile users, the visual Navigation Cells serve a useful purpose here.