Inside Enterprise Architect

Inside Enterprise Architect
Inside Enterprise Architect
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Enterprise Architect1 (EA) offers a wealth of API functions to support automated manipulation of UML models. However, quite a number of tasks require actions not directly supported by the API. Here the fact comes handy that EA is based on a database model which has proven to be very stable with respect to its structure. The last major change was introduced with audit functionality which added a couple of new tables but left the structure of the existing tables untouched. So you can assume that your add-ins will run in future versions of EA if you follow a few rules.

The contents of this book is the essence of a continuous work with EA since end 2003. It surely lacks prose but likely you won’t need that anyway. I’d call it a hacker’s guide into EA2.

Special thanks to Peter Doomen who inspired me to write this book. You likely might be interested in his book Fifty Enterprise Architect Tricks. Also I like to thank Helmut Ortmann for supplying me with most of the query examples and a couple of hints which had passed my attention3. Probably I should mention a couple of other guys4 but I’m not going to bother you with my family history.

This book starts with a short introduction on how to query EA’s database. This is followed by a concise list of all available tables and details for the most important ones. The details contain cross references into more details as well as screen shots of the GUI where the appropriate elements appear. Vice versa the screen shots point to the according table columns. The final sections conclude with a practical approach to using SQL in Enterprise Architect.

Also all of the information in this book has been tested by me in many circumstances I can not hold any liability for use of the here presented information5. However, I’d be glad to receive any kind of feedback to correct future updates of this book which you will receive for free in turn. Having said this, all information presented here is subject to change without notice.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Important note: this book is about querying EA’s database. You might think that updating the database is easy with an UPDATE statement. Sure. But that’s playing with a loaded and unsecured weapon! You might shoot yourself in your knee or even in the middle of your heart. If you are going to change your repository: use the API.

1. Accessing the Database

The lowest layer in EA is that of its database. When you first start with EA you will most likely deal with EAP files. A simple though not official fact is: EAP is MS Access. So if you want to play around just open one of those EAP files and see what MS Access is telling you. If you are using a Corporate license you will most likely use a more advanced SQL server. Be it MS SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL or whatever. In that case you need some client software to perform manipulations.

Before doing so you should get familiar with the database in a more simple way.

The most simple way is to open the respective EA repository with EA itself.

Use the EAExample.EAP which comes with your EA installation. Now press Ctrl-F to open the search window. Click the Builder button and select the SQL tab. Type the text


and press Ctrl-Blank. You should now be presented with the following:

Search Window
Search Window

As you can see this is a list of tables which reside in EA’s database. For a start let’s choose one of the important tables: t_object. After pressing the Run button or the little triangle top left you will get a list of all elements present in the repository. Obviously the column Object_Type is the type of an element and Name its name. Simple! You might go on with t_package to see details of all packages in the repository.

1.2 Ways to Query Tables

The clean way to query the tables is the API. This is recommended for most cases. However, there’s also a demand to be able to access these data where the API is simply too slow. EA is kind of object oriented in how it queries its database. That means for a global change (like changing the status) it will issue single UPDATEs instead of a compound. Of course you can query the database much faster with an intelligent query than any iterative API calls.

Anticipating a simple structure element of the table containing the elements (t_object) the best way to retrieve an element is by

1 	elem = Repository.GetElementByID(4711);

which yields the ‘same’ element as

1 	SELECT * FROM t_object WHERE Object_ID = 4711

where just the API object data are cooked while those of the SQL are raw. So that’s no wizardry. But imagine you need all elements with a certain stereotype. While in the API this would need quite some programming effort, the SQL is simple:

1 	SELECT * FROM t_object WHERE stereotype = "stereo"

Now it’s upon your imagination what you can do by joining different tables in SQL. A few sample can be found in this chapter at the end of this book.

This window accepts only SELECT statements. Any other SQL (like e.g. UPDATE) is silently ignored!

