The focus of version 2.3 of the EA Navigator is usability.
As a user myself I’m in a good position to evaluate the user-experience of the tool, and I felt the EA Navigator was coming short on that aspect. So I decided to do something about that.
One of the most important improvements, and also the most difficult one, is the switch to background processing.
With all the new features in the latest version I (and other users too) noticed that the EA Navigator was seriously slowing down EA itself. The problem was the fact that the EA Navigator needed some time to build the whole tree for the selected element, and EA was waiting for the add-in to finish before continuing.
On a small local .eap file that effect wasn’t really noticeable, but on large DBMS repositories it became a serious problem, so much even that some users even preferred to uninstall the EA Navigator because of it.
To solve this issue I started experimenting with multithreaded processing. The idea that, after a new element was selected, that the EA Navigator would start loading the element in a background thread. That allows us to return the control to EA almost immediately. The result is that the user doesn’t need to wait for the EA Navigator to finish before continuing to use EA.
What’s new in EA Navigator 2.3
Here are the changes for version 2.3.
The overall performance has been improved by doing the time consuming work of the EA Navigator in a background thread.
When several elements are being selected before the EA Navigator has finished loading them they will get queued. So now you might notice now and then that the EA Navigator is catching up after you finished clicking.
The new toolbar allows fast access to functions such as Select in Project Browser, Open Properties, or To FQN.
There’s also a button for the new Settings dialog, and the About dialog
You can now configure certain options in the EA Navigator. The options are stored on a per user basis in a config file in the user profile.
The available options are:
- Doubleclick action:
Decide what the EA navigator should do when you double-click on a node.
- Show Toolbar:
Show or hide the toolbar.
- Show Context Menus:
Show or Hide the Navigate context menu when right clicking on an element.
- Track Selected Element:
Controls whether or not the EA Navigator load the selected element in the navigator window.
Open in Navigator
If you have disabled tracking of the selected element in the settings then you have a new context menu option load the element in the navigator window.
Select relevant element when opening diagram
When opening a diagram via the Navigator window the relevant element will be selected. So if you open a sequence diagram from under the Operation/Diagrams section the message calling that operation will be selected
Show stereotypes in names of elements
Elements now show their stereotypes in the navigator window.
Up to 20 characters of stereotype information will be show. Multiple stereotypes are separated by a comma, and if there’s more than can be displayed there will be two dots at the end to indicate that.
More information about the EA Navigator add-in for Enterprise Architect can be found here: