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Referential integrity of architecture artifacts June 18, 2008

Posted by Chris Eaton in EA.
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continuing on yesterdays post i have been thinking some more about how architects could follow a CAD model to constructing software. In this vision a solution architect would drag and drop artifacts from the EA on their architecture solution model. Everything in the solution model must be referenceable to the EA.

This drag and drop model is easy to conceptulise when thinking about creating a diagram of an architecture – an architecture overview diagram – you could drag and drop user types, or business locations, or existing components, et cetera.

However quite alot of architecture artefacts are not diagrammatic models like this. For instance, Architectural Decisions – that is a document detailing the reasoning for doing something one way rather than another is not something I have ever seen put on an architecture chart or model – but it could be – I am thinking that a reference to the architectural decision could be placed on a diagrammatic representation of an architecture. Different elements like architectural decisions could be switched on and off to suit the type of user who would be looking at that version of the diagram.

I took a stab at the key requirements for delivering a CAD solution – and eventually we would want CAM too.

1 – we would need to agree what EA artifacts exist and are needed for solution architecture.

2 – We would need to agree a list of architecture solution artifacts which are needed. Some would be mandatory others optional.

3 – In building architecture diagrams there are conventions which allow architects and builders to understand what is to be built, we would need similar conventions too – UML is in this space but it is at a more detail level than I envisage.

4 – referential integrity between the EA and solution architecture must be maintained. Whilst developing a solution architecture changes may be needed to the EA through genuine change or finding an omission.

5 – There needs to be referential integrity between the artifacts at the solution architecture level – change one and the other is updated too.

6 – It must be possible to (easily) drag or reference items from the EA repository in the solution diagrams. The solution architect will refine these to the next level of detail, but the stereotype or template must come from the EA.

7 – It must be possible to allow exceptions to the EA where there is approval to not follow the EA for some good reason

8 – any diagram should support switching off or on different notations and ‘things’ on the diagram.

I am sure there are others…



1. IT Architecture Diagrams « artITecture - July 17, 2008

[…] architects. It is astonishing that powerpoint is the major tool of choice. There needs to be referential integrity between these diagrams. Today this is manual, it is not enforced by the […]

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