1.3 A List of All Tables

Name Description
t_attribute Attributes defined for elements
t_attributeconstraints Constraints for attributes
t_attributetag Tagged values for attributes
t_authors List of authors defined with Settings/Project Types/People/Project Author(s)
t_cardinality List of cardinalities defined with Settings/UML Types/Cardinality Value
t_category Legacy ⁈
t_clients List of authors defined with Settings/Project Types/People/Project Clients
t_complexitytypes Legacy ⁈
t_connector Connectors between elements
t_connectorconstraint Constraints for connectors
t_connectortag Tagged values for connectors
t_connectortypes This table is used for the connector metatypes shown in the profile dialog. Also t_connector.Connector_Type can contain just elements from this table.
t_constants Various key/value pairs in misc. dialogues
t_constrainttypes List of constraint types defined with Settings/Project Types/General/Constraint
t_datatypes Definitions from Settings/Code Datatypes
t_diagram Diagram properties
t_diagramlinks Non-standrad links appearing in diagrams
t_diagramobjects Diagram elements
t_diagramtypes Legacy ⁈
t_document Contents of linked documents, baselines and more
t_ecf List of complexity factors defined with Settings/Project Types/Estimation Factors/Environment...
t_efforttypes List of effort factors defined with Settings/Project Types/Project Indicators/Effort
t_genopt Various options
t_glossary The system glossary
t_html Some HTLM strings for the doc generation
t_image The alternate pictures defined with Settings/Images...
t_implement Legacy ⁈
t_issues The system issues defined with View/More Project Tools/Project Information/Issues
t_lists Status Types defined with various Settings/Project Types/General Types/... tabs
t_method Legacy ⁈
t_metrictypes List of metric factors defined with Settings/Project Types/Project Indicators/Metric
t_object Basic UML elements
t_objectconstraint Constraints for elements
t_objecteffort Something related to project estimation
t_objectfiles The files linked in the properties/files for elements
t_objectmetrics Something related to project estimation
t_objectproperties Tagged values
t_objectrequires The internal requirements defined for elements
t_objectresource Something related to project estimation
t_objectrisks Something related to project estimation
t_objectscenarios The use case scenarios
t_objecttests Tests defined for elements
t_objecttrx Auto counters defined with Setting/Auto Names and Counters...
t_objecttypes EA internal rendering support
t_ocf Something related to project estimation
t_operation Operations for elements
t_operationparams Parameters for operations
t_operationposts Postconditions for operations
t_operationpres Preconditions for operations
t_operationtag Tagged values for operations
t_package Package container
t_palette Legacy ⁈
t_paletteitem Legacy ⁈
t_phase Legacy ⁈
t_primitives Code primitive types
t_problemtypes Problem types defined with Settings/Project Types/Maintenance/Problem Types
t_projectroles Values from Settings/People/Project Roles
t_propertytypes Predefined tagged values
t_requiretypes List of requirement types defined with Settings/Project Types/General/Requirements
t_resources List of resource defined with Settings/Project Types/People/Resources
t_risktypes List of risk factors defined with Settings/Project Types/Project Indicators/Risk
t_roleconstraint Legacy ⁈
t_rtf EA internal doc generation settings
t_rtfreport Some doc generation settings
t_rules Related to model validation ⁈
t_scenariotypes List of scenario types defined with Settings/Project Types/General/Scenario
t_script Local scripts
t_secgroup Security groups
t_secgrouppermission Security group permissions
t_seclocks Security locks
t_secpolicies Security settings
t_secuser Security users
t_secusergroup Security user/group assignments
t_secuserpermission Security user permissions
t_snapshot Audit log
t_statustypes List of status types defined with Settings/Project Types/General/Status
t_stereotypes Stereotypes
t_taggedvalue Smorgasbord for WSDL model elements. These are NOT the tagged values. Instead use t_objectproperties
t_tasks The system tasks
t_tcf List of complexity factors defined with Settings/Project Types/Estimation Factors/Technical...
t_template RTF templates ⁈
t_testplans This table is not currently used by EA6
t_testtypes List of test factors defined with Settings/Project Types/Maintenance/Test Types
t_trxtypes Matrix Profile; Painter Settings; more ⁈
t_umlpattern UML patterns imported via View/More Project Tools/Project Resources/UML Patterns
t_xref This and that
t_xrefsystem Various profiles
usys_system Key-value pairs for repository wide settings
usystables A list of all the tables above along with the version where they were introduced. This table is needed (only?) during a project transfer.
usysoldtables I have not the faintest idea ⁈
usysqueries I have not the faintest idea ⁈

2. Most Important Tables

In this chapter we are going into quite some details of the most important tables. Namely these are that for elements, packages, diagrams, diagram objects, connectors and tagged values. Those are the ones you most likely need to retrieve often.

