EA Composer, an affordable, easy to use EA tool

I discovered EA Composer in Gartner reports, and decided to give it a try.

EA Composer was created in 2006 by an independent software company, named WhiteCloud Software, and based in Vancouver. This company is a pure-player for EA tools and EA Composer is their only software product

This study is based on EA composer version 6.3.2 available through a one-month standard trial.

A simple but efficient U

Once logged on EA Composer you can easily understand what is this tool about.

You can see each element of the information model supported, which is represented by a yellow square, an icon and a name.

A menu on the left ease the navigation and facilitates the day to day work, once you are accustomed with all sections.

Changing the Metamodel

First thing I do when looking at an EA tool is to see how easy it is to define or extend the metamodel. In EA Composer, it is really straightforward … Click on metamodel entry on the left menu and add your “new metamodel type”.

I wanted to create a new object to document the Security part of an application. So I created a new type named ‘security” with 3 properties.

I also created a relationship with application:

Now let’s go back to Architecture portfolio, Now security appears

Let’s create a security element for BigData and make the link with one app:

Let’s add a relationship …

et voila :

The whole process took me 10 mn ….

It is to be noted that importing and exporting data from Excel is proposed through a 4-steps wizard

Application Architecture

From the application architecture menu, you can access the “component” portolio. For example the list of applications …

or the list of interfaces…

At any time, you can generate a PDF from the object you are looking for :

Views and Model

Any architecture tool must propose views and model in order to meet the various stakeholders expectations:

I will then create my view:

and start diagramming …

It is to be noted that icons can be added easily or you can leverage the ones already offered.

Reporting and analysis

EA Composer proposes native reports that will let you deep dive on your data and make analysis.

Landscape analysis is of the native reports available, offering a configurable heatmap.

A matrix view can also be used :

Visual Explorer to deep dive

Select a component type and then a component, and then start exploring

A graph then appear and you can change the shape if you want

Let’s use a box format

and explore the model from Singapore data center

The result appears nearly immediately

Artefact and templates for document generation

Only available to paid subscriber, this option enables you to define a template and to generate automatically the associated document. This could be great to generate “Technical Architecture Document” or “security & compliance sheets”

Folders

You can create folders to organize your content …

Other features

You can:

  • Create library or reuse existing ones in order to avoid that Enterprise Architecture models drifts from the initial vision.
  • Associate metrics, for each metamodel type, that could be reused (below is an example of a metric for Interface object)
  • Build heatmaps centrally
  • Build diagrams type
  • Define and reuse frameworks

Transparent and affordable Pricing

Their pricing is transparently available in their web site, which is pretty rare in the EA tool domain.

In conclusion

This tool surprised by its ease of use and by its set of available features. As stated in the web site, it does not do UML, BPM or project Mgt., but does Enterprise Architecture modeling well.

My only negative point concerns the lack of proper documentation (I did not find it) and training (video on YouTube seems to be based on an older version). Or may be like “Apple” product, they consider it is simple enough to not require specific documentation.

EA Composer is lowering the barrier of entry in term of cost, but also in term of user experience.

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