4 thoughts on “a new Art Form?

  1. Kent Graziano March 23, 2012 / 13:07

    Excellent article! I wish more modelers would spend time better organizing their diagrams. I tend to follow the Barker-style diagramming with all the crows feet point up and/or left. Many have debated the merits of this, but it does provide consistancy and a sense of organization to the diagrams. Our diagrams may not qualify as “art” but there definately is and art to making an aesthically pleasing and useful diagram that others can get value and information from.

    I like and have used the subject area and coloration approach too. In Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler (SDDM) they are called sub views. The tool even allows me to declare custom table and entity types and apply colors and fonts to those types. Then I just pick a type from a drop down list and voila! I get visual changes without having to set them individually.

    • George McGeachie September 4, 2013 / 22:24

      I always thought that Richard Barker was solely responsible for the Oracle CASE notation, commonly called ‘Barker Notation’. Recently, someone pointed out that Harry Ellis was also heavily involved, so I try and refer to it as the ‘Barker-Ellis’ notation (if I remember) 🙂

      • Kent Graziano September 4, 2013 / 23:24

        Yes, now that you mnetion it I had heard the same.

  2. George McGeachie March 23, 2012 / 14:19

    Thanks for the compliment, Kent. PowerDesigner also allows you to define custom formatting, either based on the object stereotype, or on other criteria.
    When it comes to content I like one of the features of ER/Studio, which allows you to choose whether or not a view is kept up-to-date with all content that is added to sub-models.
    For example, assume we have a model that has one main model= diagram, and three levels of sub-model, each with its own diagram. The diagrams marked with an asterisk (*) can be kept up to date with entities and relationships added to lower-level diagrams:
    Main model ERD – “Full model” *
    Sub-model “ACCOUNT” *
    — Sub-sub-model “Investment Account” *
    — Sub-sub-sub- model “Fixed-Notice Investment Account”
    — Sub-sub-model “Money Account”

    If I add a new entity “Regular Payment Frequency Type” to the diagram “Fixed-Notice Investment Account”, it will automatically be added to the following diagrams:
    “Investment Account”
    “Full model”.

    This gets around one of the problems of maintaining subject area diagrams – making sure they contain the right content, and making sure the ‘full model’ diagram (if you have one) contains the right content.

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