Sparx Systems EA – new 7.5 features

Phil & Jean-GabI attended a session on the new Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect organized by my friends at Expert-IT. This time, I am in the audience and not presenting anything. Last time, I was showing Ivar Jacobson Essential Unified Process and EssWork. With the new 7.5 version, Sparx systems Enterprise Architect, there is a move further than structural code generation. From now on, STD, sequence, and activity diagrams can be used to generate code. In fact EA now moves into new ground: mindmapping, business processes modeling, org charts. For business users, BPMN is a good way to capture the processes in a strong repository. A forte of the tool is the traceability features. The fact that EA is based upon a strong relational repository helps tremendously on achieving that. Impact analysis is made easier. Also, business rules are now a first class citizen, more on that later. All artifacts|work products can be stored in the repository as well. EA 7..5 is a major release. No 8.0 yet but we can expect a lot more exciting characteristics end of year. New pricing, albeit still reasonable. What is new is that additional editions are available. Business and Software, Systems Engineering, Ultimate Edition. Since the customers attack larger problems with the tool, performance is improved for WAN communication. WAN optimizer is available as well as a lazy loading feature allowing to load data on an as needed basis. You'll need Pro for the lazy loading and Corp for WAN optimizer. On the Business Process modeling front, the beast can generate BPEL from BPMN 1.1 (get your acronym dictionary ready!). DoDAF, TOGAF, MODAF and Zachman Framework are included. There is also Archimate somewhere in the mix When UML is lacking, EA provides the missing pieces, a good point. MDG integration and MDG link are not the same things. About the Systems engineering edition now: SysML and simulation are in, and code generation to hardware languaged works: Verilog and friends. BPEL support takes the form of additional dialogs for example. BPEL is drawn in BPEL diagrams using the BPMN icons. Please stay aware that BPMN is for the 'what' of a process and BPEL is 'what' since we want to get XML for running inside a process engine. The new business rules system is on steroids: a fact model (a kind of class diagram allowing to capture facts that work with the new feature) is created and an 'orchestration' class is needed there. That special class then gets support from an associated ruleflow diagram for process-type rules (this time an activity diagram retooled a bit for BR support). Ruletasks are the activities there. Moving further, a business rule dealing with decisions is present and uses the elements of the fact model to author clean rules in a rule composer. Nice! Then code can be generated by the tool. This is clean and allows bridging the developers and the business analyst. When it comes to impact analysis, this is great. The challenge is to work at the right granularity level where the rules under modeling are going to offer a clear benefit/investment ratio. As always, model with a purpose. Maybe you want to do some simulation. Build and run is inside EA now, so, self containment is achieved. Another acronym: CTF is of use (Code Template Framework). Strategy Maps, Balanced scorecards, value chains. Flow charts, decision trees and orgcharts do complete the new features. This can move EA inside the boardroom in my view. Obviously as an output, not asking C-level people to draw them. But who knows... Scripting is now fully doable inside an EA code editor. And the files are part of the project if you want to do so. Great! Debugging is also available. VBscript and JavaScript are supported. Intellisense works and helps while navigating the object model of Enterprise Architect. An advanced math library is available. No clue on what it provides yet. More advanced wizardry with EA is available with MDG technologies. New toolboxes, items, ... The sky is the limit (well, as always do not confuse the means with the ends. Falling in love with tooling and ending up with a new addiction is not going to put bread on the table).