Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect Review

Extensive features, easy to set up and quite robust


What is our primary use case?

I use the solution primarily to get some design done and to have some guidance and documentation.

What is most valuable?

The product overall is quite good.

The initial setup is easy.

The solution is quite robust.

What needs improvement?

The solution is difficult to learn.

The documentation needs a bit of improvement. What I find is that when I'm trying to do something specific for some part of a project, in terms of documentation, it's kind of hard to get at figuring out if you don't use it all the time. 

It's hard, because it's such a massive tool, to figure out how to dig in and to get to the place you need to go. The documentation would give you some idea of what to do. There's just not a lot of examples that are fully baked that I'm aware of.

The user interface is difficult, however, it was going to be difficult anyway, because of all the things we have to do when we're doing design and trying to figure out use cases and stuff like that. What I'm getting at is more tutorials are needed. You should be able to just to pick it up and say, okay, for this kind of thing, I'm going to go through this tutorial step by step and get it completed. And I don't see that as an option for getting to know the solution.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There are always peculiarities in any large package like this. I didn't see anything that sent anything off the rails. We've come to accept a lot of things. That's just the way it is.  We go on, but there has never been anything that's really been a big problem.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is not a problem at all. You can always increase the footprint of what the thing can do due to the fact that it's so powerful.

I do plan on increasing the usage of it. If I've got a finite state machine and I'm trying to figure out "how do I document this thing", then I'll go headlong into this solution and try to figure out what I have to do to document everything and apply it to what I'm doing. 

The specific design use cases can be difficult. It's not just coming up with C++ classes and stuff like that. It's just a bunch of UML, but there are things that you have to have both the graphical presentation and the words fold together to figure out what the heck is going on in this design. That's why I'll probably continue to use it, and expand my usage of it.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

In the past, I've used Enterprise Architecture. It gives you a good overview of the tool, however, I found it was difficult for me to take that example and apply it to what I'm trying to accomplish in documenting the design.

How was the initial setup?

I didn't have any problem with the original setup at all. I wouldn't say it is complex. It's pretty straightforward.

Deployment takes probably over an hour due to the fact that, once you get it installed, it takes a while to configure it for the part of the project you want to use it for. It's got such a massive footprint as far as what you could use it for in a project, that if you're a one or two-man shop, it takes a while. With such a massive tool, there's just a lot of man-hours to get everything as you need it.

We don't really have the bandwidth to have a specific person to maintain the solution; we do that ourselves.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I just have a one-seat license manager. I'm not sure what the pricing is on it.

What other advice do I have?

We're just a customer. We don't have a business relationship with Sparx.

The solution is deployed through the application installed on a Windows 10 machine and I do everything on the machine, not on the Cloud. I stay away from the Cloud. We're not that big, basically a two-man shop. 

The advice that I would give other users is that you better be willing and able to spend a lot of time outside of regular working hours to get to know the tool because it's difficult to just pick it up. If you've got no mentors, or if you've got no tutorials that are so specific as to cover what you're trying to do, you have to dig it out. It's difficult.

That said, the solution is as good as they come. 

I'd rate the solution nine out of ten. If it offered more tutorials, I might give it full marks. At the end of the day, the solution is only as good as the person using it.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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