Rhapsody Tips 'n Tricks Videos (26-50)

Tip# Description YouTube
#26 Rhapsody Tip #26 - Avoiding kinky lines, e.g., when drawing activity diagrams (Simple)
When I'm drawing a diagram in Rational Rhapsody - such as an activity diagram in SysML/UML - I often end up going back to the diagram to remove kinks in things like control or object flows. A simple technique to stop this happening is to press the Ctrl key when drawing the line. This very short 1’15’’ video illustrates. This is a simple proactive technique that means you spend less time going back to adjust lines you’ve just drawn. This video, as it uses Rhapsody 8.2.1, also gives a quick view of the new on-diagram toolbar which also speeds things up as it reduces the need to go back to the drawing toolbar, and reminds you that there’s also a Stamp Mode that can speed up wiring up actions on an activity diagram.
#27 Rhapsody Tip #27 - Controlling which Sequence Diagrams get animated (Simple)
When running simulations in IBM Rational Rhapsody, it's common for new users to end up with a proliferation of animated sequence diagrams open. This problem can compound itself each time you run. This video covers simple techniques for avoiding this situation and overviews the use of the SequenceDiagram::General::AutoLaunchAnimation property that controls this Rhapsody behavior. Also covered in the video is the DisplayMessagesToSelf property which can be used to simplify animated sequence diagrams, so they only focus on the messages between lifelines.
#28 Rhapsody Tip #28 - Using explicit vs derived configs to define what to build (Intermediate)
I sometimes get asked to explain how to define what to build for a Rhapsody model simulation. You can do this either using global parts (which exist in the browser) or using a composite structure, i.e. a Block that has parts which are then connected together. The latter is actually the more powerful as you can tell Rhapsody to derive the bits of the model to build using the "assembly block". Using the property called HighlightElementsInActiveScope you can see in the browser which elements are in active scope, i.e. will be built. This video hopefully explains.
#29 Rhapsody Tip #29 - Understanding UML standard ports vs. SysML proxy ports (Intermediate)
One of the key topics in my instructor-led SysML and MBSE training is getting to grips with different types of ports and interfaces in UML/SysML models. While SysML introduces two new ports in 1.3, full and proxy, there may be still models where standard and flow ports may be a better choice, or projects that predate the new port forms. Choosing the right one is crucial to value but depends a lot on context, and constraints, and needs. This silent video based on a new lab in my instructor-led 3 and 4 day training contrasts UML standard ports with SysML proxy ports, a new type of port in SysML 1.3 on-wards. It highlights some, but not all, of the key differences.
#30 Rhapsody Tip #30 - Understanding units and the Edit Unit dialog (Intermediate)
A 'Unit' in Rhapsody is a files on the File System in which model information is stored. Understanding the concept of units is base knowledge for those wanting to configure Rhapsody projects under source-code management tool control, or to share information across projects on the file system. By default units are created for each package. It's also possible to create units at a finer level of granularity, e.g., for elements based on components, classes, objects and diagrams. This can be done individually or by setting project properties.
#31 Rhapsody Tip #31 - Referencing units in other projects (Intermediate)
This Rational Rhapsody helper videos follows on from my video #30 on units. In this video we look at referencing units from other Rhapsopdy projects. Building families of projects that reference each other can often be better than having a single monolithic project. Separation of concern across projects means that projects can be managed separately, in different locations, and with separate versioning yet they can share common elements or interfaces. In this video I show how two projects can reference the same common unit in another project. The video also shows something that I didn't know until very recently. If you manage to import two projects that reference and nest the same third party unit, then Rhapsody will deal with the duplicate import situation by creating a linked unit.
#32 Rhapsody Tip #32 - Graphical merge using Rhapsody's 3-way DiffMerge tool (Intermediate)
Although Rational Rhapsody has a multi-user repository in Design Manager available, it has historically a file-based tool which integrates directly with configuration management tools. Core to SCM is making sure the tool of choice (e.g. RTC, ClearCase, Synergy) is configured to use the Rational Rhapsody DiffMerge tool. DiffMerge is therefore a separate tool launched independent to Rhapsody that understands Rhapsody projects and how to merge them. Included in this is a very advanced feature known as 3-way merge. This video shows the basic operation of the DiffMerge when dealing with parallel changes to the same project and diagrams.
#33 Rhapsody Tip #33 - Conveying Standard Content using stereotypes (Advanced)
This silent helper video illustrates a built-in feature of IBM Rational Rhapsody called Standard Content. This feature allows you to define standard content that you want to apply whenever you apply the stereotype to a model element. First off, you need to define the standard content, i.e. the template. You then need to establish a dependency to it from the stereotype you want to apply, and stereotype the dependency using «StandardContent» from the pre-defined types. Now, whenever you apply the stereotype to a model element, the standard content will be merged with the elements content (preserving existing content if there's a conflict).
