Following my previous article about Prolaborate 4.4, I tested the latest version 5.1 released in October.
Prolaborate 5 maintains the same user interface as Prolaborate 4, making it simple to upgrade from a user perspective.
- New Lifecycle Roadmap chart.
- Dynamic charts.
- Reports: columns filters, inline content editing, Excel export.
- Card Widgets: quick and easy overview of the repository or project data by highlighting business information or key metrics.
- Dashboards export/import.
- Rich Text Editor.
29/12/2023 update: a follow-up article on Prolaborate 5.2 is available.
Lifecycle Roadmap Chart
Lifecycle Roadmap is a new type of chart that shows an overview of the architectural artefacts' lifecycle. It provides a clear and concise view of the statuses over time, suitable to comply with the Application Portfolio Planning needs.
Prior to use this graph, new tagged values must be defined in Enterprise Architect to identify the date associated with each milestone according to the default list available in Prolaborate: Plan, Go Live, Active, Sunset, End of Life (this list can be modified).
I noticed these tagged values require updating the custom MDG by adding them to the stereotype. Note: it doesn't seem to be currently possible to use for instance the built-in ArchiMate standard in EA as manually added tagged values on existing elements cannot be configured with the Lifecycle Roadmap chart.
- Prerequisite: date type tagged values have been added to the Applications stereotype in the following custom demo MDG, within a new Roadmap group: Plan, Production Release, Active, Discontinued.
- Values have been updated against the applications in EA:
- The new version of the custom MDG Technology has been imported in Prolaborate (Modeling Languages menu).
- A new Lifecycle configuration has been created in Prolaborate for the "MyApplication" ArchiMate stereotype, associating the new tagged values with each roadmap status.
Creating the Lifecycle Roadmap graph in Prolaborate 5:
- A new Lifecycle Road Map graph widget has been added to the dashboard.
- The applications model branch has been selected.
- This graph is interactive i.e. a mouse hover highlights the active status and displays the period details.
- Clicking on an application opens its properties.
Note: the values must be consistent e.g. the Plan date must be set before the Go Live.
This graph is especially relevant for the Application Portfolio Management, and it illustrates the complementary purpose of Prolaborate web solution with Enterprise Architect modelling tool.
Most of the charts now integrate a drop-down list to update the graph content based on the selected tagged value, reducing the number of graphs that needs to be created within a dashboard.
Below is an example of the initial state of an ArchiMate Prolaborate demonstration dashboard: separate graphs were required to show the applications by Domain and by Vendor.
Thanks to this enhancement, I've been able to delete one of them, the remaining graph letting me choose the associated tagged value e.g. Domain, Vendor, Max users...
This enhancement will save a lot of time for Prolaborate admins in maintaining dashboards, and result in a simplified interface for users.
A new RTF editor is available to work with formatted text description, replacing the previous HTML editor.
- Existing dashboard HTML widgets have been automatically migrated to RTF widgets after the 5.1 update.
- A source button is available to access the HTML content.
Setting up a dashboard can be time consuming based on the number and complexity of widgets. It is now possible to export/import existing dashboards to enable the reuse, duplication, backup and transfer between environments (e.g. tests, production). This feature has been requested by users and is now available :)
It is very easy to use:
- Under the dashboards list, run the Export action.
- After selecting the export options, a zip file is generated and downloaded via the browser.
- This file can be imported to create a copy of the dashboard:
- Result: the dashboard has been duplicated (alternative: import the dashboard in a different environment).
In Prolaborate 3 it was possible to apply filters to run a search on a column's results. Unavailable in version 4, this feature has been added and improved in Prolaborate 5.1:
With Prolaborate 4, the content of a report can be exported using the CSV format, whereas the Excel export was available in Prolaborate 3. Prolaborate 5.1 supports the Excel export which is more convenient for users.
Report inline editor
An Edit mode is now available in the reports to allow a bulk update of fields with a user interface similar to a spreadsheet.
Note: only reports created with the builder support the Edit mode i.e. it is not yet available for query-based reports.
Once the report is displayed in full screen, the Edit mode can be enabled:
A simple click on the cell makes it possible to edit the field:
For the note fields, the RTF is available.
Once the changes are applied, the element field is updated in the repository. When the edit mode is disabled, it is possible to access the properties again.
This new type of widget provides an easy and efficient access to the key data of the repository through cards.
Creating a card widget involves selecting its type (count, sum, percentage, or text) and the model to use as the input data.
Example: number of ERP and CRM applications.
New widget :
Result (demo project):