The single columns have a short description of what I think is their meaning. Some are obvious, some are just smoke signals. A reference to the GUI screen shots is placed where this is possible.

To improve readability and reference the properties were either split into several sub-tables or the table has an indicator on top of a logical section. Each sub-table is sorted alphabetically according to the name in Column.

2.1 More things than you find in the Project Browser: t_object

As you already know, this table holds all elements stored in the repository. That is any element you can see in the project browser plus those not shown like notes, boundaries and a couple of other elements. Please note that the Package element is a pendant7 to the Package itself. Part of the information in both is redundant and both link to each other.

The following table lists the most important properties also to be found in the General properties window. The remaining properties are listed subsequently in logical groups.

Column Description
Alias Alias property
Author Author property
Complexity Complexity property
  Valid values are: 1 for Easy, 2 for Medium, 3 for Difficult
GenType Language property String value. Note that this value does not
  appear unless it is defined as Product in the Language Datatypes
Name Name property
Notes Notes property
PDATA5 Keywords property
Phase Phase property String value
Scope Scope property String value
Status Status property corresponds to values in t_statustypes
Stereotype Stereotype property
Version Version property
Column Description
Diagram_ID Only for Text elements; reference to primary key of the diagram
ea_guid A global UID shown here
  Use Repository.GetElementByGUID (ea_guid) to retrieve this element
Object_ID Primary, unique key for the element
  Use Repository.GetElementByID (Object_ID) to retrieve this element
Package_ID Primary key of the package where the element is located
ParentID Only for nested elements: primary key of the object
Classifier_guid Redundant GUID for the Classifier property

2.1.2 Details

Column Description
Abstract Abstract property
Cardinality Cardinality property String value
Concurrency String equivalent of the Concurrency property for class elements
IsActive Boolean values for the Is* properties
IsLeaf ditto
IsSpecification ditto
IsRoot ditto
Persistence Persistence property String value

2.1.3 Dock

Column Description
CreatedDate Created property
GenFile Filename property String value
ModifiedDate Modified property
Multiplicity Multiplicity property String value

2.1.4 Appearance

Column Description
Backcolor Background Color property RGB[^color] values in decimal
Bordercolor Border Color property RGB values in decimal
BorderStyle For frame-like elements (boundaries etc.).
  Corresponds to the style (0..3) where 3 = solid line
BoderWidth Border Width property
Fontcolor Font Color property RGB values in decimal
StyleEx See below

The StyleEx property once had been just the individual font settings. Once. But now it’s a Sparxian zoo where all sorts of homeless animals can gather. For example the Locked=TRUE; appears whenever an element has been marked on a diagram with the Is Locked context. The element is now protected from manual changes in the GUI (and even the API, though it does not tell the reason for an update failure in GetLastError) and the element shows a red excalamtion mark in the browser. There are a some more options used like ShowBeh, MDoc, EScrpt and LinkOpen which seem to be too exotic to be explained here (currently).

