Using images to add relevance to any architecture diagram is a very common practice. Enterprise Architect has always supported modellers to set ‘Alternate Image’ or ‘Default Image’ for elements to create such diagrams. However the users have always sought for an ability to manage a set of image assets in a catalogue and reuse it across multiple diagrams.
The New approach in EA 15 to manage and reuse images in diagrams is a significant enhancement. The ‘Image Asset’ element lets users create a model item to store an image. These items can then be used to apply overlays on other model elements.
The Image Asset images can be used as alternative images in place of the standard UML notation for elements on diagrams. They can also be used in documentation by inserting hyperlinks to the Image Asset element. When a report is generated, the hyperlinked Image Asset element is rendered using its ‘owned image’
To create an image asset, Select the ‘Artifacts’ section in toolbox | select ‘Image Asset’ | click on the diagram, or Drag an ‘Image Asset’ Artifact from the toolbox onto a diagram.
Figure 1 Image Assets Catalogue
The new ‘Custom Diagram’ option in EA 15 allows users to create a highly customizable, graphic-rich diagram that is on-par with any modern drawing tools. Custom Diagram enables the most options to use the Image Assets.
Using Image Assets
The Image Assets from the repository can be used to perform the following actions
- Set as Icon – As an icon of an Existing Element
- Set as Alternate Image – As an alternate Image on an existing element
- Add as element with Icon
- Add as element with Image
- Add as link
Figure 2 Options to Use Image Assets
Set As Icon
Use Image Asset to set it as an icon for an existing element or a new element (This is my favourite!). In the previous versions, users must rely on shapescripts to achieve such visualization.
Figure 3 Set Image as Icon
Set as Alternate Image
You can also use the Image Asset to set it as an alternate image for an existing element or create a new element with the image as alternate image.
Figure 4 Set Image as Alternate Image
Updating Image Asset
There are two key benefits in using the ‘Image Assets’
- Ability to drag and drop from project browser to apply image as an icon or alternate image
- Ability to update the image asset and also cascade the change across all diagrams where the image asset is used
You can ascertain the impact of modifying a Image Asset by using ‘Find In All Diagrams’ (Element Usage, similar to any other element usage)
Figure 5 Image Asset – Usage
Using the new enhanced ‘Custom Diagram’ and ‘Image Asset’ of EA 15, I’ve created a deployment diagram (below) which was in-par with a graphic rich diagram created using any drawing tool, at the same time retaining the benefits of a modelling repository.
Figure 6 Prolaborate Architecture Diagram created using EA 15 Image Assets