#34 Rhapsody Tip #34 - Diagrams: Bridges for line intersections (8.3.1)
With 8.3.1 in the release pipeline, this video gives taster of one of the customer-requested usability enhancements in the RC1 open beta. Of-course, Visio does this kind of thing but it's nice to see that the team are polishing IBM Rational Rhapsody's diagramming capabilities and this is one of my favorites. The feature works when the line is rectilinear_arrows or rounded_rectilinear_arrows. Two General::Graphics properties can be used to control it. RectilinearBridgeDrawing turns it on and off, and RectilinearBridgeShape can be set to Rounded, Rectangle, Triangle, or Space.
#35 Rhapsody Tip #35 - Nested ports in SysML 1.3 (Intermediate)
This short video illustrates how to do nested ports with SysML proxy ports and their associated InterfaceBlock. Nested ports are enabled via a right-click menu on the SysML port. Interestingly when you add a nested port to a port, then it is added to the Block or InterfaceBlock that is typing the port. This video shows a proxy port example with an InterfaceBlock. Rhapsody also supports the same capability with FullPorts. As such you could use similar steps to model physical interfaces with Full Ports typed by Blocks.
#36 Rhapsody Tip #36 - Stamp Mode including double-click in 8.3.1 (Simple)
Stamp Mode has been in the IBM Rational Rhapsody drawing toolbar for a long while. This short 1 min info video shows how it works and what it's for and also highlights an improvement to it in Rhapsody v8.3.1 (2018). If you double rather than single click a tool then essentially stamp mode will become enabled. This reduces the effort required to enable it by making it easier to turn.
#37 Rhapsody Tip #37 - Filter diagrams and the browser with CustomViews (Intermediate)
You can easily get the impression with IBM Rational Rhapsody's CustomViews that they're too powerful for their own good. The possibilities are endless though, hence they have a lot of pent-up power you can unleash. First introduced in 8.2.1, this video actually uses 8.3.1 to show them (hence you'll see me double-click the drawing toolbar to enable stamp mode!).
#38 Rhapsody Tip #38 - Introducing Diagram Views, new in 8.3.1 (Intermediate)
In my previous Rhapsody tips and tricks video I covered a feature of IBM Rational Rhapsody known as Custom Views. This capability worked in conjunction with things like Queries to create filtered views. The powerful thing about these views is that they can filter both the diagrams and the browser in Rhapsody. The thing is that the filtered diagrams would only be visible if the Custom View was active. In 8.3.1, the Rhapsody development team have expanded Rational Rhapsody’s capabilities by allowing these views to be persisted in the browser. These persisted views are known as diagrams views.
#39 Rhapsody Tip #39 - Nested states, the art of state-machine design (Intermediate)
Increasingly in my IBM Rational Rhapsody training I've been getting engineers to communicate with each other by drawing UML/SysML diagrams as a group exercise. Like with any natural language there is often more than one way to say the same thing. Knowing the best way is sometimes an art. The use of nested states is one such example. If you're building a state machine and I find I have many states reacting to the same event, then this little voice pops into my head which says "should I create a superstate?". Sometimes it's obvious whether a superstate is good, sometimes less so (that's the art).
#40 Rhapsody Tip #40 - Using context patterns to show a chain of elements in a table (Advanced)
I've reached video 40! This is an introduction to building table layouts with context patterns. Even simple tables in IBM Rational Rhapsody can be quite powerful. When we create a TableLayout, we can have each row represent a single element in the model, with each column displaying information about that element. We can also build relation tables, where the row represents a relationship between two elements. Alternatively, we can have a row in the table represent a hierarchy of elements in the model. To build a chain of elements as a table row, we can use a more advanced concept called a context pattern. A context pattern is a comma-separated list of tokens. It is a way to describe a path of elements in the model.
#41 Rational Rhapsody Tip #41 - Making the recent files list wider (Advanced)
This IBM Rational Rhapsody tips and tricks video shows how to get Rhapsody to use more characters when displaying the Recent Files list in the File menu. The variable is called MaxDisplayLength and needs to be set in the [General] section of the .ini file. This was new in Rhapsody 8.3.1, hence you may have to upgrade for it to work. The value of the variable should be the number of characters that you want to have displayed. If you set MaxDisplayLength to -1, there is no limit on the width of the menu. Be careful though. Rhapsody writes to the .ini file. As with all manual .ini file changes be sure that Rhapsody is not running when you edit it.
#42 Rational Rhapsody Tip #42 - Create dependencies between read-only elements (Advanced)
This came up recently with a couple of customers. Both were asking "how can I create dependencies if the owner is read-only?". Well, this is possible with IBM Rational Rhapsody. However, you need Rhapsody 8.3, or later (January 2018). In 8.3 the General tab of the Features dialog has separate listings for both the Dependent and Depends On element. The owner is implicit from the element’s location, so generally you need to create the dependency first (under an owner that is read-write) and then move it.
#43 Rational Rhapsody Tip #43 - Toggling between specification vs structured views (Basic and Advanced)
This tip came from a recent email exchange I had where I was explaining how to add and remove compartments on classes/blocks in IBM Rational Rhapsody. When you look at the Block or Class on a diagram it can be shown in either structured or specification view mode. The specification view is also known as a compartment view and allows the user to show any number of compartments with selected data shown. It contrasts with the structured view which essentially shows an internal block diagram (or composite structure diagram). You can toggle between the views using an icon in the zoom toolbar.
