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IBM® Engineering Lifecycle Optimization – Engineering Insights: Linking Custom Artifact Elements with Artifact Elements

In this article, you will explore that in Engineering Insights (ENI), how you can link a Custom Artifact Element (CAE) to an Artifact Element (AE).

When the user creates a view, the user must understand the underlying information model and how it can be used in a project. Artifact element or custom artifact elements are used to build the views to display the required information.

When out of the box AE and CAE do not fulfill the requirements of the user, the user can create a new CAE by either modifying an existing CAE or designing a new CAE from scratch by using the SPARQL query language.

To get familiar with the steps to build a CAE, see Creating custom artifact elements.

What are Artifacts, CAEs and AEs?


A general term for the objects in a repository. Artifacts are created and maintained in various IBM® Engineering Lifecycle Management (ELM) applications, such as IBM Engineering Workflow Management (EWM) work items or IBM Engineering Requirements Management DOORS® requirements.

Custom Artifact Elements (CAEs)

Custom artifact elements gather artifacts of a specific type based on a SPARQL query and are used to show artifacts in view containers. In the editor, you define or modify the SPARQL query, parameters, and linking relationships with other artifacts. View authors can use custom artifact elements to build views.

Artifact Elements (AEs)

Artifact elements are out of box components that are provided within ENI to build views. They are not customizable.  AE gathers artifacts of a specific type based on its fixed predefined query and is used to show artifacts in view containers.

Purpose of Links

Artifacts (requirements, work items, change requests, and so on) from different domains and various applications are linked with each other.

To visualize these artifacts from various applications and explore the relationships among them, you need to have possible links defined in the definition of CAE and AE. View author then uses these CAE and AE to build the View and add new containers from existing ones by exploring the links.

For Example, “Work Item” from EWM can be linked-to artifacts from other application such as Requirement or Test Case as shown below:

Traceability view

Creating links to and from Custom Artifact Elements

CAE editor enables you to define a link in the following ways:

Adding a link in the “Links” section of the CAE editor

Custom Artifact Element - Links Section

An entry in the “Links” section defines a relationship from the CAE you are editing to another CAE or AE in a view.

To define a link, enter the following details in the Links section of the CAE editor:

  • In the Variable Name list, select the variable to match the SPARQL variable that you added to the SPARQL query.
  • In the Link Label field, enter the link name that you see in the “Show Links To” wizard in a view.
  • In the Linked Artifact field, select an AE or a CAE that you want to link to.

Setting the value of the “Template” fields in the CAE editor

If the CAE is to be connected to/from Artifact Elements(AEs) in views – it can also be achieved by setting the template field.

Custom Artifact Element - Template Field

When you select the value in the Template field in the CAE, the CAE will be based on the selected AE. By using the Template field, the CAE can extend the relationships(links) of an existing AE.

Hint: Setting the value for the template replaces the existing SPARQL with the SPARQL from the template. Copy the existing SPARQL you want to retain before you set the template field.

In the View, Show Links To… the dialog is used to link existing containers or create a new container from existing by exploring its links. To open this dialog for a container, you need to right-click on the container to open the context menu and click on ‘Show Links To…’.

"Show Links To..." context menu

Linking from Artifacts (AE) to Custom Artifact Elements (CAE)

In a View, Show Links To lists the following AE or CAE:

  • All the AEs with possible links to the source AE
  • All the CAEs that have their Template property set as some ‘specific AE’

Where ‘specific AE’ can be any of the Artifacts which have possible link types to the Source AE.

Possible Links from AE to CAE in "Show Links To..."

Linking from Custom Artifact Element (CAE) to Artifacts (AE)

In a View, Show Links To lists the following AE or CAE:

  • All the CAEs or AEs, which are in the Links section of the source CAE definition.
  • All the AEs, which have possible links to the AE used as a Template by the source CAE.

Possible Links from CAE to AE in "Show Links To..."


I hope that this article has given you an idea of how a CAE can be linked with another CAE or AE by using its Links and Template field.

Rishikesh Agam (Rishi)
Senior Developer – IBM Engineering Lifecycle Optimization – Engineering Insights (ENI)