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The Feature Matrix

If you have created - or if you intend to create - a number of relationships between a pair of elements and their features, you can create and/or manage those relationships using the Feature Matrix. This is very similar to the main Relationship Matrix in Enterprise Architect, except that it is focused on two selected elements and shows the relationships for which the source and/or target  is an element attribute, operation or reception.

Prerequisites

In order to use this facility, you select two elements on an open diagram in Graphical view

At least one of the elements in the pair that you select must have attributes, operations and/or receptions (for relationships between an element and another element's features).

You cannot use this facility for more than two elements at a time; if you select more elements, only the first two selected are shown in the Matrix

Access

On the diagram, select (for example, Ctrl+click) the two elements and select the Feature Matrix using one of the methods in this table:

Ribbon

Design > Element > Feature Matrix

Context menu

Right-click on one of the selected elements and select the 'Show Elements Matrix' context menu option

Adjust Display

On the Feature Matrix, the 'Source' and 'Target' fields default to the names of the selected elements. You cannot change these two fields. However, you can modify which aspects of the relationship information are shown in the Matrix, by changing the settings on other fields.

Field/Option

Description

Type

These two fields identify the type of feature to display relationships for, in the Source and Target elements. In the illustration in the Access section, both fields are set to 'Attribute', so the matrix shows relationships between the attributes of the two elements.

To include or switch to the required type of feature, click on the drop-down arrow and click on '<All>', 'Attributes', 'Operations' or 'Receptions'.

Link Type

The 'Link Type' field indicates what kind of relationship is shown in the Matrix. To select the type of relationship to show, click on the drop-down arrow and click on the type. You can display relationships of all types (with the default <All> option) or a specific type - in the illustration, this is 'Abstraction'.

Direction

This field indicates the direction of the relationships shown on the Matrix. In the illustration, the field is set to 'Source -> Target and the matrix cells indicating a relationship show arrows pointing to the target feature. If you want to change the setting to show relationships created from the target to the source, or relationships that are in any direction, click on the drop-down arrow and select the 'Target -> Source' or 'Both' value. The relationship indicator arrows pointed towards the source and in both directions, respectively.

Refresh

If you have changed the diagram whilst displaying the matrix, click on this button to ensure that the changes are reflected in the matrix, where appropriate.

Options

Click on this button to display a short menu of options to capture the matrix settings as a profile, capture the matrix data as a file to export, or refine the information displayed in the matrix. See the Matrix Options table.

Create a new relationship

Step

Action

See also

1

In the 'Link Type' field, select the type of relationship you want to create, and in the 'Direction' field select the direction of the relationship(s) to create.

You can also refine the display to show only features of a specific type between which to create relationships, by setting the source and target types in the 'Types' fields.

2

Right-click on the empty square at the intersection of the appropriate source row and target column.

You can select and operate on several squares (creating several relationships) at once. Either:

  • Press Ctrl as you click on each intersecting square, then right-click on one of the selected squares, or
  • Click on the first square in the required row, column or block, then press Shift as you click on the final square in the required row, column or block; right-click on one of the selected squares

Note that if you click on a cell representing an existing connector, you can go through these steps to replace that connector with a different connector.

3

Select the 'Create new relationship' option.

If the 'Link Type' field is set to '<All>', the option is 'Create <direction>' and a further submenu displays listing the type of relationship you can create; in this case, click on the required type of relationship.

If, in addition, the 'Direction' field is set to 'Both', you have two options:

  • 'Create Source To Target' and
  • 'Create Target to Source'

Each option again displays a submenu of connector types.

Apply an Overlay to a Cell

4

A connector of the selected type is created between the two elements, and the appropriate indicator displays in the matrix cell.

Manage Relationships

If you right-click on a cell representing an existing connector, two additional options display:

  • 'View Relationship' - which displays the 'Properties' dialog for the connector, and
  • 'Delete Relationship', which prompts you to confirm the deletion; if you click on the Yes button the relationship is immediately removed from the model (not available if the 'Direction' field is set to 'Both')

Matrix Options

Click on the Options button to display the menu providing the options in this table.

Option

Description

See also

Matrix | Scale Setting

When you print the Feature Matrix, by default it prints on as many pages wide and long as the Matrix requires.

You can scale the printout into a fixed number of pages wide; the row height is automatically adjusted to maintain the proportions of the Matrix. This reduces the overall size of the printout and improves appearance, especially when used in conjunction with the 'Landscape' option in the printer properties. For example, a 16-page printout without scaling can, with a scaling of 2 pages wide, be reduced to 6 pages.

To set the page scaling:

  1. Click on the 'Matrix | Scale Setting' option. The 'Scale Matrix' dialog displays.
  2. Select the 'Scale Matrix Width into Pages' checkbox, and type or select the number of pages in width to scale to.
  3. Click on the OK button to apply the setting.

Matrix | Print

Select this option to display the 'Print' dialog, on which you select the output printer and specify the printer properties, the range of pages to print, and the number of copies.

The output is a WYSIWYG representation of the Feature Matrix contents.

Matrix | Save as Metafile

Select this option to save the matrix contents as a .emf  graphics file. A browser dialog displays on which you select the target file location and specify the filename in which to save the output.

You can incorporate this file in a document or web report, as either a hyperlinked file or an included file.

Matrix | Save as PNG

Select this option to save the matrix contents as a .png graphics file. A browser dialog displays on which you select the target file location and specify the filename in which to save the output.

You can incorporate this file in a document or web report, as either a hyperlinked file or an included file.

Matrix | Export to CSV

Select this option to export the contents of the Feature Matrix to a CSV file, which is a convenient mechanism for moving the matrix data to a spreadsheet environment such as Microsoft Excel.

The Windows 'Browser' dialog displays; browse to the required file location and type in a .csv filename to export to, then click on the Save button to export the data.

Profiles | Save as New Profile

If you use a particular combination of field values often, you can save that combination as a profile to make it easier to recall them for use.

Select this option to save the current field settings as a new profile in a Feature Mapping Artifact. A dialog displays to prompt you for the Artifact element name; enter the name and click on the OK button.

The profile is added to the diagram's parent Package as an <<EAFeatureMapping>> Artifact, and the profile name displays at the end of the 'Profiles' sub-menu.

Profiles | Update Current Profile

If you are using a profile and need to change one or more fields to a value you will continue to apply, you can update the profile with the change(s). When you select the option, the system displays a prompt to confirm that the profile has been changed.

Profiles | Delete Current

If you no longer want to keep a profile, select it and then select this option. Alternatively, right-click on the <<EAFeatureMapping>> Artifact in the Browser window and select the 'Delete <element name>' option.

Options

Click on this option to display the 'Feature Matrix Options' dialog, and select from these options:

  • Sort Axes - select the checkbox to display the feature names in each axis in alphabetical order
  • Highlight source features without relationships - select this checkbox to display, in pale blue, all cells in each row belonging to a source feature that has no relationships
  • Highlight target features without relationships - select this checkbox to display, in pale pink, all cells in each column belonging to a target feature that has no relationships

Click on the OK button to action the selected options.

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