Object Graph Explorer
Object Graph Explorer allows you to explore and analyze your object repository and associations visually. You can drop objects and their associations onto the diagram surface. Furthermore, you can customize how the elements look to simplify your research or analysis.
To access Object Graph explorer, click on any existing project name within the project list. Afterward, select the "Explore Graph" navigation link. This action will open Graph Explorer, consisting of an empty diagram area and a toolbar above and below it.
Graph Explorer Surface and Toolbar Items
The toolbar contains helpful function buttons that help you work with the graph explorer.
- Add Object button () displays Object Catalog Designer on the left side of the graph explorer's surface, from where you can drop objects onto the graph explorer.
- Zoom buttons ( and
) change the display scale of the graph explorer's diagram surface.
- Clear button () removes all objects and associations from the diagram surface. This action allows you to start your exploration or analysis from the beginning. When you remove objects from the diagram surface, they continue existing in the object catalog, which is convenient to reuse them for multiple exploration exercises.
- Expand button () stretches the graph explorer across the entire screen width, which can be more convenient to perform large-scale exploration or analysis.
- You can pan the diagram's surface (i.e., move around the surface) by grabbing a blank area of the diagram and dragging it around. Alternatively, you can use the right-side and bottom scrollbars to achieve the same result.
Besides the toolbar above the diagram's surface, there is a resizer toolbar with a handle () under the diagram. You can drag this handle up or down to change the height of the graph explorer.
Object Catalog Designer Toolbox of Graph Explorer
When you click the Add Object button () in the toolbar, the Object Catalog Designer will display. The catalog interface must be familiar for you if you have tried to capture the objects and associations before. There are a couple of differences to the interface when used in combination with the graph explorer.
First, a toolbar above the catalog designer allows hiding the object tree when you don't need it. You can reopen it by clicking the Add Object button again.
The other difference is the new button added next to the object names for adding the object to the diagram (). You can see this button next to the existing objects if you expand one of the object-type folders.
There are two ways for adding an existing object to the diagram surface:
- You can click on the button that we mentioned above (). This action will add the object to the arbitrary location in the diagram. You can locate the object and change its position based on your needs.
- You can drag an object and drop it onto the diagram's surface. This method is more convenient since you can place the object directly where you need it. Note that, due to the difference in screen gestures, and to avoid possible confusion, you can not use the drag-and-drop method on touch-screen-enabled devices.
In addition to dropping objects from the catalog designer onto the graph explorer's surface, you can also create and modify objects via the catalog designer as usual. This design decision comes in handy to simultaneously analyze the model and keep defining objects as you need them.
Working with Objects in Graph Explorer
After you have dropped an object onto the graph explorer's surface, you can change its location by dragging it to where you want it to be. Select an object by clicking it for additional actions, displaying extra functional buttons under the object's name.
- Open object () to see its attributes and associations. This action opens the object editor dialog, with which you are familiar from the catalog designer. Alternatively, double-click the object's visual box on the diagram to open the same dialog.
- Expand associations () to add all linked objects of the currently selected object onto the diagram's surface. This action is convenient if you want to find all dependent or impacted objects from the current one. If any linked objects are not yet on the diagram, they will automatically show up together with their associations in the form of arrows. Another way of discovering dependencies is to add an object to the surface that already contains associated objects. The association will automatically draw on the diagram in such a case, indicating that you have found a dependent or an impacted object.
- Remove an object from the diagram () if you don't want to see it in your current view. This action keeps the object in the catalog designer, and you can re-add it to the diagram at any time. If you intend to remove every object, you can use the Clear button as a shortcut located in the toolbar.
If you want to unselect the object and hide its action buttons, click on the blank area of the diagram or select another item.
Working with Associations in Graph Explorer
Associations connecting objects appear as arrows between those same elements. To see additional actions that you can perform on associations in graph explorer, select the corresponding arrow by clicking it. As a result, you will see functional buttons along the arrow.
- Change arrow annotation () to choose its shape and text variation. By default, the arrow has two ends (i.e., arrowheads) and no text. By repeatedly clicking the annotation button, the arrow's shape goes through the following forms:
- Two-way with text.
- Forward-looking without text.
- Forward-looking with text.
- Backward-looking without text.
- Backward-looking with text.
- Two-way without text (the default starting point).
- Remove the association arrow from the diagram (). This action does not remove the association between the objects from the catalog designer. Therefore, to display the association again, you can re-add an object on any side of it, and the association will appear again.