Architecture Framework FAQ – What is an Architecture Framework?

  • What is an Enterprise Architecture Framework?
    An Enterprise Architecture Framework (EAF), or Architecture Framework for short, is a prefabricated structure (i.e., a framework) that organizes the system architecture of an enterprise into complementary projections called Views or Viewpoints.
  • What is an Architecture Framework "View"?
    A View is a projection of the system architecture model of an enterprise that is meaningful to one or more system stakeholders. For example, a Business Analysis View might project business requirements and business process workflows that are vital to Business Analysts and Clients, but less meaningful to other system stakeholders (e.g., Hardware Engineers, Network Architects). Conversely, a System Design View might project software design details that are essential to Software Engineers, Hardware Engineers, and Network Architects, but less meaningful to Business Analysts and Clients.

    The relationship between an enterprise Architecture Framework to its Views is analogous to the relationship between a building blueprint and its complementary "plans" (Site Plan, Floor Plans, Exterior Elevations, Foundation Plan, Roof Plan, etc.). Stated as an analogy: Architecture Framework : View :: Building Blueprint : Plan.
  • What is the difference between a "view" and a "viewpoint"?
    Answer To Be Provided.
  • What is the relationship between an Architecture Framework and an Architecture Description Language?
    The former specifies the latter. For example, UML or SysML might be used as an Architecture Description Language to specify a DoDAF or TOGAF compliant architecture.
  • What is the difference between an Architecture Framework and an "application framework"?
    The framework term is overloaded in software and systems engineering, so you generally need to infer from context what sort of framework is being discussed. In order to differentiate among the variations of frameworks, it may help to first understand that a framework is a generic term that refers to a prefabricated structure or architecture, and it is used in a wide range of domains, ranging from the building and manufacturing to aerospace/defense and communications.

    The term application framework tends to be software-centric, and commonly refers to a software design or implementation that prefabricate the functionality and APIs (Application Program Interfaces) of an application. The term architecture framework is less software-centric, and typically refers to a specification or model of an enterprise or system architecture.
  • Are there any Enterprise Architecture Framework standards?
    Enterprise Architecture Frameworks standards are rapidly evolving. Among defense industry frameworks, DoDAF and MODAF are widely used, and UPDM is emerging. Among commercial Information Technology frameworks, TOGAF appears to be the most popular.
  • What are the similarities and differences among DoDAF, MODAF, and UPDM?
    What are the similarities and differences among DoDAF, MODAF, and UPDM?

    DoDAF is a U.S. defense industry framework standard that was reused and extended by the UK defense industry and rebranded as MODAF. Since these frameworks are far more similar than different, the UPDM (Unified Profile for DoDAF and MODAF) is an attempt to unify them using UML as a common architecture description language.

    As for the differences among these three standards, they are summarized in the individual entries for each standard, so we will not repeat them here.
  • How can readers submit new questions for this FAQ?
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