One of the biggest strengths of SAP PowerDesigner is the ability to configure and extend the modelling environment, allowing you to adapt the tool to suit the way you want to work, instead of adapting the way you work to the limitations of the tool. For example, PowerDesigner allows you to configure and extend the support provided for a DBMS, by modifying the ‘Database Definition File’.
In this session Ondřej Diviš from MIBCON DIMA s.r.o. will describe some scenarios where the ability to configure and extend DBMS support can help you significantly.
He will show you how to modify:
the algorithms responsible for reverse engineering a database into a PowerDesigner PDM
For 14 years I`ve been focused on CASE tool PowerDesigner and how it could be deployed to our customers in order to support their processes in most effective way. My job is kind of my hobby too (besides my family, motorbike and badminton) and I like to explore all the possible (and some impossible too) ways of extending and customizing PowerDesigner. What have I found so far? That PowerDesigner can help you significantly with so many tasks/processes around DBs (and processes, applications, development, architecture,…) that it is hard to imagine it, when you say it is just “another CASE tool”. And that is what I like to reveal to our customers too.
The free version of the Financial Industry Business Data Model has been downloaded many times – it’s managed using the SAP PowerDesigner modelling tool, and users of other data modelling tools need to import the PowerDesigner Logical Data Model that is supplied. There are two concerns here:
FIB-DM is a very big model with some deep super/subtype hierarchies
even if your tool can import a PowerDesigner model, the chances are that the import doesn’t work perfectly
If your tool of choice is Idera ER/Studio Data Architect, you can use the built-in metadata import feature to import the PowerDesigner model, but I know that you won’t be happy with the result, so I’ve converted the model for you.
Are you migrating data models from SAP PowerDesigner to Idera ER/Studio Data Architect? You’ll soon find that the standard PowerDesigner LDM import in ER/Studio doesn’t convert everything properly. For example, some data types aren’t converted in the way I would like them to be converted. I came across this issue when I imported the FIB-DM model (in PowerDesigner format) to ER/Studio. I could manually update the incorrect data types, or write a macro to do it. The macro would need to know which data types to fix, based on knowledge of the data types in the original PowerDesigner model. I didn’t want to hard-code the attribute names in a macro, instead I’ve used the template language within PowerDesigner to generate a macro to update the exact objects that I know there will be problems with. If you’re converting any PowerDesigner models to ER/Studio, you’ll come across the same issues as I did, so take a look at what I’m doing –
SAP PowerDesigner is a powerful and flexible modelling tool; the scope and flexibility of the tool enables organisations to tailor the tool to fit their modelling methodology, instead of limiting their methodology to what the tool can handle.
To take full advantage of the capabilities of PowerDesigner, an organisation needs capable people, and it takes time to develop that capability in-house. In the meantime, the organisation will need to plug their PowerDesigner Capability Gap – this is where Metadata Matters can help.
There’s never enough time to do everything you need to do. Let Metadata Matters help you to take the strain, to reduce the workload on your own over-pressed staff.
The capabilities of PowerDesigner can be configured using several different types of resource files and templates, and by external programs. Metadata Matters has the knowledge and experience required to create and manage these resources and programs effectively.
For example, common tasks can be automated to improve consistency and productivity – see the existing model extension “CDM LDM Productivity” for an example.
Metadata Matters has previously created model extensions to:
ensure tables have the required audit columns
collapse a hierarchy of relationships to simplify a model before generating a new model from it
export model information in JSON format
import Data Lineage from Excel
build custom model validation checks
Configuring Database Support
One of the key strengths of SAP PowerDesigner for anyone using the tool to manage their databases is the ability to customise and extend the way that each DBMS is supported. It is simple to change the naming standard for constraints, or to change the syntax used when forward- or reverse- engineering database schemas. If your DBMS vendor introduces new features you do not have to wait for SAP to support them, and then upgrade the tool – you can configure support for the new features yourself.
Importing Model Content
Models do not have to be manually created from scratch by the user. There are several different ways to create a model from existing information (such as Excel spreadsheets). Let Metadata Matters take the strain out of the model import process for you.
Converting legacy models from your old modelling tools into PowerDesigner models may be a trivial exercise (such as importing a simple Erwin model) or a complex, lengthy operation. Unless you’re a very small organisation, the truth will be somewhere in the middle.
The best approach may be to use a Metadata bridge. Some modelling tools are supplied with an OEM version of the Meta Integration export bridges – this capability will be as old as the modelling tool, and inflexible. Using a more flexible Toolbus interface may be a better option. Metadata Matters can facilitate a model conversion service with Toolbus on behalf of the Client.
No matter which conversion route you follow, there are likely to be some actions needed to make sure you make the best use of the features offered by PowerDesigner. Those actions will cover these areas, and more
Methodology & Governance support
Fix Common problems
Applying Naming Standards
Post-conversion for PDM
Add useful extras
Create Model template(s) based on converted models
Supporting modellers by creating, reviewing, or improving models and/or the PowerDesigner Glossary.
Helping the Client to do the right thing themselves
To some new users PowerDesigner may seem complicated, especially if they have become used to the way that another tool works.
This is where the ad-hoc mentoring and knowledge-sharing service can really help, allowing individuals or groups of users to discuss their concerns with an expert.
In addition, advice and assistance can be given on administering PowerDesigner.
The Capability Support service can be provided remotely or on-site.
A more detailed list of services is available on request. Go to the Contact page to get in touch.
I’m working on my process to convert the FIB-DM model from SAP PowerDesigner to Idera ER/Studio Data Architect. I’d like to improve on the standard import. so I considered exporting metadata from PowerDesigner into one or more Excel workbooks, then writing ER/Studio macros to read the Excel workbook and update the ER/Studio model. Then it occurred to me – there’s an easier way.
Using the Generation Template Language in PowerDesigner, I can generate the ER/Studio macro with all the metadata embedded (like using Mail merge in Microsoft Word to create a document containing content from Excel). I have to use two different programming languages, but I’d have to do that anyway. This way, I know the macro has the right content, I don’t need to make sure I’m importing from the right Excel file.
Here’s a sample of the output – it’s a mixture of boilerplate text and metadata, all controlled by logic based on the model contents.
Here’s the top-level GTL Template that creates this. The boilerplate text is in black and the metadata selection is in blue: