ERwin r8 – the little things that make me happy

I have been living with ERwin r8 for the past nine months. I am comfortable with the bells and whistles that came with the upgrade. I am conservative in terms of upgrading software. The value of the upgrade needs to exceed the marketing hype. I sit back 3-6 months to see how cutting edge upgraders are doing. Early 2012 was the right time for my upgrade. My shop did realize some good benefits. I am sharing my favorite little things that I work with every day that I see as my favorite features.

  1. Bulk Editor– I LOVED Data Browser in ERwin r7.x and before. I used it every day. When it went away, I mourned. CA Technologies did a pretty good job in replacing it with the Bulk Editor. In nutshell for those who have not used the Bulk Editor, it is a wizard based tool  that allows you to create a spreadsheet like view of data model objects that can be edited, exported and imported.I really like the wizard based interface; the ability to target specific model objects and instances; fully editing returned results, the ability to save as a template, and pinning it as a fly-out on my modeling workspace.
  2. Excluding Relationships– Types, codes, and population information are modeled as shared entities across my models. Inevitably, models become hard to read with dozens of relationships enforcing referential integrity to a single code or type entity.I like the ability to exclude these relationships from the diagram. Since these entities are common across our corporate designs, my peers understand their use and presence in the design. It is permissible and widely accepted to omit the relationship line on the model. Prior to ERwin r8, we colored the relationship lines white to hide them. This solution allows them to be easily hidden but still present for referential integrity enforcement.
  3. Dangling Relationships– I work with large models. I am sure most of us work with relatively large models. Subject areas make telling the story of the whole model easier by slicing it into smaller subject-related models. ERwin r8 has a nice feature that allows you to display dangling relationship to entities outside of the diagrammed entities. I like this feature that shows the relationship lines to these outside of the subject area entities. It gives a bigger picture of how this subject area relates to the larger model.
  4. Tabular Formatted Entities– Hands down my developers’ favorite change in ERwin r8. I like the columnar display of an attribute name, data type and nullability in the entity. It is easier to read, easier to explain to others, and makes a much cleaner diagram overall. We have all been trained to read spreadsheets and tabular data. This format fits well into what most people see as the norm.
  5. Smooth Moves– The graphic interface in ERwin r8 is considerably improved since ERwin r7. Relationship text and lines stay together. You can smoothly move entities and relationships without them flying away. Grouping and ungrouping works easier. Diagram auto-layout is finally viable.

Those are the little things in ERwin r8 that make me happy. The folks at CA Technologies had bigger changes in mind when they released this version. Sure, the bigger things are good too. It is these smaller things that I do day-in and day-out that make these five things big to me.

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