Sparx Enterprise Architect is a world-beating modelling tool, with more function and more capabilities than most of us will ever need.
But this also sometimes makes it hard for the occasional user: there are so many way to do things. Sometimes doing some simple stuff quickly and accurately can be confusing.
This is what Model Expert is for: helping modellers to create quick, simple, accurate and consistent models, which make the best use of their time & knowledge. And also makes it more likely that their work can be understood and re-used by others.
Model Expert lets you capture the way that you model, as a set of rules, standards and help. It then makes that available to modellers, exactly at the point where they need it. This means they are more productive, make fewer mistakes, and can be gently educated about the right way to do things.
First, there were MDGs
Those who know EA well might notice that some of these problems can be solved using an MDG. But MDGs are designed to do a very different job – they implement modelling languages, with all the complexity and accuracy which this requires.
If all you want to do is implement some rules for modellers to follow, and provide guidance to them as they use them, then the MDG approach is not appropriate:
MDGs are hard to create – they require expert knowledge of EA and UML
MDGs don’t provide help. If you want to know how to use an MDG, go on a course, or ask the author.
MDGs get updated by a batch process. An expert user needs to make changes in an EA model, create an XML file, then manually pull that file into the repositories which need it. This is important, because if you decide to use an MDG to hold your local modelling standards, then you will need to make constant improvements, and with MDGs, this is slow and difficult.
MDGs don’t tell you when you are going wrong. EA allows you to put almost anything on almost any diagram, and connect things however you like. MDGs help a bit, but they don’t enforce the rules. So users of your MDG will break your modelling rules, and never get told how to do it right.
MDGs will always have a place in Sparx EA, as a way to implement new modelling languages.Â But using the same mechanism to solve a different problem leads to lots of issues.
Then, there was Model Expert
The design of Model Expert started in a different place. Model Expert is a tool for the occasional, non-expert EA user.
We started designing Model Expert with these questions:
“What does a non-expert EA modeller need to create fast, accurate models ?” AND
“How can we do this with minimum effort?” …because there’s no point doing (1) if it means someone is needed full time to make changes to the MDG.
And that’s why Model Expert can:
help you capture your modelling rules by reverse-engineering an existing model.
fix the current issues in your model, if your modellers haven’t followed your standards.
allow users to get real-time feedback on how they are modelling.