2.1.5 Misc

Column Description
Classifier NULL or 0 where not defined. If > 0 then it is the
  primary key of the element which classifies the element
Effort Always 0
EventFlags semi-colon separated list of attributes with links into the Risk/Metrics/etc. tables
GenOptions Some very nasty semi-colon separated list of attributes (used for code generation⁈)
GenLinks String value of the class which this one is specialized from
  Usually only set where classes are reverse engineered and the general class is missing
Header1/2 Used for code generation
NType 8: When the element is composite. The meaning of the other numbers is unclear
  0,1: Plain elements
  2: Event, Class, Constraint
  3: Class, StateNode
  4: InteractionFragment, StateNode, MessageEndpoint
  5: InteractionFragment, Object
  9: InteractionFragment
  10,11,12,13,14,100,101: StateNode
  17: AssociationClass
  18: Diagram Notes
  19: Hyperlink
  20: PackagingComponent
  1001: pseudo-port boundary
Object_Type String value
PDATA1 For Package elements: primary key of the package
  For Elements: Same as the Status column
  For Parts/Instances: GUID of the classifier
  For UseCase: #EXP#=<ep>; semi-colon separated list of Extension Points <ep>
  For Notes: linked element feature name
  For Text displaying as hyperlink: t_diagram.Diagram_ID
  For Requirements: Status property
  For UMLDiagrams: Diagram_ID of the underlying diagram;
  here NType == 0 means Frame and 1 Diagram Reference
PDATA2 For Elements: Same as the Priority column
  For Notes: Object_ID of the linked feature element
  For Requirements: Priority property
PDATA3 For Elements: Same as the Difficulty column
  For Notes: Reference name into the linked feature element
  For Ports in classified Parts: the GUID of the corresponding Port in the Classifier.
  For State: t_diagram.Diagram_ID of the composite diagram
  For Requirements: Difficulty property
PDATA4 For Note elements: Yes if the note is linked to an element feature and idref=<val>; list where <val> is the primary key of the connector(s) to which the note is linked
  For elements: If > 0 this is the primary key of the connector for which this element is defines as association class
RunState For objects a list of run state variables
Style A semi-colon separated list of attribute assignments.
  Besides others indicates a linked document if = MDoc=1;
Tagged Flag to show that an element it bookmarked (little red triangle in diagram)
TPos Tree order of the element in the project browser

2.1.6 Unknown or heritage

Column Description
Visibility Always NULL ⁈
StateFlags Always NULL ⁈
PackageFlags Always NULL ⁈
ActionFlags Always NULL ⁈

… omitted …

3. Element Feature Tables

Mainly the element features comprise attributes and methods. Both are stored in the tables detailed below.

… omitted …

4. Tagged Value Tables

Tagged values are not stored in t_taggedvalue but a couple of different tables.

… omitted …

The following tables are only relevant if user security has been turned on. In order to check whether security is turned on in the repository the t_secpolicies table must be queried.

… omitted …

6. Rarely Used Tables

Here you will find some details about tables which are not of major importance. However, from time to time you will also need to deal with them. Note that this section is going to be populated with more information during the next near future.

… omitted …

7. Marvelous References

This chapter might be the start of a new book. Or maybe it will stay thin because the treasures inside the t_xref table are too secret to be uncovered. We will see.

However, here are the bits from this marvelous table. Currently they are about stereotypes and MDG profiles but there’s a lot more hidden.

… omitted …

8. API Cross References

This chapter contains a cross reference from table columns to object properties in the API8.

The references are presented for both directions. As you will notice not all columns map to an API property and vice versa. The table also omits EaCollections as those are a result of a query itself and not a simple column.

I have currently only included the two most important table t_package and t_object.

8.1 t_package — EaPackage

t_package EaPackage | EaPackage t_package
BatchLoad BatchLoad | Alias t_object.Alias
BatchSave BatchSave | BatchLoad BatchLoad
CodePath - | BatchSave BatchSave
CreatedDate Created | Connectors -
ea_guid PackageGUID | Created CreatedDate
Gen_Notes - | Diagrams -
IsControlled IsControlled | Element -
LastLoadDate LastLoadDate | Elements -
LastSaveDate LastSaveDate | Flags PackageFlags
LogXML LogXML | IsControlled IsControlled
ModifiedDate Modified | IsModel -
Name Name | IsNamepace Namespace
Namespace IsNamepace | IsProtected Protected
Notes Notes | IsVersionControlled -
Package_ID PackageID | LastLoadDate LastLoadDate
PackageFlags Flags | LastSaveDate LastSaveDate
ParentID ParentID | LogXML LogXML
PkgOwner Owner | Modified ModifiedDate
Protected IsProtected | Name Name
TPos TreePos | Notes Notes
UMLVersion UMLVersion | ObjectType fixed 5
UseDTD UseDTD | Owner PkgOwner
Version Version | PackageGUID ea_guid
XMLPath XMLPath | PackageID Package_ID
    | Packages -
    | ParentID ParentID
    | TreePos TPos
    | UMLVersion UMLVersion
    | UseDTD UseDTD
    | Version Version
    | XMLPath XMLPath

