Editing Diagram and Model Element Properties (Day 8)

Each element is defined by its properties - id, name, style, owner, repository, associated diagrams, tagged values, documentation. and other element-specific properties. You may edit all of them using the Properties dialog and a lot of them in the Properties sidebar.

The internal properties of an element may be edited using Properties dialog (available from the context menu/Properties or using the default shortcut key F5) or using Properties sidebar (can be displayed using the ribbon View tab / Window group / Sidebars drop-down button / Properties).

The Properties sidebar allows you to edit ID, name, and bounds of an element. In the bottom part, there are edit boxes for other element-specific properties. The complex editors (as source code, attributes, etc.) are not included, they are available only from the Properties dialog. The Properties sidebar contains the Show Dialog button in its top toolbar which shows the Properties Dialog.

The Properties dialog allows you to completely define an element. It is divided into several tabs:

  • General
  • Specific tabs (e.g. Source Code, Entity Data)
  • Field tabs (e.g. Attributes, Operations)
  • Cooperation
  • Associated Diagrams
  • Style
  • Documentation
  • Tagged Values

The changes made in the Properties dialog are applied to the element in one step after clicking the OK button. After clicking the Cancel button, the changes made in the Properties dialog will be discarded. If something was changed, you need to confirm that you really want to close the dialog without saving – it prevents unwanted closing the dialog and losing the edits.

General Tab

The General tab provides the main properties of elements. It allows you to view and edit the element ID and name. The ID is the user-defined identifier, used especially for documentation purposes. (Except this there is a unique internal identifier but it is not editable.)

An element may have an owner (e.g. property is owned by a class, a class may be owned by a package) – its name is displayed in the Owner box. You may change it clicking on the Browse button ([…]) on the right of the edit box. If you want the element to be without an owner, click on the Delete button ([X]) on the right of the edit box.

Each element must be placed in a repository. Software Ideas Modeler distinguishes three kinds of repositories – Project (the root repository, only one), Folder and Diagram. Repositories form the hierarchy of a project. The repository may be changed using the Browse button ([…]) on the right of the Repository text box.

It is possible to specify an external URL to an element. It may be a path in the local computer or a web link. The URL may be set using the Hyperlink (URL) edit box. The Browse button ([…]) on the right of the edit box allows you to choose a local path from the Open file dialog.

The tab also offers a stereotype editor. It allows you to choose stereotypes for the element. You may add other stereotypes from the drop-down or type its name. The Browse button ([…]) opens the Stereotype dialog which offers you more space for stereotype editing.

Apart from the properties mentioned above, the General tab provides other element-specific editors (checkboxes, value dropdowns, etc.).

Specific Tabs

The Properties dialog provides other specific tabs for some elements. E.g. Source Code tab for classes or Use Case and Event Flow tabs for use cases. These tabs contain more complex editors which will not fit in the General tab.

Field Tabs

Other specific tabs are field tabs – they offer list editors for attributes, operations and other kinds of fields.

Cooperation Tab

The Cooperation tab allows you to specify the creator of the element and the participants on the work. This section is also used for communication between coworkers in the form of comments and notes. The comments, along with their author's name, are listed in time order. A new comment may be added to the list using the Add Comment button.

Associated Diagrams Tab

The tab shows the list of thumbnails of associated diagrams. You may link one or more diagrams to an element. The buttons Add and Remove allows you to edit the list of associated diagrams.

The associated diagrams provide additional details to the element.

Style Tab

The Style tab allows you to adjust the look and feel of the edited element. You have three basic styling options you may choose:

  • Default – the default style or a style by a fulfilled styling rule from the current style set is used.
  • Style by class – a style manually chosen from the current style set.
  • Custom style – an embedded custom style definition for the edited element. Choosing this option, the style editor will get enabled and you may adjust the particular styling properties.

Documentation Tab

The tab provides the text editor for the element documentation. The documentation supports formatted text with dynamic links to other project elements and diagrams.

Tagged Values Tab

Tagged values extend the element by a custom list of key-value pairs. They allow you to structurally describe the element by your own criteria. The values may be of many types:

  • Text – a one-lined text value
  • Reference – a reference to another project element
  • Integer – integral numeric value
  • Decimal – decimal numeric value
  • Date
  • Boolean – yes/no value
  • Multiline Text
  • Formatted Text – formatted multiline text
  • Enumerated Value – a value from an embedded enumeration

The Tagged Values tab allows you to add, edit and remove the tagged values. You may also change the order of the tagged values in the list using Move Up and Move Down buttons.

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