Author Topic: State machine diagrams in EA 14 and 14.1  (Read 651 times)

Martin Merkel

  • EA User
  • **
  • Posts: 78
  • Karma: +1/-0
    • View Profile
State machine diagrams in EA 14 and 14.1
« on: September 13, 2018, 05:24:32 am »
 Hello EA users,

I would be interested what other users think of the new rendering of state machine diagrams that Sparx Systems started to introduce with EA 14 and modified again with EA 14.1.
To me this rendering functionality constitutes a significant step backward when comparing it to how it was handled up to EA 13.5.
First, I do not only look at the modelling aspect, which is probably OK, but also at the final look of those diagrams as those that I create need to go into specification documents for an industrial communication protocol. They therefore need not only to be correct, but also easy to comprehend, and thats starts with a proper layout.
Now with EA 14, Sparx introduced some sort of automatism that restricts the freedom that users have with the layout. Sometimes with very strange effects. For example if I move a state to close to the left side of the SM frame, the height of the frame increases, for whatever reason.
Diagram details are rendered inside the SM frame, and cannot be placed outside. However I want those details only on the diagramming surface to see who created a model, or who modified it. Once final, I generate the documentation which puts only the SM frames into the PNGs and not the details anymore. With EA 14+ I have to explicitly switch off the details and update the diagram layout to recover the space that was reserved for the details (otherwise diagrams get easily to large for being included on an A4 page).
Another annoying aspect of the new rendering engine is that the frame background is rendered with a solid color, so I cannot see the diagram grid anymore. This is quite annoying when placing connector as they do not snap to the grid. It might be possible to swich this off, but I haven't found anything yet that would allow me to.
All in all I consider EA 14+ a move into the wrong direction that results in me sticking with EA 13.5 for the time being. I would however be quite interested in what other users think of these changes.

Greetings, Martin
« Last Edit: September 17, 2018, 08:40:47 pm by Martin Merkel »

Eve

  • EA Administrator
  • EA Guru
  • *****
  • Posts: 6830
  • Karma: +65/-7
    • View Profile
Re: State machine diagrams in EA 14 and 14.1
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2018, 06:40:22 pm »
I sympathize with your position.

I personally don't like having a diagram frame showing on my diagrams most of the time, and believe that the surface itself is the frame.

However, I also know that there are a lot of users who have previously thought EA incapable because they didn't see a frame.
e
Are you aware that you can disable the default diagram frame on State Machine and SysML diagrams with the context menu item when clicking on the diagram background?

You should be able to achieve something close to what you wanted by marking the diagram details as non-printable. This means that it is shown on the diagram, but not included in other situations including reporting.

Having said that, it sounds like some of what you are describing are bugs in what we have tried to do with the diagram frame. I think you'll find that at least some of them were corrected in EA 14.1.
Eve

support@sparxsystems.com

PeterHeintz

  • EA User
  • **
  • Posts: 817
  • Karma: +49/-17
    • View Profile
Re: State machine diagrams in EA 14 and 14.1
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2018, 12:06:39 am »
I am also not happy with those changes, as I have stated in a post before. I have lots of SysML diagrams, and for SysML having a Frame is standard. Especially when having parameters in activities you need something anyway.
Over the years I used to put some context information on my diagrams as well. To clearly separate context information from the real stuff, I have the context outside of the frame.
Now I need to use some other mechanism to separate the real stuff from the context information. I am pretty sure, that I will find another solution, this is not the point, but the new solution causes me to review all my diagrams, regarding understandable layout, and if you have lots, you start thinking if it is worth to switch to a new version.
I get the feeling, that Sparx is trying to make EA more standard compliant and so it seem that adding new features is not the outshining focus any more (what would be good!).
For sure there are issues to address to make EA more complied with OMG. However regarding the inside/outside frame issue, the standard is not absolutely clear. But anyhow, I ask myself who gets a real benefit (not formal benefit like “I belief that it complies with OMG”) from this new solution.
I cannot see any benefit at all, but changing stuff lasting many years, typically have some impacts, and for me heavy bad impacts for nothing is not a good thing.
Best regards,

Peter Heintz

Martin Merkel

  • EA User
  • **
  • Posts: 78
  • Karma: +1/-0
    • View Profile
Re: State machine diagrams in EA 14 and 14.1
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2018, 06:51:56 pm »
t still eludes me, why that was changed. To me, the new rendering engine brings no advantage, at least I do no see none. I like to see the FSA frame while I"m modelling, but that I had also before with 13.5 and earlier.



With 14 and 14.1 I only get a frame with solid background, I don't see the grid anymore, and the details are inside the frame and consume space that I could use more efficient if they were outside. All in all rather inconvenient.



Another odd thing that I spotted yesterday, when trying to drag the left edge of the Waiting state towards the left frame border, the width of the state increased ??



For the examples I  used build 1352 and 1427. Apart from the strange layout policy, there are still a lot of bugs in 14.1.