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New Post 1/11/2013 7:02 AM
User is offline InfoSmithy
3 posts
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Data Modeling/Reporting Tool Question 

My associate and I have been tasked with developing a data dictionary/matrix to identify the data elements, in what application modules and screens they are used, if they are modifiable or read only and where the data originates.  We have a conceptual design for a spreadsheet that would provide this but it would be better if we had a database tool that we could enter the information into and then produce a report.  That way the information would be more manageable in the long run.  Does anyone know of a tool, preferably an open source tool, that would accomodate this?

New Post 1/15/2013 8:28 PM
User is offline Kimbo
454 posts
5th Level Poster

Re: Data Modeling/Reporting Tool Question 


Have a look at SparxSystem's Enterprise Architect. It has an automatic matrix creation.

You could create the data dictionary using UML Class Diagrams, then create the screens - there is a UI diagram in there somewhere or perhaps use the State Diagram with a screen defined as a state.

Then create a link between the attribute and the screens it is on.

Then go to the matrix section and define a matrix between the screens and the classes and the tool will fill it in automatically based on the links you've created.

There are inbuilt document templates to print it out - you may need to tweek these to get what you want (or just cut and paste into Word if that's too hard).

EA is cheap - about $100 for a standalone seat. I'm having a holiday from work at the moment so don't have access to it but I'm sure you'll be able to get it to do what you want. If you don't know it EA is a very good tool for BAs. Usual disclaimer, I don't have any association with Sparx except as a customer (past).

Hope that helps,


New Post 1/23/2013 10:52 AM
User is offline Sandy
74 posts
8th Level Poster

Re: Data Modeling/Reporting Tool Question 

Hi InfoSmithy,

I agree with Kimbo that Enterprise Architect is a good tool for this type of work.  It's also a very good choice if you want a tool that you can use to support many of your BA activities going forward as well.

Are there any other tools being used for requirements management, software development, and/or test management, that might be available to you?  Many of these tools would support enter and report on the type of information you need.  For example, a requirements tool such as Requisite Pro would allow you to manage the data classes and elements as data requirements, then you can build relationships between them.  Screen assocations can be handled either through attributes or by recording the screens/functions as design 'requirements'.  Microsoft's Visual Studio also has broad capabilities that would support your work, particularly if developers are already defining the screens, functions, and data classes & elements. But these are more expensive tools, and I would suggest them only if they are already available within your organization.


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