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A Model is not a tree !

So why do modeling tools always provide a hierarchical model explorer in order to navigate within the model? Organizing a model as a tree appears often as an arbitrary choice : there are many ways of organizing models. Models could for example be organized by types of elements (e.g. Use Cases, Class Diagrams, …), or by logical grouping (e.g. Administration, Billing, … or GUI, Server, client, storage, … ) in many ways. The reader of a model may not share the vision of the original author, who decided a specific organization, and may find it difficult to navigate in.


Traceability links are an interesting case. When you define “trace” dependencies, you will soon be lost, finding it hard to know and remember which trace was defined or not. Reversing generated code is another case : you may need to discover a model, and want to navigate in the generalization tree to understand the classification, or to navigate through the associations, to understand how data can be accessed from some point.

This is why Modelio 2.1 brought the “link editor” facility. Consider it like a browser, that navigates in a diagrammatic form through the type of links you want (generalization, association, trace, access, ..). This new facility provides you a new way to see and handle your model : much more efficient than a classical model explorer/diagram combination. It is also used to create links : no need to open explorers to create a generalization, association, trace, …

After all, models are complex graphs : we need graph navigation and handling tools to master them. We are still exploring how useful this is. Feedbacks and use cases in the Modelio forum for example are warmly welcomed.

Figure below : Example of what a TOGAF model presents in the link editor, here centerd on the "Customer" Actor.


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