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Discussion Boards => General Archi Discussion => Topic started by: DaveVint on August 16, 2021, 11:04:42 AM

Title: Diagram exchange issue
Post by: DaveVint on August 16, 2021, 11:04:42 AM
Hi,

I'm exchanging models with a person in another part of my organisation who is using a different tool - BIZZDesign Enterprise Studio. Some of the relationships are drawn quite differently between the two applications and I've been trying to find out why.

When I import an Archi-generated XML file into Enterprise Studio, relationships without a bend point in a particular diagram are often drawn differently. This seems to be because Enterprise Studio has no equivalent of the "Use orthogonal connection anchors" option and relationships are always imported with the ends connecting to the midpoint of the nearest side. Imported lines *with* a bendpoint always connect orthogonally. I've asked my colleague to raise this with BIZZDesign.

Going the other way, importing an Enterprise Studio generated diagram into Archi, highlights a different problem. It looks like Archi ignores the 'sourceAttachment' and 'targetAttachment' elements of the connection in the diagram. So if I export the Enterprise Studio diagram and then import it into Archi, then the 'direct' and 'orthogonal' lines are always drawn the same, with the exact style dependent upon the Use orthogonal connection anchors" option.

There appears to be no way to manually fix the diagram. Have I missed something? Should I raise support for 'sourceAttachment/targetAttachment' as a bug or feature request?

Cheers,

Dave
Title: Re: Diagram exchange issue
Post by: Jean-Baptiste Sarrodie on August 16, 2021, 13:50:53 PM
Hi,

You've hit one of the current limitation of the ArchiMate Model Exchange File Format. Archi (like some other tools) has no notion of source or target attachement (what we call anchor points), so it can't import or export them, leading to the issue you face.

There's very little we can do on or side as Archi is not going to support movable anchor points. We might at some point simulate the source/target attachement at export by using the automatically computed anchor point position (I'm gonna work on this later this year), but we'll never import them.

BTW, if you have access to two tools supporting movable anchor points, and if you play a bit with them, you'll notice that each tool draw figures a little bit different, and thus the source/target attachements are not always exactly on the figure border on import. Some tools try to workaround this (I know BizzDesign does it) but no one is perfect in this game.

Regards,

JB
Title: Re: Diagram exchange issue
Post by: Phil Beauvoir on August 16, 2021, 14:00:17 PM
Further to JB's comments...

Many things simply can't be exchanged between different tools because of different implementations. This might include gradients, images (SVG, PNG, etc), labels (some tools have detached labels), connection routing (example - Archi's "Manhatten" connection router), four-dimensional warp acceleration...
Title: Re: Diagram exchange issue
Post by: DaveVint on August 16, 2021, 14:27:13 PM
Thanks for the response both. I only raised the source/target since they were part of the open exchange standard, not a tool-specific UI feature that wasn't in the standard. Totally understand and agree about gradients, images etc, which are not in the standard.

Out of curiosity, is there a particular reason Archi won't ever support movable anchor points, or is it just that you've got so many more important things on your backlog?!?!

Cheers,

Dave
Title: Re: Diagram exchange issue
Post by: Phil Beauvoir on August 16, 2021, 14:32:15 PM
> Out of curiosity, is there a particular reason Archi won't ever support movable anchor points, or is it just that you've got so many more important things on your backlog?!?!

I wouldn't say "won't ever support movable anchor points" but it would be a major change requiring a deep understanding of the Graphical Eclipse and Draw2d frameworks, and would need some help to implement. The same goes for keeping connection bendpoints in position when moving connected nodes.
Title: Re: Diagram exchange issue
Post by: DaveVint on August 17, 2021, 08:58:13 AM
Thanks. The final year project for my degree included a diagramming tool so I understand the complexities! That was 1987 though, so rather more primitive :)