Browsing existing artifacts and links

Changing a requirement may have grave consequences on artifacts depending on it. YAKINDU Traceability can help you visualize the extend of such impacts. This blog post has an overview: "Visualize the relation between artifacts with YAKINDU Traceability".

YT Explorer

The YT Explorer view can be used to navigate over traces and artifacts in a tree view. It also provides access to several traceability functions, like filtering and reporting over its menu. Expanding the tree shows the artifacts related to the traces. The tree is pruned in order to avoid cycles. A double-click on an artifact shows that artifact in its origin editor. By default, YT Explorer displays only linked artifacts, but it can be configured to also display unlinked ones.

In the YT Explorer tree, you can select one or more artifacts. Selecting multiple artifacts is useful to populate the YT Editor or YT Favorites views quickly, or to delete multiple links at the same time.

If an element in the YT Explorer tree has a lot of children, the latter are grouped into chunks with separate nodes that can be opened and closed individually. By default, „a lot of children” means „thousand or more”. You can configure that number in the preferences under Layout and Views, i.e., select Window → Preferences in the main menu, then open YAKINDU Traceability → Layout and Views.

Please note: For performances reasons, the Select All action ([Ctrl]+A) will not select the entire tree if the number of expanded elements is too high. The exact behavior of this action is undetermined in this case. The only guarantee is that this action will select all items currently visible (on screen), plus a few more. The same goes for multi-selection via [Shift]+click or [Ctrl]+click, which might not select the entire range of elements if there are too many elements.

The menu provides access to several grouping modes.

  • Artifact type (undirected), default: Displays traces grouped by artifact types without regarding the link direction.
  • Artifact type (directed): Displays traces grouped by artifact types, taking the direction into account (from A to B). Each artifact that is linked as A can be expanded to show the artifacts that are linked to it as B.
  • Link type: Displays traces grouped by link types.
  • Resource: Displays traces grouped by resources.

By default, the YT Explorer shows only linked artifacts (i.e., artifacts with at least one incoming or outgoing link), regardless of the chosen grouping. By activating the toggle „Show Unlinked Artifacts” in the menu (or by pressing the corresponding tool bar icon), you can display also unlinked artifacts (i.e., artifacts without any incoming or outgoing link). Note that this can incur a significant performance penalty when there are many unlinked artifacts. Unlinked artifacts are marked with the same symbol that is used for the „Show Unlinked” toggle. For the grouping mode „Link type”, no unlinked artifacts are shown independent of the toggle state.

Filter the displayed links

The YT Explorer provides two means to filter the content:

  • A fast textual filter that considers artifact names only
  • Means to configure and save filter configurations which consider attributes of the link type and the artifact type as they are defined in the YT Configuration, e.g., link types, artifact types etc.

Textual filters

Textual filters can be defined in the text field at the top of the YT Explorer. If a textual filter is set, the Explorer shows only artifacts (and the belonging links) with a name that conforms to that filter. Note that you need to hit enter in order to confirm your filter. Entering a blank (empty) text or a click on the rubber icon clears the filter.
The Regexp checkbox controls whether the entered text works as a plain text filter or as a regular expression:

  • A plain text filter matches if the name of an artifact contains the given text. It is not case-sensitive.
  • A regexp filter matches if the identifier matches the given expression.

Synchronize selection

The YT Explorer can be put into synchronize selection mode. If the mode is activated, the YT Explorer will listen for selection events and if a artifact is selected that has trace links, only the related artifacts will be displayed. This mode can be activated by clicking in the toolbar or by selecting Synchronize Selections in the menu.

Label Decorations

YT visualizes different states of artifacts via so-called label decorations. These decorations can be enabled or disabled under Window → Preferences → General → Appearance → Label Decorations. The label decorations specific to YAKINDU Traceability are on the bottom of the list. These are the following label decorations to enable or disable:

  • YT Artifact Issue Decorator
  • YT Artifact Locked Decorator
  • YT Artifact Type Decorator
  • YT Artifact Unlinked Decorator
  • YT Artifact Adapter Decorator
  • YT Children numbers
  • YT Link Issue Decorator
  • YT Link Locked Decorator
  • YT Link Relation Decorator
  • YT Link Type Issue Decorator
  • YT Self-Linked Artifact Decorator

The image shows the default settings for the YAKINDU-Traceability-specific label decorations. The YT Artifact Type Decorator and the YT Children numbers decorator are disabled by default, all others are enabled. Some of the decoration labels are only visible in the YT Explorer, others only in the YT Overview and some are visible in both views.

