Q

Tools for design information with SSADM or Barlow methods

I have some questions: 1)What are some powerful tools or software for documentation of design information with

SSADM or Barlow methods? 2)I want a powerful resource (and sample) for SSADM and Barlow methods.

SSADM is popular in the UK and parts of Europe, but it seems to get a lot less attention in the US. The only "Barlow method" I've ever heard of isn't truly a methodology at all, but something more like a formalized practical guide used by Ed Barlow, a Sybase guru. Unfortunately, I don't use either of them, so I can offer an informed observer's opinion, but not a user's opinion.

In my opinion, the best documentation and data modeling tool on the market today is ErWin. Version 3.5.2 is getting a bit "long in the tooth", but the new version from Computer Associates doesn't seem stable enough to be ready for production use. This package takes a relatively long time to learn, but it is the most powerful package that I've used yet.

A very good second best in the field is Visio Enterprise. I still haven't quite tamed this beast for some of my larger database models, but it appears to have every tool I need. Once I get a chance to spend some time figuring out how to make it behave for large models, it will probably become my tool of choice.

If you are working in a primarily Sybase shop, their Power Designer product works reasonably well. It has a bit too parochial feel for my taste, but that is a matter of taste, not a condemnation of the product. The last version I reviewed had some documented support for, and probably didn't do anything to directly disqualify its use for documenting and managing a data model using the "Barlow Method".

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This was first published in April 2001

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