How eaDocX uses your model to create intelligent documents

One of the features which we've been quietly building into eaDocX over the last few releases is an ability to customize your user experience based on the content of your model. It's something you may have noticed, but if not - don't worry - it's part of making your experience of eaDocX as simple and fast as possible.

So what is eaDocX doing?...

EA has the ability to hold a huge range of different types of information: loads of element types, as well as sub-elements and project information. 

It's thefore natural that EA keeps showing you all these options when you make choices. That's why EA's lists of elements are huge, as are the lists of possible relationships. It can be a bit scary, especially for the beginner.

In eaDocX, we've taken a different approach, because most people only use a sub-set of these information types, as that's all they need to understand their project.

As an eaDocX document is based on just a single model, when eaDocX offers you choices it looks into your model to see which of the EA element types & relationships you've chosen to use. And then it restricts your options based on what it finds.

For example, when you want to create a print profile for an element, eaDocX will only shown you the element types which are actually present in your model.  But it's when you start to include the relationships in your model to create documents that eaDocX really starts to help you.

Lets say you want to print the details of the Requirements which are realized by each Use Case.

  • Firstly, eaDocX will look at your model, and see what different relationship types exist which are connected to use cases - any use cases in the model. It might find some 'Realization' links, but also some <<trace>>Dependency links, and some plain Dependencies.  So eaDocX will only shown you these 3 options- no point showing any more types of relationship, as there just aren't any in your model. Once you have selected the relationship type which you need - say 'Realization', then ...
  • Secondly, eaDocX will go back into your model to follow each 'Realization' link from each Use Case, and see what's at the other end of the link. This then is what you see on the list of target element types - just those which are actually present in your model.

As well as making the lists of Element- and relationship-types much smaller, it's also a quick way to see what types of elements and relationships people are using in the model. You might have expected to see only one or two kinds of relationship used to link use cases to other elements. If you see lots, that may be a sign that you need to tighten-up your modelling standards, to ensure people are using the same kinds of links for the same purpose.  Similarly, if the link types or related elements that you expect to see aren't there, it means they haven't been included in your model in that way - or maybe they are missing altogether!

In this way, we have made eaDocX more user friendly and provided another way of improving your model quality.  

In v3.3 this function has been extended. There is an experimental feature included called eaDocX Model Expert which takes this one step further and draws a diagram of what is in your model.