The following sections will go into detail for each label decoration. Each section includes an image that shows example artifacts with the corresponding label decoration. All other label decorations are disabled in the preferences.

YT Artifact Issue Decorator

Artifacts can be labeled with three different issue types via the YT Artifact Issue Decorator. An issue can be labeled as information, warning or error. The decoration icon will be in the top left corner of the artifact icon. This decoration is shown both in the YT Explorer and in the YT Overview. The example below shows the error issue decoration for artifacts.

YT Artifact Locked Decorator

If it is not possible or not permitted to edit a particular artifact, it will be labeled on the bottom right of the artifact icon with a lock icon as shown in the image.

YT Artifact Type Decorator

The YT Artifact Type Decorator writes the type of each Artifact as a suffix behind the name of the artifact, separated with a colon.

YT Artifact Unlinked Decorator

With the YT Artifact Unlinked Decorator enabled, a small icon will appear on the top right of the icon for each artifact which has no link to another artifact. This icon is visible in the YT Explorer and in the YT Overview, as shown in the picture below.

YT Artifact Adapter Decorator

The YT Artifact Adapter Decorator decorates artifact types with the data access type as a suffix. Similar to the YT Artifact Type Decorator.

YT Children numbers

The YT Children numbers decorator is one of the two decorators which are not enabled per default. When it is enabled, it counts how many children a node has. It doesn’t count the children of the children, it counts just on the first level. For example, in the picture below, the Requirements (Excel) Adapter has 12 children and the artifact R Module A:3 has 5 children.

YT Link Issue Decorator

Similar to the YT Artifact Issue Decorator, a link can be labeled with three different icons: information, warning and error. This label is shown on the link between two artifacts in the YT Overview. In the example below, there is an error icon on the link.

YT Link Locked Decorator

This decorator is only visible in the YT Overview and marks a link between two artifacts with a lock if this link is not editable.

YT Link Relation Decorator

This decorator is visible in the YT Explorer if the Group By setting is set to Link Type. Then, the artifact types involved in each link type is shown behind the link type.

YT Link Type Issue Decorator

Similar to the YT Link Relation Decorator, this decoration is visible in the YT Explorer if the Group By setting is set to Link Type. It is labeled with an issue icon in the top left corner of the link type icon.

YT Self-Linked Artifact Decorator

When an artifact is linked with itself, we call it a self-linked artifact. With the YT Self-Linked Artifact Decorator enabled, you can see which artifacts have this property. When it is enabled, self-linked artifacts will be labeled with a symbol behind the name. This symbol is visible in the YT Explorer and in the YT Overview.

YT Overview

The YT Overview view displays a live impact analysis graph by showing artifacts that are related to the current context. A double-click on an artifact node in the graph opens the artifact in its corresponding editor.
The zooming can be adjusted by the icons Zoom in, Zoom out, Zoom to fit, Zoom to original size, and Auto Zoom to fit in the toolbar of YT Overview.

Using the menu, you can invoke a couple of operations:

  • Setting the depth of the shown graph.
  • Switching the context definition:
    • Current selection: YT Overview calculates a graph consisting of the last selected artifact as „root” and all artifacts linked to this root with a distance that is not longer than the chosen depth.
    • All traces: YT Overview always shows the complete trace graph. Selection and depth are not considered.
  • Displaying directed links only (links outgoing from the selection until the specified depth) or displaying all links (incoming as well as outgoing).
  • Defining an exclusion filter. This is a blacklist of artifact types. Artifacts of these types won’t be shown in YT Overview.

Learn more about directed versus undirected links in the blog post "About bidirectional traceability, link semantics and a toggle button".

The YT Search view provides a full text search over all artifacts and their attributes. Search term suggestions are provided as you type. The search results are displayed below the search field. If a search result is clicked the artifact is selected in the YT Overview and added to the YT Selection History .

You can enter one or more search terms in the search input field. If you enter more than one term, only artifacts that contain all of these term in their name, type, or attribute values will be found.

The YT Search supports the Lucene Query Syntax to perform more complex search queries (like filtering for specific fields, wildcards, etc.).

The following fields can be used to refine your query:

  • name – artifact name
  • artifactTypeName – artifact type name
  • attributes. KEY - custom attribute KEY

Examples:

Search Query Searches for...
name:engine artifacts containing the word „engine” (or „Engine” as the search is case insensitive) in the artifact name
require* artifacts containing a word starting with „require” (like „requirement” or „requires”)
attributes.author:Doe artifacts with a custom attribute „author” that contains the word "Doe"
front OR rear artifacts that contain either „front” or „rear” in their name, type, or custom attribute values