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PM73657: Auto-Arrange Left to Right not working as expected


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APAR status

  • Closed as Permanent restriction.

Error description

  • Auto-Arrange Left to Right not working as expected

Local fix

Problem summary

  • ****************************************************************
    * USERS AFFECTED:                                              *
    * PROBLEM DESCRIPTION:                                         *
    * RECOMMENDATION:                                              *
    The Auto Arrange algorithm places two Process symbols too
    far to the left.

Problem conclusion

  • Working as designed. One of the Process symbols as 5
    incoming flow lines. The client would like one of the flows
    to dictate where the symbol will go, but in fact the other 4
    About the design:
    1. It's left-to-right, that is it starts from far left Event
    or Process symbols and follows flow lines rightward.
    2. There is no precedence; that is, all flow lines get equal
    3. The start-off layout is not taken into account. This
    means that the user may have laid out the above cluster, but
    there is no attempt to remember it and try to preserve it.
    4. The design: Think of a spreadsheet with rows and columns,
    and think of the algorithm as placing each symbol into a
    cell within the spreadsheet.
    5. Somehow the "problem" Process symbols wound up 5 "cells"
    to the left of where the client wants them to be.
    Some history: Auto Arrange was created as part of a 3-part
    solution for users of IBM's WebSphere Business Modeling
    Part-1 was a macro to import a Business Process diagram into
    ? Problem: WBM provided NO location information. Thus all
    symbols came in as a hopeless jumble.
    Part-2 was Auto Arrange. Its purpose was to make sense of
    the WBM import as a first approximation.
    ? Comment: Auto Arrange was meant to be a brute-force
    one-time operation with no particular sophistication.
    Part-3 was the user making final adjustments to his
    ? Comment: We didn't expect a user to return to Auto Arrange
    after his manual adjustments. Hence no "memory" of logical
    clusters was built in.
    Auto Arrange has a random-walk generator built in, which is
    why different tries might get different results.
    The first step in the algorithm is to do a few hundred
    random walks that follow different paths through the flow
    lines from start to finish. It tries to find one start-off
    path that shows the most promise for resulting in a coherent
    My guess is that the algorithm came up with two or three
    different start-off paths that all seemed about equal, and
    chose one of them at random during one run and a different
    one during a different run.
    The original complaint was about a cluster of 4 Process
    symbols that the client wanted to keep clustered. Did he
    consider putting them inside a Group Box to preserve them as
    a cluster?
    All that said, bottom line is this is working as designed,
    and if the user is not happy, a Request for Enhancement
    needs to be submitted.

Temporary fix


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Fix information

Applicable component levels

Document information

More support for: Rational System Architect

Software version: 11.4.1

Reference #: PM73657

Modified date: 12 October 2012

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