After over a decade using ER Studio I still wonder how people do some of the basic stuff I used to do in ERWin. Most difficult for me is including documentation in the model that explains the model. I frequently use the background color of a table to indicate meaning. For instance, in a star schema I often use green for dimensions, blue for facts and yellow for lookups. Whereas in OLTP models I often use color to group related pieces of data. Either example means a graphical representation showing the colors and their meanings is valuable. While I can create a series of shapes with colors and text, you cannot lock them or group them together so the all stay together. The best you can do is use a boundary box and turn containment on.
Why in a highly graphical interface is there no facility for dropping a JPG or GIF on the page? To be honest, I really would like my corporate logo to be on the models.
Hopefully, the new Idera team will find time to enhance the product they purchased. If so, perhaps they could grab so easy low hanging fruit by adding this feature.
You can also color code models in ER/Studio. however, for the star schema use case you have described, using our dimensional modeling capability allows you to specify whether entities are Dimension, Fact, Snowflake, Bridge etc. and also detailed categories within those classifications. Each of the major types also shows a distinct icon on the entity/table so that the are visually identifiable. ER/Studio will also auto-detect dimensional table types, which you can override as desired.
An additional way to add clarity to models is by defining and using attachments for additional classification metadata. In ER/Studio, the attachments and values can be displayed directly on the entity/table. If you wish to be even more advanced, you can create a macro to update entity colors based on attachment values.
We do not currently support adding jpg or gif files to a diagram, but it is in future plans. ER/Studio Data Architect does provide a title block that contains project, file name, Submodel name, author, company, version, modified date and copyright.
In terms of creating a legend, the way to group shapes and text together is by using a boundary shape and turning containment on. That is the specific purpose of containment - to lock all objects in the shape in place.
As for enhancing the product, we have introduced a great deal of innovation and capability to the suite over the past several years, with a continuing cadence of major releases and minor releases.
Thank you for a thorough response. Please understand, I am a fan but there are many frustrations I have endured for over a decade. Legends is one of those things. My example of using color in star schema models is just an example. Yes, I understand that shape boundaries can contain other shapes but it is not as good as many better solutions. A problem is you must point to the underlying shape and it must be bigger than the children shapes. If you accidentally click on a child member it will move on it's own. A simple image file can contain all the details and move without trouble. Not only that an image can contain other information such as an explanation of the ERD symbols.
As to the attachments, I agree the flexibility this allows is tremendous. I have used them a lot but they are not easy to access or report on. It would be nice if either better macros were available or better GUI interfaces. While attachments at a table level can be viewed in the model, column level attachments cannot. The column level values are what shows the details relating to versioning.