Sep 062017
 
 6th September 2017  Posted by at 2:03 pm No Responses »

We’ve just released Archi version 4.0.3. The main features in this release are:

 Add ArchiMate 3.0.1 relationship tables
This updates the ArchiMate relationship rules in accordance with the latest revision. Thanks to Ed Roberts for generating the XML file.

Faster load times on large models
Models now load much faster, in some cases up to 4000% faster.

Implement “Copy As Image to Clipboard” for 64-bit Linux
This has never worked for 64-bit Linux Archi. Until now.

Provide 64-bit Windows builds
These 64-bit builds ensure that users with high application memory demands can scale as necessary.

Bug Fixes
Oh yes, there’s always bug fixes…

Thanks to everyone who contributed in some way – feedback, bug finding, support. And a big thanks to those users who donated. Much appreciated. 🙂

Download Archi 4.0.3

Aug 252017
 
 25th August 2017  Posted by at 11:05 am No Responses »

The PDF version of the third edition of the book Mastering ArchiMate, by Gerben Wierda, has just been made available. This new edition has been updated to align with the most recent version of ArchiMate.

Mastering ArchiMate III

The book gives an introduction to the language, then goes on to show you key aspects of successful modeling, and many different patterns for its use. From Business to Infrastructure, from Risk & Security to Application Exploitation and Maintenance. While the aim of the book is to teach the language, it often also offers necessary background, so that the patterns can make sense to the reader not familiar with a subject.

We regard this book as required reading for those who are new to the ArchiMate language and an essential addition to the library for those architects who are familiar with ArchiMate modelling.

If you’ve just downloaded Archi and don’t know where to start, grab yourself a copy of the book now. If you’re an old hand, or already own the previous edition, we recommend to update your copy.

The hard-cover version is planned for October 2017.

More information here.

Jun 092017
 
 9th June 2017  Posted by at 2:53 pm Comments Off on Multi-User Repository Development and Archi Roadmap Updated

Now that Archi 4 is out in the wild and being downloaded by enterprise architects throughout the world (over a thousand downloads a week!) we’ve not stopped the pace. Thanks to Jean-Baptiste Sarrodie’s initiative and some French sponsors we’ve been working on a multi-user distributed repository solution so that you can finally share and collaborate on your Archi models using the features that users have requested – sharing, versioning, branching, reverting, and so on. This is an exciting time to get on board with Archi as we plan for this and other future enhancements. For more information check out our updated Roadmap.

Archi Model Repository

May 242017
 
 24th May 2017  Posted by at 2:51 pm Comments Off on Archi 4 Released

We’re very excited to announce that Archi 4 has been released! This release supports the latest ArchiMate 3.0 specification and includes some new features. We’ve re-written a lot of the code from the ground up to support relationships to relationships and all the new concepts that have been added to the specification. It’s been a long time coming, but we got there. We chose to have an extended beta period to make sure that the product was as bug-free as possible, and also to align with the timing of some changes to the ArchiMate 3.0 specification with regard to relationship rules. Also included in Archi 4 is support for the latest ArchiMate File Exchange Format.

We’d like to thank everyone who helped out, contributed code, tested and gave us valuable feedback. We’d particularly like to thank Andrew Josey and The Open Group for their invaluable support without which this would not have been possible.

Archi 4

Nov 032016
 
 3rd November 2016  Posted by at 7:29 pm 2 Responses »

Last week I had the great opportunity to co-present at The Open Group’s October Conference in Paris, France. After Phil Beauvoir presented a summary of Archi’s history and we described the challenges of ArchiMate 3.0, I spoke about a vision for the future of Archi, EA and the ArchiMate ecosystem, taking ideas from DevOps and applying them to Archi and ArchiMate tooling. For those that weren’t with us, here is a 2nd chance…

New tools for a new EA practice

For the past 10 years, a strange thing happened: while (Enterprise) Architects used to have some of the best tools for their work, tool vendors seem to have forgotten to innovate, while at the same time, tools for Software Developers started to take off and offer some really new and exciting features. Why? How?

While I can’t speak for EA tool vendors, I can at least look at what happened in the software development domain. It seems to me that it all started back in 2005 when Linus Torvalds (yes, the same guy who created the Linux kernel) decided to create his own version control system, Git. Did Linus decide to change the world at that moment? No. Did he decide to create a whole new ecosystem for development? Again, no. What Linus did was simply to create a small piece of software for his own needs, but a free/open piece of software with some great features. Basically, what Linus created was a software version control system which allows easy creation of branches, and the ability to merge those (sometimes conflicting) branches. These simple but powerful features then became the building blocks for a powerful new toolset, which in turn laid the foundations for a whole ecosystem now known as DevOps. If I had to summarize what DevOps is, I’d say that it is a software development Capability. In short, a great mix of knowledge, processes and tools. Furthermore, most of these are open – open-knowledge, open-tools.

