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arKItect 4.2  receives improvements of existing features and performance.

We made some improvements in terms of ergonomics by reducing the number of operations, e.g. for drawing flows in IBD.

There are major improvements of functional chains. It is now possible to define so called block chains that represent a subset of a functional chain.

Block chains can be used for many purposes:

-          For reusing a part of a functional chain in other chains

-          For developing an alternative functional organization: this proves to be meaningful for safety engineering and for interface with simulation for instance but we already see other applications.

Many optimization of performance in terms of space and time have been included that should improve user experience on big projects with several thousands of objects.

Changes in ergonomics

Seamless drawing of flows in IBD (important modification in IBD)

Up to now, to define a flow in an Internal Block Diagram (IBD) view, the user had to select the “link mode” button. This button has been removed. When you are close to an object port, arKItect changes of mode and you can start drawing a link without clicking on some menu.There are basically 12 ports on any object on an object rectangle shape, 3 on each edge. Number of ports may change depending on objectshape.

Vertical span of description attributes in Properties windows

The vertical span of attributes description has been reduced in order to be able to visualize the whole set of attributes at a glance in most cases.


 

Mark for leaf objects in IBD

A small “[+]” symbol at the top left corner of an object in the Internal Block Diagram view indicates whether the object has sub-objects or not. Double-clicking on the small symbol results in expanding this object. Double clicking again results in collapse.

Improvements of functional chains

 Functional chains, or more simply chains, are a very powerful mechanism to describe pieces of architecture related to a particular topic. It allows representing all the functions, flows, components, interfaces involved e.g. in a feature or in an end-to-end performance.

In the 4.2 release we propose a new concept under functional chains: block chains. We also provide several usability improvements.

Block chains

A block chain is a piece of functional chain that you want to define either to reuse a part of your job for different chains or to add a new semantics upon existing objects.

For instance, in the view above, you can see a very simple example of a degraded mode for an electrical braking system. The blue object “Diagonal FL RR” is a block chain containing the relevant functions for the degraded mode. It is an alternative functional organization. When using different block chains, you can propose an alternative functional architecture that can be very meaningful for the sake of safety analysis or simulation model specification or exhibiting how functions are managed by different parts of the organization…

Copy to chain

In a chain you define through show/no show mechanism what you want to see or not. Once you’ve done this job, you may be interested to keep it and reuse your excerpt in another chain. A new menu “Copy to chain” is available after a right click on any object in a chain. Once you select it, you’re invited to select the functional chain in which you want to copy your object with its show/no show configuration.

The mechanism is smarter than it looks like. Some objects shown in the copied object may be hidden in the target chain. The rule is that an object will be shown after copy in target chain if it is either shown in our copied object configuration OR in the target chain.

Drag&Drop of objects in chains

When dragging and dropping an object from a location to another in a chain (e.g. from a block chain to another), the show/no show configuration of objects is now maintained.

Model Gateway Configuration for comparing database releases

When working on a system in arKItect, you can release the whole system database in arKItect.

In order to help you manage the database versions and its current status, the configuration module allows you using the various Model Gateway rule files of your project in order to make comparison between any former database release against another release or the current status of your database.

Once your data model is configured and your Model Gateway rule files for comparison are configured, you get an interface as beside

Result of comparing requirements between two releases of a database (displayed by column)

Selecting e.g. “Compare Requirements” with option “ColDiff”, you will get the comparison of your two databases filtered by selected Model Gateway.

As for the column mode for comparing list of objects, we recall that for each object (here requirements), except for keys of comparison, each attribute has two columns (old value, new value) and that the first  line and colors indicate whether an object has been added (new), removed or modified. In case of a modification, the changed attributes are highlighted in orange.

                                  Result of comparing requirements between two releases of a database (displayed by column)

Performance improvements

The generation and baselining of documents has been at stake for very complex arKItect database e.g. containing about 20000 user defined objects, 60 000 user defined direct links and over 100 000 indirect links and in the context of high diversity with dozens of options. Memory usage has been optimized for the generation and baselining of such documents which are now far below the limit of a standard laptop.

We gain about 50% of RAM consumption in 4.2 for such operations.

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