Let’s suppose you have an idea for a new software product. Because the product is fairly complex you know that the right course of action is to design its architecture upfront. How do you approach this task? If you value your time and want to achieve the best results possible, you should consider Sparx Enterprise Architect, a visual modeling and design tool that covers all aspects of the development cycle and provides full traceability from the initial design phase through to deployment, maintenance, testing, and change control.
What Is Sparx Enterprise Architect?
Sparx Enterprise Architect is a full lifecycle UML-based modeling tool that’s used for the planning, design, and construction of software-intensive systems and business processes. Developed by Sparx Systems, an Australian software company founded by Geoffrey Sparks in 1996, Enterprise Architect is available in four different editions (the introductory Professional version, the Corporate team-based edition, richly provisioned Unified edition, and finally the Ultimate edition), each customized for differing usage scenarios.
At the time of writing, Enterprise Architect has more than 850,000 users worldwide. Its users span a wide range of industries, including aerospace and defense, automotive, banking and finance, electrical engineering, medicine, research and academia, retail, transport, and utilities. Since its first release, Enterprise Architect has become the UML modeling tool of choice for developers, consultants, and analysts, who use it to not only model the architecture of their systems but also to process the implementation of these models across the full application development lifecycle.
Despite its name, Sparx Enterprise Architect is used also by solution architects, who differ from enterprise architects in several important ways. To start with, solution architects typically focus on fewer projects than enterprise architects, who tend to operate across multiple projects at the same time. While solution architects are responsible for building and leading the design of specific products, enterprise architects tend to drive standardization of methodologies, design approaches, tooling, and technologies across the organization.
Main Features of Sparx Enterprise Architect
Sparx Enterprise Architect boasts many impressive features that elevate it above many other ULM-based modeling tools, and make it excel at modelling and managing complex information, capturing and tracing requirements from design to deployment and beyond, integrating teams from all sections and all phases of a product’s lifecycle, understanding complex software, sharing and reusing information across tools, and more.
Support for All UML 2.5 Models and Diagrams
Enterprise Architect the first UML tool to introduce comprehensive UML 2 support in April 2004, and it new supports all UML 2.5 models and diagrams, making it possible to model business processes, websites, user interfaces, networks, hardware configurations, messages and many other things.
In addition to UML, Enterprise Architect also supports the latest Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) and Systems Modeling Language (SysML) specifications. BPMN is a graphical representation based on a flowcharting technique very similar to activity diagrams from UML, and it’s used for specifying business processes in a business process model. SysML is a general-purpose modeling language for systems engineering applications, and it’s defined as an extension of a subset of UML using UML’s profile mechanism.
Simple Add-In Management
The functionality of Enterprise Architect can be extended with add-ins, which allow software developers to enhance the user interface by adding new menus, sub-menus, windows, and other controls to perform a wide variety of functions. Add-ins can be published as XMI and re-used in different models using the Reusable Asset Service (RAS), and activating a dynamic add-in is a security-controlled process controlled only by an administrator or some other authorized person.
The latest version of Enterprise Architect has made it very simple to abstract data from a range of external data sources, such as databases, text files, and URLs, and create a reproducible import process defined in a model format. The imported data can be used to support complex visual representations of software projects or business processes.
Custom Tables and Reports
The users of Enterprise Architect can define their own custom tables and set cell colors and borders, alignment, add cells, as well as merge cells. They can also take advantage of automation feature to compute row values based on model data and the ability to fill from SQL query on a package.
Enterprise Architect supports decision making with its custom reports, which can be created on the fly simply by dragging and dropping any model content onto an open document artifact and selecting a suitable template in a popup dialog.
Google and AWS Icon Sets
Solution and enterprise architects who work with Amazon Web Service or Google Web Service can appreciate the presence of Google and AWS icon sets in the latest version of Enterprise Architect, which cover the images required for modeling Amazon/AWS diagrams and Google/GCP diagrams.
Sparx Enterprise Architect ALM Integration
Sparx Enterprise Architect is designed to seamlessly integrate with other business tools, such as Requirements Management ALM platform that integrates in the same environment support for other processes such as risk management, test management, issue and defect tracking, and change management.
By integrating Sparx Enterprise Architect with Visure Requirements ALM, it becomes possible to send requirements gathered by Visure during the analysis step to Enterprise Architect and use them as the starting point for modeling and design. This helps increase productivity in the software and systems development lifecycle, carry out impact analysis and change prioritization, communicate requirements through the lifecycle, and specify and document requirements understandably.
Visure Requirements ALM provides the capability to express requirements not only as text, but also as high-level use cases. What’s more the information meta-model in Visure Requirements makes it possible to represent Use Cases and their relationships coming from Enterprise Architect inside Visure Requirements, along with requirements and test cases, to be able to perform an end-to-end change impact analysis.
All this and more makes the combination of Sparx Enterprise Architect with Visure Requirements so effective when it comes to providing full traceability from the initial design phase to deployment and beyond.