Value-added services for Sparx Enterprise Architect
Drawbacks of Ignoring the Future
Many believe formal requirements analysis and system design are the unavoidable evil conducted solely for giving some eye-services to those guys in the suits who only use Word. Also, many think testing should be not much more than some not-so-skilled programmers clicking here and there on the day before shipping. And the worst, sometimes this is the reality.
Though lots of people like talking about following methodologies in software development, only a few of them understands: a methodology is a series of transformations helping to turn a vision into reality using best practices, and software engineering tools play the roles of the drawing board and the measure.
Creating brief requirements specifications and software design diagrams in Excel or Word would only be time-wasting if requirements or design conditions would never change. But hell, they do! And this is the precious point where Office-based analysts and engineers fall into fatal trouble: it would take ages to find what to modify in the documents and it would take some more ages to redraw all the diagrams with Word’s drawing tools.
Create static content, develop free-form requirements and draw your diagrams using drawing tools, and you’ll soon find yourself in dead-end.
Bits of the Big Picture
The Role of the CASE Tools
Sustainable Software Development
Having a suitable tool, however, dedicated to software engineering (called CASE tool, standing for Computer Assisted Software Engineering) enables analysts and engineers to stay organized and to keep requirements and design up-to-date. In a modern CASE tool, things you see on diagrams are only instances of visual representations of one or other model element. A requirement, a class or a connection is a set of data with a lot of valuable information behind, and only a few of those data is displayed in a view. In another view, you can display other data of the same model element. You can have a diagram detailing the attributes of a class and another putting it into context by displaying related classes. Change the name of the class, and the change will automatically and immediately be reflected in each view. Indicate a requirement affects another, and when requirements change, run a simple report to see what other requirements may be affected, and track down what elements of implementation may need reconsideration. Provide a detailed user scenario to your stakeholder to accept, and give it to your developer to implement and, finally, give it to your tester to make sure, the developer created what the customer wanted. And if a scenario changed, each relevant party will be kept up-to-date.
With experience had gained in recognized CASE tools like the Rational product family or Visio, we have chosen Sparx Enterprise Architect (EA for short), which is a complete solution for all the software engineering needs with far the best cost/value ratio and with a ROI of a few months. Enterprise Architect is an easy-to-use modeling and code generation tool, supporting several major standards like the latest versions of UML, BPMN, SysML and Scrum, as well as many other notation initiatives and technologies. Rich code generation and synchronization features can help to keep source code and model in sync for a wide range of technologies, like Microsoft .NET, Java, popular RDBMS products and so on.
Though the best capability of EA is, based on our experience, its powerful framework enabling you to customize and extend functionality you need.
Want to get an ad-hoc report? Compose a custom query on the user-friendly interface, or write SQL queries with auto-completion support or put a script together to get what you want.
Want to get a custom document? Assemble it in the template editor and regenerate the documents with one-click when the model changes.
Want to introduce custom stereotype notation, or even display custom data on shapes to simplify understanding? No problem.
Need to adjust the bits of the generated source code or DDL script, want to use specific implementation techniques like auto properties, or want to gain control over how a logical model transforms to language-specific implementational model or logical data model? Again, powerful tools lay at your command.
How Can We Help with Enterprise Architect?
Apart from using EA for pure modeling, we have the knowledge to support deployment and customization of Enterprise Architect in small and enterprise environments as well. Imprestige offers the following services related to EA:
Setting up environment.
Connecting to version control systems, using distributed repository or setting up other means of collaboration.
Defining notations and information shown for custom stereotypes.
Developing scripts and GUI-based extensions for reporting, bulk manipulation (like type-aware and prefix-based sequence numbering) or complex searches.
Creating templates for easy and meaningful reporting.
Creating model searches to find things easily.
Customizing model transformation templates and code generation templates.
Bundling bits of functionality mentioned into deployable MDA technologies.
Plus all the services mentioned in Development Methodology Consulting.
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