Learn how to use Vertabelo's features to collaborate effectively on database models and documents.
In the post-pandemic world, effective collaboration on database modeling is of the essence. Database developers and data modelers must work together on developing data models and writing SQL queries, functions, procedures, and more. Every substrate of software engineering is becoming more collaborative by the day, and database development is no different.
Teams cannot function properly to deliver results if they are not using the right tools. Tools like Git have enabled collaboration on code among developers, allowing them to work on the same set of features at the same time.
Vertabelo has a set of features dedicated to making collaboration on database models more seamless than ever before. In this article, we will look at the sharing and collaboration features that data modelers can use for ER diagrams and that students, teaching assistants, and professors can use for learning and teaching data modeling.
1. Share Your Documents
To collaborate with other people, you need to have a mechanism to share the files you are working on. You can create three types of documents in Vertabelo — logical models, physical models, and SQL scripts.
Vertabelo allows you to add teammates and collaborators to any of these documents so that multiple people can work on the same document simultaneously. It lets you know if someone else is working on the same document, as shown in the image below:
There are two ways to share a document in Vertabelo. You can go to the document you want to share, right-click and choose the “Share” option from the floating drop-down menu, as shown in the image below:
Then, you can share the document using the “Share” option in the floating drop-down menu that opens after right-clicking the document.
Alternatively, you can use the sharing icon from the top bar either from the root folder of the document or while working on the model, as shown in the image below:
Using either of the two methods leads you to the following screen, where you see the link to your document, the name, email, and access type of the collaborators who currently have access to the document, as well as the option to invite people to collaborate with you on the document:
Vertabelo allows three different levels of access you can grant to your collaborators:
- Is Owner: You can make someone an owner of your document. This essentially means they can do everything you can.
- Can Edit: This option gives view and edit access to the document, but collaborators cannot use the sharing options or options to publish the ER diagram on the web.
- Can View: This is the access level with the least privilege. It is usually meant for teams that need access to the ER diagram for reference.
Once you're done making all the choices, you can add a personal note to the collaborators you’re inviting and notify them of the document share.
These are the different options for sharing a model with a team or other specific collaborators. What if you want to share a model with anyone for reference purposes? Let's talk about that.
2. Publish Your Models to the Web
Rather than adding hundreds of emails, you can publish your model to the web. This is often required when you have a broad range of audiences that benefit from looking at the model. To publish your model to the web, navigate to the data model you want to publish, then right-click and select the “Publish to the web'' option. When you do so, you see the following screen:
When you click the “Publish to the web” option, you land on the following screen:
As you can see, there are two different ways to share a published model with a larger audience.
- Link : This option lets you share a link with your audience.
- Embed : This option is used to embed your model in application documentation, a blog post, etc.
When you press the “Publish'' button shown in the image above, the model is published to a public link. Anyone with the link can access the model. However, he/she can only view it, not edit it. The Embed option has the same level of access for you to embed your models using the embed snippet provided after publishing the model. When you publish the model, you see the following screen:
3. Other Sharing and Collaboration Features
There are a host of other features in Vertabelo that work in tandem with the ones mentioned above. The core idea behind these features is to make it as easy to use and ER diagram collaboration as smooth as possible.
Add Notes for Annotation
Collaboration on database models doesn’t work without communication. You cannot always rely on external communication either. Sometimes you need to attach context to the ER diagram for an idea to be communicated properly.
For this, you can use Vertabelo’s text notes features. Text notes in an ER diagram are great for pointing out critical ideas, upcoming changes, pending changes, and so on. For instance, in the following example, the note indicates that the passport_number field needs to be masked in the database going forward:
This makes life easier for people working on the same model. You can add comments to SQL scripts just as you would in any IDE that supports SQL syntax.
Automatic Model Documentation
Vertabelo makes your life easier with features that enable you to generate and export your model documentation as PDF, PNG, SVG, and SQL files. The SQL script feature is a 1-click solution you can use to generate an SQL script that defines your model. You can use that script to deploy different database versions in your development, testing, and production environments.
Versioning and Workflow
Last but not least, Vertabelo offers a Git-like version control system out of the box. The difference is that model versions in Vertabelo don’t have to be committed to be saved.
Vertabelo’s autosave feature keeps saving your model to avoid losing any of your progress. On top of the autosave feature, you also have an option to tag your models to indicate major, minor, or patch versions.
Vertabelo Is Great for ER Diagram Collaboration
All in all, Vertabelo offers a great solution for you to collaborate with others on data models and scripts. Its rich features are designed to support data modelers and database developers to get the most out of their time. The smooth workflow, easy-to-understand navigation, and support for all the major databases make Vertabelo a great choice for building data models collaboratively.