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Using colors when modeling

The RISE Editor allows you color your modeling objects to further enhance model clarity. For flexibility, this is done per drawn object so that the same entity, view or interface may have different colors on different drawings.

There's virtually an endless number of possible applications of color when modeling. For instance, colors can be used to make the model easier to understand, more appealing to look at or to explain things that are outside the scope of more formal modeling. Some usage ideas are:
  1. To highlight some of the entities in a drawing to clarify the drawing context.
  2. To divide the entities in a model in to sub-models. It's less space consuming than using name prefixes.
  3. To differentiate those entities that represent business objects from those that are technical constructs.
  4. To mark entities that are Singleton or governed by some other specific rule.
  5. In an analysis model, as opposed to a design model, to display the state of a complex dynamic object.
Obviously, colors are highly visual and space conservative. That's what makes them a great candidate for drawing purposes but they have no real, predefined, meaning. The RISE Editor does in no way understand the difference between a blue and a yellow entity. Furthermore, if color interpretation is vital in order for the reader to understand the model, you should provide a definition of the color usage. For instance, by placing a textual definition in the model main drawing, or similar. By doing so you'll also increase the likelihood of consistent usage throughout the drawings in the model.

The drawing below shows an example on how you could use coloring. In this case, we're looking at a larger model from the perspective of an order, i.e this is the Order drawing. This model contains other drawings as well, such as the Customer drawing where customer related data is in focus and drawn using blue background. The Address entity is technical, representing a complex reusable data type. It's placed in the drawing to make clear that the Customer has an address and that the order is shipped to an address and, finally, that this system has a single address implementation.

You may also change the default colors, used by the standard drawing objects, on per installation or per model basis.