… omitted …

9. Bits and Pieces

This section contains a couple of details for selected columns from where they are referenced. A back reference is included at the end of each chapter. Note that most of the following descriptions do not detail the contents but give a sample of the contents only. For those having dug that far it will be obvious how to decode the contents.

9.1 CSV Lists

A number of columns contain semi-colon separated lists in the format <key>=<value>; where these pairs can appear more than once thus forming a list of key-value pairs. Usually <key> is alphanumeric including ‘_’ (underscore). Value itself can contain any chars except ‘=’ and ‘;’.

I found that EA often does not check this constraint and if people enter e.g. a semi-colon in a name it will simply confuse EA in it’s later behavior but will not croak9 that an illegal char is used. Well, it’s EA.

… omitted …

10. User Settings

There are a couple of locations where EA stores information locally per user. These can be found in

  • Registry
  • %APPDATA%Sparx SystemsEA
  • %PROGRAMFILES%Sparx SystemsEA

These locations are mainly used to hold user options (those from Tools/Options), Layout information, MDG data and more.

10.1 Registry

If you need to change any of Tools/Options you likely have to go through the registry. And in order to take the changes effect you have to restart EA. I can’t go into details for each single option but instead give you a simple receipt how to find the right one in case you need it.

As an example we want to change the General/General/Author and General/General/Double Click. Per default they are set to Administrator and Shows Properties on my machine. So the first thing to do is to locate them. You can simply open the registry by entering regedit in the command line of the Windows Start menu. Next navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Sparx Systems\EA400\EA which should look like this:

Now you need to export the current contents of the EA branch:

In order to spot the difference the options must be changed. Setting the author to Someone and checking Opens Branch will modify the registry. The EA branch must be saved once more to another file. When comparing the two exports with WinMerge you can easily spot the differences.

Obviously the key Author holds the Author option as plain string and TDCLICK is an enumeration10. Since both values were added as new they will have defaults when not in the registry. So to get the default back you would need to remove the keys. In case of the TDCLICK you could also set it to 0.

Using the above schema you should be able to figure out any option/key pair.


… omitted …

11. Files and More

While repositories keep the most important information, namely the models, EA uses further resources which are placed in files and the registry. Both tend to inflate exponentially over time and EA versions and can not be completely covered here. However, a couple of landmarks are worth documentation.

… omitted …

12. GUI References

This section contains snapshots of various property windows. Many properties are highlighted with a red rectangle. For those a reference into the according table if given below the snapshot. In most cases the name of the property and the column name are identical. Some have just an additional blank for user readability. However, some properties differ from the column name. In that case the according user readable label is specified in parentheses right after the column name.

12.1 Element

Element related property windows also apply to packages due to the dualism of packages being also elements.

12.1.1 Dockable Properties Window


Label Column Label Column
Name t_object.Name Status t_object.Status
  t_package.Name Created t_object.CreatedDate
Scope t_object.Scope   t_package.CreatedDate
Type t_object.Object_Type Modified t_object.ModifiedDate
Stereotype t_object.Stereotype   t_package.ModifiedDate
Alias t_object.Alias Keywords t_object.PDATA5
Complexity t_object.Complexity GUID t_object.ea_guid
Version t_object.Version   t_package.ea_guid
Phase t_object.Phase Abstract t_object.Abstract
Language t_object.GenType Multiplicity t_object.Multiplicity
Filename t_object.GenFile Is* t_object.Is*
Author t_object.Author Persistence t_object.Persistence
Package t_object.Name (Name of parent package)    