The GRAFICO plugin

The GRAFICO plugin for Archi

Between 2012 and 2014, there were many discussions on Archi’s Forum about how to make Archi usable in a multi-user environment. While most people tried to solve the problem using the same approach that existing commercial tools took (save the model in a database, and require user to lock part of the model to avoid conflicts) some users suggested to workaround this issue using existing tools like Git. Some early attempts proved that it was feasible, but no plugins were maintained after the initial proof of concept. That’s why in 2015 I decided to work on it with the help of Quentin Varquet. What we created then was a really simple plugin for Archi whose only goal was to save and load an ArchiMate model in a way that makes it manageable by Git, thus the name GRAFICO (Git FRiendly Archi FIle COllection). With the help of this plugin and some GitHub-like solution (e.g. GitBlit or GitBucket) I was able to work with my colleagues on the same model at the same time without any issues.

This work could have stopped at that point, but I decided to make this plugin available under a Creative Commons licence (the choice of a non really open licence was driven by the fact that too few people have donated to Archi, and that this was one opportunity to get some funding for it).

Experiment turned into crazy idea

When the experiment turned into a crazy idea

The great thing about open source is that there are always some people that think out of the box and then take your ideas and use them in an unexpected way. That’s what happened with the GRAFICO plugin. Despite being a proof of concept in beta, some people started to use it, and then shared with me this crazy idea:

Do with Enterprise Architecture what developers did on DevOps

OK, but what does this mean?

ArchOps explained

ArchOps explained

Let’s think out of the box… Ready? Go!

Imagine that there exists a solution to share an ArchiMate model. And that this solution doesn’t require you to lock in advance part of the model before you change it. Imagine that you are free to clone this model, to create branches and then to merge your work with your colleagues. Imagine that you can keep a local copy of the model, work offline and send your changes to the central model when your want (or can). Imagine that there is in fact no “central model” because you can choose to create multiple copies of this model and sync them. Imagine a toolset that allows you to create conflicting changes because it can then raise a warning, allowing your team to discuss the issues, and understand why and how they arose. Wouldn’t it be great? If your answer is yes, then you’ll be happy to know that this is what you can already do with GRAFICO and Git (the only drawback is that it requires you to have Git skills).

Now, imagine that these exact same features could be used with models saved in the Archi native file format but also the ArchiMate Open Exchange File Format designed by The Open Group. Imagine that all these features are packed in a single open-source solution that never requires you to know Git but still provides the powerful interoperability features. What you now have is a solution that can trigger some events when (part of) the model changes. What you can do from here is up to you, but what about:

  • generating a static HTML rendering of the model in order to share it,
  • exporting the model to another repository, such as CMDB,
  • automatically checking that no changes appear in the as-is/baseline branch that could affect a project branch (automatic gap analysis).

If you find it useful, then you have an idea of what ArchOps could be. But the most important is that this is not about tools, it’s about opening new opportunities for our EA work, defining new way of working.

A Boundaryless Information Flow

How to move on?

As Archi is open source, we can’t really provide a definite roadmap for this work, but the key point is that we’d really like to make all this happen in the near future. For this to happen, we are looking for passionate people that could sponsor our work and invest some time with us to discuss ideas in more details and beta-test our solution. I heard that some companies could help us but for the moment no one has really decided to do so. Do you want to be the first?

Oct 312016
 
 31st October 2016  Posted by at 9:53 am Comments Off on “ArchiMate® 3.0, Archi 4, and Open Source – Open Standards in Action” – The Open Group’s October Conference in Paris, France

Last week, at the invitation of Andrew Josey, I attended and co-presented at The Open Group’s October Conference in Paris, France. My co-presenter was Jean-Baptiste Sarrodie of Arismore. The title of our presentation was “ArchiMate® 3.0, Archi 4, and Open Source – Open Standards in Action”. The following is the official summary of our presentation:

ArchiMate® 3.0 was released in June 2016. This latest version of the language represents an important evolution of the popular open standard that is used by Enterprise Architects globally. It is now possible to model the strategy of the enterprise using new concepts such as Capability and Resources, and also to model the physical world with the Equipment, Material, and Factory concepts.

Archi® is an open source modelling tool that provides an open and free implementation of the ArchiMate language. It has been downloaded many thousands of times since its introduction in 2010 and provides a low cost to entry solution to users who may be making their first steps in the ArchiMate modelling language, or who are looking for a free, cross-platform ArchiMate modelling tool for their company.

