During a SysML with Enterprise Architect training session, participants had to model a SysML Internal Block Diagram (IBD) for the system context.
This exercise started off a block definition diagram (BDD) that had been modelled earlier during the training. Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect (EA) SysML modelling tool makes it straightforward to create a SysML IBD for a given block, e.g. the system context (right click on the block > New Child Diagram > Add Diagram > Internal Block Diagram).
Once the internal block diagram is created and displayed, a useful EA feature involves synchronizing structural elements to add all parts according to the BDD definition. This can be achieved via a right click on the diagram > Synchronize Structural Elements. This feature is however limited as it doesn't provide the option to add the parts' ports, when related blocks have ports.
This article provides a hint to easily add all SysML parts' ports on an IBD diagram by using one of the hoTools add-in features. This free add-in is shared by a member of Sparx EA community, Helmut Ortmann (ref: hoTools gitHub).
hoTools add-in installation
hoTools installation file must be downloaded from the following link: https://github.com/Helmut-Ortmann/EnterpriseArchitect_hoTools/releases.
Close EA and run the installation file.
Use hoTools add-in to add ports on the IBD
Open the EA project.
Display the add-ins view (menu Extensions > Add-In Windows).
The following SysML BDD diagram is used as an example for this article:
Once the "SystemBlock" IBD is created, run the Synchronize Structural Elements to have all parts (and references):
Adding ports can simply be achieved by selecting all diagram objects (Ctrl+A), followed by the SP button (show ports) from hoTools add-in:
The SysML internal block diagram can be completed by adding connectors:
hoTools free EA add-in provides a number of other useful features such as:
- Change the line style on all the diagram's connectors (orthogonal, tree style, custom, etc.).
- Permanent access to EA model search from the add-in view.
- Export EA model search or SQL query results to Excel.
- Easily add annotations or constraints onto an element within a diagram.
A settings window lets each user select the features to enable.
When the add-in is not suitable for projects where custom installation on each user's machine is avoided, it is possible to achieve the feature described here via a script. Once a script is applied to a project, it is available to all users.