12.1.2 General/Main Properties Window


Label Column
Name t_object.Name / t_package.Name
Notes t_object.Notes / t_package.Notes
Version t_object.Version / t_package.Version
Alias t_object.Alias
Author t_object.Author
Version t_object.Version
Stereotype t_object.Stereotype
Keywords t_object.PDATA5
Complexity t_object.Complexity
Status t_object.Status
GenType t_object.GenType
Phase t_object.Phase
Package t_object.Package_ID -> t_package.Name
Created t_object.CreatedDate
Modified t_object.ModifiedDate

Note that some properties are ambiguous as they appear in both t_object and t_package for package elements.

… omitted …

13. Query Caveats

Once you start using direct SQL you need to know:

All SQL are equal

But some SQL are more equal than others

And that’s unfortunately true. A SQL for MS Access (EAP) is different to that of its ‘big brother’ MS SQL Server.

… omitted …

14. SQL Search Builder

Once you worked out the previous chapters you are ready to provide your EA users with some fancy searches (available as download11). You find the search builder when navigating from Ctrl-F/Builder and pressing the left New Search icon.

… omitted …

15. Further Reading

Finally I would like to add a few links where you will get further help.

15.1 Feedback

Any questions you have are important. So you should ask them. Feedback is important for you, me and of course all the other readers. So you are encouraged to send these to one of the below links:
This thread on Sparx’ forum is a good place to ask questions of common interest. E.g. if you are missing certain information or you don’t understand something in this book which might be explained in more detail.
The page where you bought the book has a small discussion forum enabled. Here you can also post.
You can mail me directly if you have specific questions. Or maybe you have information regarding the ⁈ markers.

15.2 Scripting Enterprise Architect

I have not touched scripting much in this book. Basically because it would simply break the scope of this book. However, you might be interested in EA’s automation interface. My book Scripting Enterprise Architect which is available at will introduce you in that matter. Even if you are already firm with the API its references and a couple of not well known hints will make this a valuable guide for you.

15.3 Sparx Forum

Probably not necessary to name this source, but anyway:

When you post your questions here you should select the right forum and only post once. Getting help here is most likely the fastest lane you can find. I also post regularly.

15.4 Sparx Community

A not so well known source as Sparx itself does not link this on its forum pages:

Here you will find a variety of articles and resources around EA.

15.5 SQL in General

Of course: Google is your friend. But sometimes it’s nice to have a direct link:

This is nice place to get a quick reference to most of SQL. This info is available in different languages if you enter via the main site.

is a bit more responsive and condensed.

I once downloaded a compact HTML page with all information in it, but that site has ceased. So to get something similar see my remark above…

15.6 Geert Bellekens

Geert has become a kind of institution at Sparx’ forum. He is a regular poster. But beyond that he also has an excellent blog dealing with UML in general and Enterprise Architect in particular. Check it out:

You’ll also find entries dedicated to SQL usage in EA

with some more advanced SQL stuff.


1The EA version used to create this book was actually 9.3 (build 930). However, most of the references are also valid for earlier versions of EA.

2Not all tables/columns are clear in their meaning (to me). A ⁈ mark is placed where this is the case. Comments about clarification of their meaning are welcome! Just send me a mail to

3The latest finding by Colin Wood has been fixed December 2017. Thanks for notifying me.

4Cheers to Paolo and all the supporters at Sparx.

5I really loathe writing such legal blurb since it should be obvious. By the way: German Law applies! (Does that change anything?)

6As of EA version 9.3

7I have detailed this in my book Scripting EA.

8To find out more about the API have a look in my book Scripting EA.

9Just try this with a stereotype. Enter abc;def as stereotype. Save, close and re-open the element. Now it shows just abc. However, using the ellipsis will show abc;def as possible (but unchecked) stereotype. I already reported that as bug years ago. It’s still not fixed in V12…

10You would find that out when comparing after setting Double Click to Open Branch & Diagram which would result in a value of 2 for TDCLICK.