[Enterprise Architect] #8. Enterprise Architect Usage Basics

Hello, this is Danappa, a system engineer.

Today we will cover the basics of using EA (Enterprise Architect). This content is based on the EA Guide Book provided by Sparx Systems, especially the ‘Enterprise Architect Modeling Tutorial’, and is a compilation of the knowledge I have learned through various experiences. Currently I am using ‘EA 16, Unified Edition’.

Through this post, I hope to help you understand the basic functions of EA and how to use it. EA is a powerful tool for designing and managing complex systems, allowing you to effectively address many aspects of systems engineering.


In EA, a project is either a single file containing one or more models, or a Repository based Store. This means that when you create a project, the relational database is also created. This database stores and manages all elements, diagrams, and relationships created during modeling work. Diagrams visually represent modeling elements stored in the database.

A new project can be created by clicking ‘Start Page’ → ‘Personal Project’ → ‘Create New’ or selecting ‘New Project’ from the EA icon at the top left of the screen. You can choose between .qea, .qeax, and .feap as file formats. As beginners, we recommend choosing .qea format to create your project. .qea is mainly used as a project file, .qeax for data exchange and backup, and .feap for projects using LocalDB.

This image shows how to create a new project in basic Enterprise Architect Usage

When you create a new project, you can see that ‘Model’, the Root-Node, has been created in ‘Browser’. A Package (or View) must be located under the Root-Node, and the actual modeling elements are included within this Package.

  • Packages can be created using the folder-shaped icon in the browser. Alternatively, you can right-click on the parent package and select “add-Package” from the menu that appears, or you can create it through “Design Ribbon → Package Panel → Add Package.” Personally, I feel that creating a package in the browser is more intuitive, so I mainly use this method.
  • When you click the folder-shaped icon, the “New Package” menu will appear, where you can set the Owner (the object that will contain the new package) and name, select Initial Content, and press OK to create the package. If Initial Content is set to ‘Package Only’, only a package is created, and necessary items can be added later.
  • By clicking the star icon on the folder, you can automatically create packages according to the pattern provided by EA. Icons without an asterisk allow you to create the package manually. As an exercise, let’s click on the starred folder icon. Then the ‘Create from Pattern’ menu will appear.
  • In this case, select ‘SysML 1.5 Project Structures → Basic MBSE Project’ and click the ‘Create Model(s)’ button to create a package tree. (Note, I left only SysML in ‘Technology’ and ‘Perspective’, so only SysML appears in the pattern.)
  • After the packages are created, you can explore how EA works by clicking on various functions and components. In particular, if you open the ‘Model Guide Package Diagram’ within ‘Model Guide Package’, you can see that the sub-packages of ‘Basic MBSE Project Package’ are organized like a menu bar.
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  • Double-clicking on these packages opens each ‘Package Diagram’, which is an example of utilizing EA’s ‘Navigation Cell’ function.
  • You can use this function by selecting ‘Navigation Cell’ from ‘Select Type’ in the menu that appears when entering another package on the browser into ‘Package Diagram’ by dragging and dropping.
  • This allows you to quickly navigate to other packages via direct links within the diagram, which can be very useful, especially in large projects.
  • View is the highest level package within the model and is used to focus analysis on specific parts or concerns of the system under development. Views use various types of icons, such as Use Case View, Dynamic, Class View, Component, Deployment, and Package, to indicate their purpose.
  • For example, the ‘Structural View’ shows the structural aspects of the system, the ‘Behavioral View’ shows how the system operates, and the ‘Data View’ shows the data flow. Each of these views is an important tool for analyzing and understanding the system from various angles.
  • When designing a package structure in EA, it is effective to structure it in the following order: ‘Root-Node → View → Package’. For example, it can be configured in the following way: ‘Model Name’ (Root-Node) → ‘Engineering View’ (View Name) → ‘MBSE Project’ (Package Name).
  • Views can be created in various ways, such as ‘Production-related View’, ‘Functional Safety View’, ‘Cyber Security View’, and ‘Material Cost View’, which supports effective communication by extracting only the parts of interest to each stakeholder in the system. do.
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  • A diagram is a visual representation of the elements of a model, showing the properties and characteristics of the elements and indicating connections and interactions between the elements. Different types of diagrams allow you to view the relationships between different aspects and elements of your model in detail.
  • To create a diagram, first select Package or View in the browser window. Next, right-click at the top of the browser → ‘Add Diagram’, or use the ‘Design Ribbon’ → ‘Diagram’ → ‘Add Diagram’ menu to open the ‘New Diagram’ menu.
  • When creating a diagram, select the package in which the diagram will be added in ‘Package’ and enter the name of the diagram in the ‘Diagram’ field. Click on the ‘Select From’ header to select the ‘Perspective Group’ and ‘Perspective’ appropriate to the area you are working in.
  • The panel below the header displays a list of diagram groups. Since our interest is SysML, we choose SysML. Then, you can select from 9 diagrams supported by SysML in ‘Diagram Types’. For example, click to create a ‘Block Definition Diagram (BDD)’. A BDD diagram will be created as shown in the image below.
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  • A model consists of elements with meaning, rules, and notations, which are usually used in diagrams. The simplest way to add elements to a diagram is to create them directly on the diagram.
  • For practice, let’s create a ‘Block’ element in the BDD created earlier. You can create an element at the desired location on the diagram by clicking the icon in the Toolbox. (Another method is to use ‘Design’ → ‘Element Panel’ → ‘Add Element Ribbon’.)
image 44
  • If you create a ‘Block’ on the BDD using Toolbox, it will be displayed as shown in the image above. Elements created on a diagram are included in the package that owns the diagram.
  • If you want to modify the properties of the element, you can click on the element and edit it in the ‘Properties’ window. (If the ‘Properties’ window is not visible, click ‘Start’ → ‘All Windows Panel’ → ‘Properties’ → ‘Properties’.)

