Integration of Confluence and Sparx EA project documentation development tools.

21 september 2020, 21:35   Industry and corporate news  

Integration of Confluence and Sparx EA project documentation development tools.

For joint remote work of employees, we use the following tools for developing project documentation.

Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect is a visual modeling and design tool based on OMG UML. The platform supports: design and construction of software systems; business process modeling; and domains based on the modeling industry. Enterprises and organizations use it not only to model their systems architecture, business processes, but also to handle the implementation of these models throughout the entire application development lifecycle.

Benefits of using Sparx EA:

  • the ability to qualitatively implement support for the UML language,
  • low price,
  • wide distribution of trial versions, allowing you to try the product or use it from time to time,
  • templates for creating models in almost any modern notation (UML, BPMN, Archimate and a few dozen other notations).

The disadvantage of using this tool is its relative complexity for quick learning (compared to Visio and draw.io, for example).

Confluence is a team-friendly space for distributed teams. Here the knowledge gained by the team is combined with the opportunities for collaboration.

Benefits of using Confluence:

  • Low cost of licenses.
  • Simplicity and convenience of interfaces. Anyone who knows how to work in a browser will be able to work in Confluence without any problems.
  • Developed on the basis of modern web technologies. You can work with your information wherever and whenever you want. Electronic documents are a thing of the past - use web technologies.
  • Global Confluence Community. Confluence functionality doesn't end after purchase - hundreds of companies around the world are constantly developing unique extensions and modules.
  • Integration with JIRA. Manage processes in JIRA Core, store process knowledge in Confluence.

IIS is a proprietary set of servers for multiple Internet services from Microsoft. The main component of IIS is a web server that allows you to host sites on the Internet. IIS supports HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, POP3, SMTP, NNTP protocols.

Original is here*

 Architectural features of the proposed model:

 The project model is created in Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect. The model is located on the local computer of the author of the model. The author of the model publishes the html version of the model on the IIS server for others to view.

The IIS server hosts the exported web page that you can link to your project document in Confluence.

In Confluence space, the project author creates a project document. Confluence is software that is located on a remote server, the project document itself is also stored there. The project document is written based on the project model and may contain a link  ( there may be several links to various diagrams in the project attached or no one) to the project model on the IIS server.

The project file with the model must be duplicated for centralized storage, for example, in the cloud storage, with the obligatory export and replacement of each new version of the project model.

Functional features of the proposed model:

The author of the project model uses UML and creates it in Sparx EA on his personal computer. It has the ability to create, edit, view and delete a model. A project model can consist of one or more diagrams.

For other users to view the model, the author of the model can make an html version of the model. This version is exported to the IIS server so that other users (model readers) can read the model as a web page (or multiple web pages if the model contains multiple diagrams). The web page displays the current state of the project model, when the project model diagram changes, the author must re-export the modified version of the model to the IIS server.

In Confluence space, the project author creates a project document. He can create, edit, read and delete it. The project document is written on the basis of the project model and may contain a link (it may not exist, and several links to various diagrams in the project may be attached) to the project model with the ability to view the model.

The advantages of the presented method of integration:

  1. Low cost of the tools used.
  2. Simple setup.
  3. Centralization and the ability to view the project model in the form of a web page, which increases the audience of readers.

Disadvantages of the presented integration method:

Sparx EA is a desktop application, so some difficulties arise from here, for example,

  1. Changing the version of the model in Sparx EA requires repeated manipulations with the publication of the new version of the html document, which takes some time.
  2. There is no general access to the project model.
  3. A long and complex feedback loop for requests from readers on the topic of improving or correcting the model.

The proposed model for integrating documentation development tools for a distributed group of analysts working from different locations is optimal in terms of budget and functionality. The next step is to work out a version control and version storage system for Sparx models. As a version control system it is suggested to use GitHub hotsing.

Leave a comment