EA Series – Episode 21: The Semantic Language of Architecture

We all know that the IEEE-1471 is officially titled the “Recommended Practice for Architectural Description of Software-Intensive Systems.” The IEEE 1471’s can be summarized as follows:

– It provides definitions and a meta-model for the description of architecture
– It states that architecture exists to address to specific stakeholder concerns
– It asserts that architecture descriptions are inherently multi-view, no single view captures all stakeholder concerns
– It separates the notion of view from viewpoint, where a viewpoint identifies the set of concerns and the representations/modeling techniques, etc. used to describe the architecture to address those concerns.
– It establishes that a conforming architecture description has a 1-to-1 correspondence between its viewpoints and its views.
– It provides for capturing rationale and inconsistencies/unresolved issues between the views within a single architecture description

An illustration of the IEEE-1471 conceptual framework for describing an architecture can be obtained here: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/3/3d/IEEEConceptualFramework4ArchitectureDescription.png .But the IEEE-1471 has some minor deficiencies. As per a lead architect from Microsoft, The standard defines words, mostly.  It is also written in somewhat vague language, with the meaning of some terms being assumed and others inconsistently applied.  Creating a conceptual model from this document is  no simpler than creating a model from a typical business document, even though it should have been.

He goes on to say that Microsoft has fully embraced 1471 and has also extended it by linking in key concepts from the UML, as well as other notions like “common viewpoint types,” “architectural description methods,” and modeling languages. With a goal to provide a simple way for all architects to illustrate, share, learn from, and talk about the language of software architecture, he has created a small poster that that illustrates the value of this simple language.

Access the poster from directly here: http://cid-a380ee127a605d71.skydrive.live.com/embedrowdetail.aspx/.Public/Architecture%20standards%20big%20picture%20v4.pdf

 Embedded in that poster above is a conceptual model that illustrates what these terms mean in relation to one another. 

If you’d like the IEEE-1471 Extended diagram, without the rest of the poster, get the image from the link below: http://blogs.msdn.com/blogfiles/nickmalik/WindowsLiveWriter/TheSemanticLanguageofArchitecture_7BF6/IEEE%201471%20-%20extended_2.png

As an architect do you follow IEEE-1471 as the basis?

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