Note:

  1. If you want to create multiple elements of one type, you can use ‘Shift + F3’ or ‘Ctrl + left mouse click’ after creating the first element. In general, ‘Ctrl + left mouse click’ is more convenient.
  2. After clicking on the diagram screen, press the ‘Spacebar’ (or ‘Ctrl + Right-click’) to display the ‘Toolbox Shortcut’ menu. This method is useful when you want to utilize screen space more efficiently and look more professional during the modeling process.
  • Connectors define specific relationships between elements. This can be created directly on the diagram by selecting a relationship type from the diagram toolbox. The toolbox automatically provides the connector or relationship type that matches the current diagram type.
  • As an example, let’s add ‘Actor1’ to the BDD, select one of the ‘Relationships’ tools, and connect the two elements (‘Block1’ and ‘Actor1’) with a connector.
image 45
  • You can add a ‘Bending Point’ by ‘Ctrl + left mouse clicking’ on the ‘Line’ of the connector. To delete a ‘Bending Point’, simply press ‘Ctrl’ and click on that point. When you click on a connector, you can modify its properties in the ‘Properties’ window.
  • To save the diagram after modifying it, you can use ‘Ctrl + S’, right-click → ‘Save Current Changes’, or ‘Layout’ → ‘Diagram’ → ‘Save’. EA can run into unexpected problems, so it’s a good idea to get into the habit of using ‘Ctrl + S’ frequently to constantly save your work.

Learning how to use EA to connect connectors and save diagrams will increase the efficiency and reliability of your modeling process. In the next post, we will go into more detail about how these processes can be used to perform complex modeling tasks.

  • Copy: When you copy a specific element from a diagram and paste it into another diagram, the element is pasted as a link. When copying a specific element from the browser and pasting it into a diagram, the Paste Popup window appears, where you can select the type to paste.
  • When you want to create a separate element with the same properties as the type of a specific element, right-click the element in the browser, select ‘Copy → Full Structure for Duplication’, and paste it.
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  • When deleting an element or connector, use the ‘Delete’ key. However, if you want to permanently delete an element from the model (Repository), you must delete it in the browser. Deleting an element from a diagram with the ‘Delete’ key simply does not display the element in the diagram.
  • When deleting a relationship, click the relationship on the diagram where the relationship is displayed, then press the ‘Delete’ key and select ‘Hide’ (hide only in the diagram) or ‘Delete’ (delete within the model) in the ‘Remove Connector’ pop-up window. do.
  • If it is difficult to go to the diagram one by one and delete it, you can right-click a specific element in the browser window and check all links associated with that element through ‘Properties → Properties → Related → Links’ and right-click to delete them.
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This concludes the basic usage guide for Enterprise Architect. The next post will continue this post and cover more basic usage of Enterprise Architect.


[Enterprise Architect] #15. Documentation & HTML

[Enterprise Architect] #14. Trace, Relation, Navigation, composition

[Enterprise Architect] #13. Project Browser, Focus Window

[Enterprise Architect] #12. Other useful functions when creating diagrams

[Enterprise Architect] #11. Useful functions of the Layout menu

[Enterprise Architect] #10. Diagram views

[Enterprise Architect] #9. Enterprise Architect Usage Basics 2

[Enterprise Architect] #7. EA Modeling Component

[Enterprise Architect] #6. Publish Ribbon

[Enterprise Architect] #5. Layout Ribbon

[Enterprise Architect] #4. Design Ribbon

[Enterprise Architect] #3. Start Ribbon

[Enterprise Architect] #2. Organizing your EA work Desktop

[Enterprise Architect] #1. File Management & Explore Panel

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