#44 Rational Rhapsody Tip #44 - RMM 6.0.6 accept/deliver workflow and icons (Intermediate)
I've had quite a few people asking about collaborative working in IBM Rational Rhapsody so I quickly knocked up this video that shows IBM Rhapsody Model Manager (Jazz/am). Rhapsody Model Manager is a version of RTC designed for models, hence the integration is similar but improved to the RTC integration (i.e. better in 6.0.6). Included are also more commands in the right-click menu in Rhapsody, that makes it's easy to navigate to the RTC Client. RMM is licensed as per Design Manager hence potentially already bundled in your licensing (something to check).
#45 Rational Rhapsody Tip #45 - Making safe use of the ReferenceUnitFile property (Advanced)
This video covers use of the General::Model::ReferenceUnitPath property (using IBM Rational Rhapsody v8.3.1). This property tells Rhapsody to set a relative reference to the unit file whenever you do Add to model. This is particularly useful when you have multiple components in an SCM tool such as Rhapsody Model Manager (Jazz/am 6.0.6 is shown here). This is because different users will have different root folders on their local file system where they will store and access the projects. Not using relative references would result in lots of "cannot find unit" problems when opening projects. By setting the ReferenceUnitPath property you can alleviate these problems (assuming all the components share the same roots). However, there is one major pitfall ...
#46 Rational Rhapsody Tip #46 - Adding editable units outside the project directory (Advanced)
Normally with an IBM Rational Rhapsody project the writable units are all configured as part of the model under the _rpy folder. As such referenced units would historically always be read-only. In Rhapsody 8.1.5 it became possible to add a referenced unit outside the project directory and have that unit be writable. To do this you need to deselect the Copy into model option when adding the unit. This video demonstrates with Rhapsody 8.3.1. The feature also works when you have separate models as different components in Rational Team Concert or Rhapsody Model Manager (I slipped this into the demo at the end). Hope that helps!
#47 Rational Rhapsody Tip #47 - Condition Marks On Sequence Diagrams (Intermediate)
Basically, Condition Marks in IBM Rational Rhapsody sequence diagrams can be used to annotate information about the state of an object at a time in a sequence. Usually they represent states in the object's state machine, although you can also provide information about the state of attributes (or anything else as it matters). By default, they will be free flowing text. As this video shows, however, you can check a box and choose to select an element (the most obvious being a state in the relevant state chart). Whether this is valuable may depend on what you’re doing, of course. As this video shows, if you’re able to animate your model then you can create sequence on the fly that have the state value’s annotated in the condition marks.
#48 Rational Rhapsody Tip #48 - Pessimistic Locking and Rhapsody Model Manager 6.0.6 (Advanced)
By default RTC and RMM both have a very modern optimistic strategy towards changes. That is they won't lock files. In fact, there is no check-out parsay, rather RMM/RTC track changes to the files automatically and group them into changesets. Changesets are nifty for a number of reasons. In this video, however, I show that it is possible to change the strategy to pessimistic if you want. To do this you can configure the stream to auto-lock files so they are read-only. This forces the user to have to change the read/write status in order to make changes and this change of status can be used to lock the file so that nobody else can edit them. When a deliver is then made, then the lock can be released. In this way a pessimistic approach can be taken. This video includes demo of this with Rational Rhapsody 8.3.1 (iFix2) and Rhapsody Model Manager 6.0.6.
#49 Rational Rhapsody Tip #49 - 3 ways to open an animated state machine (Simple)
This super quick "tips and tricks" video for IBM Rational Rhapsody shows the 3 classic ways to open an animated statechart in Rhapsody. The main thing to remember is that you need running instances in order to do this. Simulations start in the un-initialized state in order to enable you to debug the initialization sequences so you usually click Go Idle or Go to initialize the instances. You then have 3 options: Either the Tools menu, via right-click on an animated sequence diagram lifeline or by finding the instance in the browser. The latter is made easier if you first filter the browser to animation view. Finding the instance when using the Tools menu can be labor some when you have a lot, hence I normally go for the animated sequence diagram approach. Viola, you can then fire events into the system and view its emergent behavior.
#50 Rational Rhapsody Tip #50 - Using Rhapsody automation to simply usage (Advanced)
In my 50th tips and tricks video I thought I'd highlight one of the areas where I've seen the most productive MBSE value come over the last few years, particularly when deploying Rhapsody to a wider community of users. This video shows an example of tailoring using a profile and supporting plug-in. The code base itself is part of my SysML Helper (v3) profile development which has moved from being just focused on executable MBSE, to supporting a range of different methods. The key thing about automation is that experts can define how to set-up the tool. I can then utilise automation and deep IBM Rational Rhapsody product knowledge, so that end-users can focus on the engineering problems they're trying to solve rather than the tool.

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