Building a community supported by free, open source tools
The Essential Project is not only about the tools. It provides a useful, active forum for sharing ideas and experiences of applying Enterprise Architecture practices to real world business problems - working together to shape the development of relevant tools.
Apply Enterprise Architecture in the real world
The Essential Project is a set of open source, enterprise architecture support tools developed to be used with a variety of EA approaches and frameworks. 'Essential' because these tools are focused on providing capabilities that are essentialto maximising the value of enterprise architecture; helping organisations manage and analyse the knowledge needed to make decisions that impact or are impacted by the enterprise architecture.
The Essential Architecture Meta Model, is a detailed, extensible, yet easy-to-use meta model for describing an enterprise from top to bottom. Essential Architecture Meta Model is published as open source and is available for use in any modelling toolset. Read More
Essential Architecture Manager is the reference implementation of the Essential Architecture Meta Model and includes advanced tools for both capturing and applying complex analysis to your architecture. This open-source toolkit is entirely free to download and use under the GNU GPL v3 license. Read More
See the standard out-of-the-box Essential Views in action with our live demo viewer.
To use the viewer, click on the View Library to see all the views, click on a view and in most cases, if you select something beginning with "A1" the view will work. There are a few views without "A1"s, in those cases select the first couple of "A"’s.
Please note that the demo is based on random data, so some values may seem unusual, however this is data we only use for testing.
We’re excited to announce the launch of a number of new Essential services that will make achieving results from Essential even easier:
If you’ve ever struggled with either knowing what data is needed to make a view work or with entering a large volume of data into Essential quickly, then View Loaders are for you.
Each loader consists of a simple to complete spreadsheet and an import spec which allows you, or anyone in your organisation that can use a spreadsheet, to import data directly into Essential and start using the view immediately.
We’ve started with some key views which we’ll add to regularly, but if you don’t see the loader you need drop us a line and we will push it to the top of list.
You can still make use of our existing services; View Development, Consulting and Training. We’re also busy working on a number of new initiatives which we will be announcing soon.
Essential Version 5 is the latest release from EAS of the world’s most popular open-source EA toolset. It is available to download for new users and as an upgrade for existing users. It is a truly major release and represents thousands of hours of effort, more than a quarter of a million lines of code and years of real-world use by some of the largest organisations in the world.
We’re really proud of this release and we hope you like it too.
The Essential Project Team
Version 5 of the Essential Meta Model contains some great new classes which continue to expand the potential of the tool. We’ve expanded classes to support Data and Information Management – something we’re seeing increasing demand for. We’ve also renamed Skills Management to Resource Management and vastly increased the scope and complexity of what can be captured here. There are lots of helper classes too, for example a new Commentary class allows you to add arbitrary notes to any object.
We’re finally taking the “beta” tag off the Essential Import Utility and we’ve bumped the version to 1.5. We’ve fixed a ton of bugs and introduced a new DUP (Data Update Pack) mode which allows you to generate an update package that can be applied to any repository using the Essential Update Tab in Protégé. This means you better control how you test and import data into different repositories (e.g. staging / pre-production). It also allows you to save those updates in case you want to apply them again at some point in the future. We’ve also added some help documentation in key places to help understand the tool a little better.
The biggest change in version 5 is Essential Viewer. Essential Viewer v5 is a complete overhaul of the framework used for developing reports and views. In Viewer versions 3 and 4 we had introduced a bespoke styling framework which, whilst comprehensive, wasn’t as well documented as we had planned. With version 5 we have migrated all the out-of-the-box views to use the world’s most popular framework, Bootstrap by Twitter. In their own words – “Bootstrap is the most popular HTML, CSS, and JS framework for developing responsive, mobile first projects on the web.”. For Essential Viewer, this means all our out-of-the-box views are now mobile responsive and work on any device size. They also look better than ever with a new beautiful edge-to-edge design. For you and your developers, it means you can build views using a well documented, popular framework and easily create great views with a consistent design.
Speaking of design, we’ve also made it possible now to adjust the colours and branding of the site, directly in the repository (under Viewer_Styling). You can set your own corporate colours and specify a logo without writing any code. We’ve provided a couple of colour schemes as examples but you should feel free to go ahead and create your own.
Essential Viewer 5 contains even more views than ever including a (much requested) new Application Provider summary and a brand new Application Deployment Summary amongst others. We have more views planned for later this year too. With so many views available, we know people were customising the homepage - turning views on and off – to simplify the home page. We think this is a great idea but has the unfortunate side effect of hiding the power of Essential later down the line. People either forget to turn views that may be useful back on or indeed some users are never aware of the full potential of Essential.
To address this, we’ve implemented a new approach to how we group views and reports together and what represents a “Home Page”. We call them “Portals” and you’ll find a new section in the Essential Meta Model (under Essential_Viewer) which allows you to create these portals. To us a portal is a “home page” with a collection of views focused around a particular activity. Out of the box, we’ve provided a portal called “Enterprise Architecture” but you might want to create a new portal called “My Company EA Portal”. Taking the concept further, you might also create additional portals built around a theme, focus area or initiative. For example, you might a “Data Management Portal” which collects views to support a Data Management project or a “Service Delivery Portal” which collects together reports for support the Service Delivery teams. You can have as many portals as you like and best of all they’re configured using the repository – no code required. This means you’ll no longer need to “switch off” views just to simplify the page. Simply create a portal with just your key views and add them as you go. All the other views will then still be available in the “View Library”. We’ve updated the "View Library” page to feature a screenshot of every key view. This will allow you to understand what each view will look like when you’ve added your data.
Finally, we’ve even thought about the issue of multiple “home” pages. Hover over the company logo and a list appears of the current portals allowing you to quickly jump to the “right” home page or click the icon and jump to the list of portals.
Upgrading the v4 Meta Model is an easy process and upgrade packages are provided to run using the Essential Update Tab in Protégé.
How you upgrade the Essential Import Utility will depend on which version you’re currently running. Later versions (1.0+) have functionality to export all the configuration which can be then imported into the new version. If you’re running an older version (pre-v1.0) then you may find it easier to setup the Import Utility as a clean deployment and manually setup and import your Spreadsheets and Import Specifications. In all versions of the Import Utility, all of your current import specifications can be exported from each of your import activities, ready to be imported into activities in the new version of the Essential Import Utility.
The switch to the Bootstrap framework will make developing new views quicker, cheaper and easier but it is a big change from the code for version 4. The new code is cleaner and easier to understand and should help you and your developers get more from Essential Viewer. The process for upgrading Essential Viewer will depend significantly on the level of customisation you have implemented as part of your deployment.
Alternatively, EAS professional services can help with any upgrade and is a cost effective way to ensure a smooth upgrade.
A number of clients have been surprised by how far you can take Essential beyond the out of the box views. Because you can achieve a lot with a little work, we thought we’d share some examples in this short video.
Click here for Art of the Possible
EAS, sponsors of The Essential Project, are pleased to announce the availability of a new range of Essential Support Packs. These packs offer dedicated, premier support for the Essential Toolset in great value bundles.
The support packs provide email, telephone and web support for the initial installation and configuration of the Essential platform, as well as technical platform support. Additionally, some packs offer product support (including modelling support, view development support and integration support) to help teams get the most from Essential.
These packs have been designed to help organisations get up and running with Essential quickly and cost-effectively. There are smaller support packs that are great for POCs and startup projects and larger product support packs for more established deployments.