Improve element layout in your enterprise architecture diagrams: Lessons from Pick-up-Stix
March 16, 2017
Do you remember Pick Up Stix? As a kid I loved to play Pick Up Stix. We used to have carpet, so our games looked like this:
Now I have hard wood flooring, and the games look like this:
Playing on hardwood is awful - the game is never in its sweet spot. Either the sticks scatter all over the place making it too easy or else; they are all laying on top of each other and they can roll freely making some games impossible to complete. On carpet at least they couldn't roll on you... and you could stuff your finger into the carpet to get underneath a stick... and ... so many techniques that are now useless.
Sound familiar? The ability to select existing components and connections based on a graphical query and drop them onto a canvas with a predefined template, aka Element Selection, is a pretty awesome power to have at your disposal in an Enterprise Modeling tool, however sometimes it can leave us with a game of Pick Up Stix to sort out.
Aside from trying different auto layouts or doing Element Selection in a step-wise fashion, here's what I do when I have this problem:
- Add parent objects in order to group components
- Add Anchor points to connections
- Move the anchored connection around
- Add an anchor to the endpoint of the connection
Now the game feels much more competitive - feels like the old days when we used to play on carpets.
- Luis Fernandez
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