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Monday, 22 May 2017 22:37

Feedback on the EA User Group London 2017 - part 1 (training day)

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EA User Group London 2017

This year's EA User Group was the first time it was run with an optional extra day of training from Sparx Systems training partners. It was followed by the traditional day of presentations from EA experts and users.

This is the first part of my feedback on the EAUG London 2017 event, covering the training day which took place on Thursday, May 18th.

London EAUG 2017 training day

As shown on the following agenda, the training day was split into 2 sessions of 3 hours with a choice between 3 topics.

ea user group london 2017 training day agenda

Where I would have liked to follow more training sessions as I had identified several interesting and useful topics, I ended up attending the following ones:

  • Advanced Document Generation from Geert Bellekens
  • ArchiMate 3 with EA 13 from Gillian Addens (Hippo Software)

Advanced Document Generation training

Having mainly used eaDocX or custom tools to generate Word documents from EA models over the past couple of years, I was interested in finding out about the current state of Sparx Enterprise Architect 13 built-in documentation generator. I had no doubt that a training session from Geert would be thorough and practical.

Where Geert implemented in the past custom solutions based on scripts, it was interesting to find out his current view on Enterprise Architect as a flexible enough solution for complex documentation requirements. To illustrate this, a graph reprensented the documents complexity and the associated required skill level according to each alternative amongst EA standard documentation tool, eaDocX, and custom scripting solutions.

A recurring scenario that I have also experienced when generating specifications from EA models is that we start with an EA expert defining templates. Then guidelines and training are provided to one or two designated users in charge of generating documents from the models for the project or company.

Geert's training was very useful to learn or get an updated understanding of how EA documentation generation works (and it's not simple) including stylesheets, templates, cover pages, and virtual documents. I discovered available EA features to cater for advanced documentation needs via templates, scripts and SQL fragments. Geert shared a real-life example involving generating specifications with both French and Dutch content inside a 2 column table for each use case based on HTML tags added in their notes' field.
Most of this training is shared via Geert's site here:

Archimate 3 with Enterprise Architect 13

Having learnt Open Group's ArchiMate 2 before, I was looking forward to get an update with ArchiMate 3, available since Sparx EA 13.

Gillian training session was very interesting and nice to follow. In addition to learn about ArchiMate 3 principles, Gillian led us through step by step exercices to achieve a consistent modelling project. Any new ArchiMate element created on the business, application or technical layer had to be defined within an appropriate location of the ArchiMate library model.

We started with the definition of the ArchiMate business actors and roles according to the organisational structure and responsabilities. Aggregation links between elements within a structure was highlighted as applicable throughout layers.
We moved on assigning business actors to roles. The elements' default rectangle notation had to be disabled which led to a useful script shared here when dealing with several elements within an ArchiMate diagram.

Whilst adding further ArchiMate elements to the library, we used the ArchiMate Views model to represent or document elements and their relationships e.g. a hierarchy of business actors and their assigned roles via the Organization view. I already came across this good practice with UML where elements are located in a separate model from views and diagrams. We also covered traceability and associations needs between elements from the same layers or from different ones.

At the end of the training, the layered view led to a representation from business actors to system software via all intermediate elements including business processes, application services and components. This is particularly useful for impact analysis or to reviewredundant applications that provide the same services.

Other covered Sparx EA topics included:

  • relationships matrix;
  • tagged value types to add properties e.g. to Application Components (with the alternative of defining them via UML profiles);
  • project templates;
  • heat map;
  • technology roadmap.

Click here to access the second part of my feedback on the EA User Group London 2017 covering presentations from Sparx EA users and experts.