Organizing UML and BPMN Diagrams with Layers

Altova UModel® 2017 lets you organize diagram elements into subgroups and place each group in an individual layer. Layers can be selectively hidden or exposed, providing a convenient way to decompose a BPMN diagram that describes a complex business process involving multiple departments or enterprises.

You can use this layers feature with all diagram types supported by UModel to clarify any complicated diagram, such as a use case with multiple actors or a sequence diagram. You could even add a comments layer to collect feedback on a model from other project stakeholders.

Here is a view of the UModel Layers helper window with a Default layer and Comments layer. When you circulate the model for review, the Design layer could be locked to allow changes only to the Comments layer.

UModel Layers helper window

It’s easy to assign elements to a layer by using the right-click context menu.

UModel Layers menu selection

Later on you could choose to hide the Comments layer from view, while retaining the layer contents in the diagram to preserve a historical record of the reviewer feedback.

UModel Layers helper window

When diagramming a complex business process, you can create individual layers for each participant so each layer then provides a simplified view into a portion of the overall process. In this application, you can name layers by department or enterprise.

Here is the UModel Layers helper window for an order processing diagram indicating the Sales Fulfillment layer is visible and the Finance layer is hidden:

UModel Layers helper window

Here is the order processing diagram showing only the Sales Fulfillment layer:

UModel Business Process diagram

To depict the entire process, you can simply make all layers visible.

UModel Layers helper window

Here is the same diagram with both layers visible:

UModel Business Process diagram

Find out for yourself how the UModel® 2017 layers feature can enhance your BPMN diagrams – download a free trial today!