The Open Group ArchiMate® Model File Exchange Format

By The Open Group

The Open Group ArchiMate Forum has released a snapshot of its ArchiMate® Model Exchange File Format. This aims to address the challenge of portability of models between tools.

Following is a Q&A with Andrew Josey, Phil Beauvoir and Frans Faase, members of the project team, to find out more.

Q.  What is The Open Group ArchiMate Model Exchange File Format?

A.  It is a specification of a standard file format for the exchange of ArchiMate models between different tools.

Q.  Why is it provided as a Snapshot release?

A.  The Snapshot makes public the direction and thinking the project is taking in the development of a standard file format supporting exchange of ArchiMate models between tools. We’re looking for feedback and guidance from the community at this stage.

Q.  When do you need feedback by and how should it be provided?

A.  Comments can be sent by email to ogspecs-snapshot-feedback-AT-opengroup.org no later than January 12, 2015.

Q.  What is addressed in the Snapshot release?

A.  The project is being implemented as two phases:

  •     Phase 1 includes the core exchange format.
  •     Phase 2 includes in addition the visual layout.

This Snapshot describes Phase 1 only, and excludes the detailed visual layout, which will be included in Phase 2.

Q.  Do you intend the format as a persistent file format for an ArchiMate model?

A.  No, The exchange file format is not intended as a persistent file format for the model itself, it is a mechanism to convey instance data from one tool to another (a simple analogy would be the csv file format for exchange of spreadsheet information). The data contained in the exchange file format is meant to be processed by an “ArchiMate aware” tool, thus ruling out standalone semantic inference. Once the instance data has been imported into an ArchiMate tool, that tool will probably save it in its own proprietary file format.

Q.  Where can I obtain the Snapshot release?

A.  The Snapshot can be obtained from The Open Group publications catalog.

https://www2.opengroup.org/ogsys/catalog/S142

Q.  What is provided with the Snapshot release?

A.  The deliverables included with this Snapshot are as follows:

  • Open Group Snapshot, ArchiMate® Model Exchange File Format
  • Schema Documentation for the ArchiMate® 2.1 XML/XML Schema Definition (XSD) Binding
  • A ZIP file containing: the XSD Schema file, an example Extended XSD Schema file, and example models in the exchange file format

Q.  What example models are provided with the Snapshot?

A.  The ArchiSurance and ArchiMetal case studies are provided, as is a Testall.xml model that can be used for interoperability testing.

Q.  Are all the elements defined in Exchange File Format mandatory?

A.  There are only two mandatory elements:

  • The main “model” tag itself with associated namespace declarations
  • Elements in the “elements” tag (with type and ID)

Everything else is optional. Of course, a minimal file containing only these two things would probably be unlikely, but it could be the case that there are no relationships in the model.

The following items are optional:

  • Metadata
  • Organization
  • The xml:lang=”xx” attribute

They are provided because they may be of use to the sender/receiver, but they don’t have to be there. For example, with the Organization element, this may be useful if the tool sending or receiving would like to know how the elements/relations are organised in folders for example, but not every tool might support that and could happily ignore it.

Similarly, not every tool supports multi-language so there is need to use the xml:lang=”xx” attribute. The example XML files provided with the Snapshot are more of a showcase of all the elements.

Q.  I am a tool provider, how can I get involved?

A.  You can get involved by joining The Open Group ArchiMate Forum, email archimate-forum-AT-opengroup.org

Q.  Are there interoperability tests with other tools suppliers?

A.  Yes, these are ongoing within the project within The Open Group ArchiMate Forum.

Q.  I have suggestions for improvement to the exchange file format, where do I send them?

A.  Please send comments by email to ogspecs-snapshot-feedback-AT-opengroup.org no later than January 12, 2015

Q.  I have suggestions for the Phase 2 visual layout, where do I send them?

A.  Please send comments by email to ogspecs-snapshot-feedback-AT-opengroup.org no later than January 12, 2015

By Andrew JoseyAndrew Josey is Director of Standards within The Open Group. He is currently managing the standards process for The Open Group, and has recently led the standards development projects for TOGAF® 9.1, ArchiMate® 2.1, IEEE Std 1003.1,2013 edition (POSIX), and the core specifications of the Single UNIX® Specification, Version 4. Previously, he has led the development and operation of many of The Open Group certification development projects, including industry-wide certification programs for the UNIX system, the Linux Standard Base, TOGAF, and IEEE POSIX. He is a member of the IEEE, USENIX, UKUUG, and the Association of Enterprise Architects.

 

philbeauvoirPhil Beauvoir has been developing, writing, and speaking about software tools and development for over 25 years. He was Senior Researcher and Developer at Bangor University, and, later, the Institute for Educational Cybernetics at Bolton University, both in the UK. During this time he co-developed a peer-to-peer learning management and groupware system, a suite of software tools for authoring and delivery of standards-compliant learning objects and meta-data, and tooling to create IMS Learning Design compliant units of learning.  In 2010, working with the Institute for Educational Cybernetics, Phil created the open source ArchiMate Modelling Tool, Archi. Since 2013 he has been curating the development of Archi independently. Phil holds a degree in Medieval English and Anglo-Saxon Literature.

Frans FaaseFrans Faase is a senior software engineer who has been working with BiZZdesign since 2002. He got an M.Sc. degree in Computer Science from the University of Twente. At BiZZdesign he has been involved in designing the repository being used by BiZZdesign Architect, which implements the ArchiMate standard. He designed a locking mechanism that allows smooth cooperation between multiple users on a single model. He also worked on many import functions from other tools requiring reverse engineering, scanning, and parsing of used file formats. Many of these file formats are based on XML.

Comments Off on The Open Group ArchiMate® Model File Exchange Format

Filed under ArchiMate®, Certifications, Standards, Uncategorized

Comments are closed.