Cutting Through Complexity

Scalable Views

Zentegra provides scalable displays of your system architecture similar to cartographic web maps. The scalability of the display enables viewers to start exploring at a specific scale, zoom in to see underlying details and zoom out to see the larger picture.

Zoomable map

From the whole Earth to your street – Google Maps zooming example


True understanding and insight occurs when we can see and form mental connections between a concept and the details that support it while simultaneously being aware of its wider context.



Zoomable Architecture Diagrams

The following series of examples illustrate the idea of zoomable integration architecture diagrams.

Slide3-w320At the highest scale the enterprise is represented as an opaque box that exchanges information with external entities. Starting with this view, we can zoom in on the enterprise or on any of the connecting arrows to see further detail.
Slide4-w320Zooming in on the central box, we see that the enterprise is made up of individual systems that are interconnected.
Slide5-w320Picking one of the systems and zooming in reveals that the system is made up of a number of interacting applications. We can also observe that some of the applications are  connected to other systems and some directly to external entities.
Slide6-w320Selecting one of the above applications and continuing our drill down, we see that the app is made up of a number of connected modules.
Slide7-w320If we open up one of the modules, we can see that it contains a number of programs (or objects) that are organized in an elaborate structure.
Slide8-w320 When we zoom in on one of the programs (or object), we can see the program’s source code. It is here that the connecting arrows ultimately start and end. We can observe that this particular program has the following relationships:

  • accesses a data file from another system;
  • updates a table in a shared database;
  • sends a message to another application;
  • calls another program within the same module.

Some of these relationships have very little or no relevance outside the module while other relationships can impact the whole enterprise with serious financial consequences in the case of malfunction.

Just by looking at the source code, it is impossible to tell which one is which.

There are two important points to recognize:

  1. The structure and behaviour of systems are defined by the source code. The higher level views are cognitive aids and means of communication between designers, developers and other stakeholders.
  2. The validity and usefulness of all higher level diagrams depend on how truly they represent what the programs actually do.