Shared model packages that are stored on the Team Server can be enriched with structural data that is externally stored and managed on the server. This data can be created using the BiZZdesign Open API and be disclosed to the model packages in Enterprise Studio. In the Open API, you can specify for which model packages the external data should be available. After that, the data will automatically be available in these model packages when they are opened.
Currently, external structural data can only be stored as ArchiMate objects and used in the context of ArchiMate modeling.
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Organization and structure of external data
The data on a server with an external origin is organized in collections. These collections form an additional source of data next to the regular models in an Enterprise Studio model package. The content of a collection is organized similar to that of an Enterprise Studio model; they have a similar structure, but different names for their concepts.
|External data||Enterprise Studio|
|Container||Layer (scheme)/element container|
When opening a model package for which external data is available, there is a separate "Collections" folder in addition to the regular models. This folder contains the collections that are available for the model package. Each collection icon has a badge showing an abbreviation of the collection's name. A collection in its turn has containers with entities and (possibly) links in them. Their icons look identical to the icons of layers, element containers, objects and relations in models.
Example of a shared model package with two collections
If you select one of the components of a collection, you will also see the similarities. If you, for example, select a collection in the model browser, the status bar at the bottom of the application window shows ArchiMate model, as shown below. If you select an entity, the status bar shows the ArchiMate name of the object.
Working with external data in models
The external data is read-only as can be seen by the gray bars, and the collections have a fixed structure, meaning that you cannot remove, rename or locate anything in it. The properties of the entities and links are also read-only. For example, entities from one collection cannot be moved to another collection.
When working on your models, you can use the entities and links from the collections as if they were regular objects and relations. You can add them to views just like regular objects. Just drag them from the model browser onto your view. Entities and links in views look identical to regular objects and relations. You can even draw relations between entities or between an object and an entity. Just take note that the respective relation will be added to your model, not to the collection. It is also possible to make visual changes, like changing the color of an entity when used in a view.
Basically, entities and links can be used in all regular Enterprise Studio functions like generating reports, viewpoints (color view, label view, etc.), the Navigator, and in search.
Finding the source of an element
To find out if an element belongs to your models or to external data, you have different possibilities to find out. First, you can trace the element by right-clicking it in the view, and then selecting Locate object. The model browser will highlight the element.
You can also use the Data Source functions on the Advanced ribbon tab. If you do not see this ribbon tab, switch to the Expert mode in the right top corner of the application window. The functions can be performed on open views.
Dim design objects
If selected, objects and relations from the models are faded, highlighting the external entities and links. See the figure below for an example.
Dim collection objects
If selected, external entities and links in the view are faded, highlighting the objects and relations from the models.
Show data source in objects
If selected, all external entities and links in the views get a badge showing the collection they belong to. The same badges are also visible on the collections in the model browser.
If you select No markup, the view will return to its original display.
Example of dimmed design objects in a view, highlighting the external data
Availability of external data in models
Entities and links from collections are not stored within the model package, they are stored on the server. When committing changes to a model package with external data, the actual data of external collections is not stored with the model package.
The external data is available in a model package as long as it exists on the server. Once external data has been removed from the server, it will no longer be available in the model package, for any user working on that model package. The data that has been removed (the complete collection, or one or more entities or links) is no longer present in the model browser. However, when opening a view that contains removed external data, you will still see the entities and links, keeping the views presentable.
Availability of external data in HoriZZon
Once changes to a model package with external data are committed, the external data is also available in HoriZZon in a similar way as it is in Enterprise Studio. In the views in sites, entities and links are available like any other regular object or relation, including property information. When browsing a site or setting a scope for a site, collections are shown in a dedicated "Collections" folder, with their content.