In this presentation we show that Archi has been an important enabler of ArchiMate globally, why it’s important to continue to develop and support the tool, and the challenges faced in implementing ArchiMate 3.0. We also discuss the importance of open source and open implementations for an open standard. We will provide a review of progress and new features in the next version of Archi, and progress on its implementation of The Open Group’s ArchiMate exchange format.

Furthermore, we will provide an example of how Open Source developments based on Archi within Arismore have made a DevOps approach to Architecture work possible and allowed the company to rethink their EA practice.

The key takeaways of the presentation were billed as:

  • ArchiMate 3.0 represents an important evolution in the language
  • Archi continues to provide an open and accessible implementation of ArchiMate lowering the barrier to entry
  • The latest version of Archi and its associated initiatives represent new developments that benefit all stakeholders and continue to promote and support ArchiMate and Enterprise Architecture

So, how did the presentation go?

Well, had I been doing the presentation on my own I would probably have defaulted to the usual informative, but slightly boring, PowerPoint slide deck, and that would have been that. Fortunately, Jean-Baptiste (J-B) had the idea of livening up the party by using a hand-crafted Sozi presentation and so, with the vehicle of our improvised double-act, the delivery was a lot of fun and, I think, well received by the audience. Here’s the static overview image of the presentation that J-B created:

Paris Presentation

Paris Presentation (created by J-B Sarrodie)

In our joint presentation, J-B and I gave a brief summary of Archi’s history, how it started from a modest UK-funded project with the aim of helping staff in UK universities making their first steps in EA and modelling, and how it has developed over the last six years to a position where it is downloaded around 5,000 times a month. J-B made an important point that probably applies to many ArchiMate users – if it had not been for Archi he would not have started to use the ArchiMate language. And, I assume, if J-B had not started with Archi and ArchiMate, perhaps Arismore might not have got on board with it, and we would not be doing this presentation. And I think this was one of our key messages – that Archi has been an important enabler for the uptake of ArchiMate, and perhaps EA in general.

I made the point that, as a free and open source tool, Archi is not in competition with any other ArchiMate-based tool. We are not in the business of exclusion, but, rather, as part of our “Archi Philosophy” we aim to be inclusive. In fact, it has been mentioned several times to me that if Archi, or at least any open source ArchiMate tool, had not existed then the tooling ecosystem would probably not be as active as it is now. We aim to open up and enable the market for all stakeholders. There is room for everybody, and an open source offering is essential for an open standard. Furthermore, as part of this inclusive vision, the ArchiMate Exchange Format has proven to be a key enabler for many end users who need to ensure that their ArchiMate data is accessible, transparent and interoperable between toolsets and services. I’ve written about the importance of the ArchiMate Exchange Format in my previous blog post and, at the conference in Paris, it was obvious how important this has become.

Raul Mario Abril Jimenez of the European Commission and the European Interoperability Reference Architecture (EIRA) project was also presenting at the conference and he told me that the ArchiMate Exchange Format was a key decider in the project’s use of ArchiMate. The EIRA project has even taken things a step further by developing a plug-in add-on for Archi – the Cartography Tool. In the presentation I emphasised how Archi and the Exchange Format has enabled rich cross-pollination of ideas, methods, and tooling enhancements, and so it’s great to see this in action.

J-B gave us a quick overview of some of the new features in ArchiMate 3.0, and I spoke about some of the challenges these have presented in implementation in Archi, and the importance of sustaining and supporting the development of Archi and associated initiatives given the huge number of end users and stakeholders. This led us onto some exciting news:

Archi 4 beta with support for ArchiMate 3.0 is available now!

I’ve been working on implementing the main new features of ArchiMate 3.0 in Archi over the last few months. There’s still a few loose ends, and documentation and testing to do, but please give the beta a try. You can download it from the Archi website.

J-B spoke about his vision for the future of Archi, EA and the ArchiMate ecosystem, taking ideas from DevOps and applying them to Archi and ArchiMate tooling – something he calls “ArchOps”. You can see from the presentation summary image above where J-B is going with this. Hopefully, J-B will elaborate upon these ideas in a separate blog post.

So, I think it was a positive and fun presentation. At least J-B and I had a lot of positive feedback afterwards. And, for the record, here are my personal key takeaways from attending the conference:

  • Andrew Josey and The Open Group are doing a great job curating the ArchiMate language as an open standard, whilst managing a variety of (sometimes conflicting) stakeholder concerns
  • Everyone I met was very generous in their praise of Archi and what it has achieved
  • I am amazed at the way end users have been empowered by access to open source tooling, open standards, open data, and their positivity in sharing and working together
Phil Beauvoir and J-B Sarrodie

Phil Beauvoir and J-B Sarrodie presenting at the Paris Conference

You can view the full Sozi presentation here.