Mastering ArchiMate 3.1 is now available

Hurrah! Mastering ArchiMate 3.1 is now live. You can read about it on the book’s home page. And you can buy it there.

All customers who bought the previous edition on or after 5 Nov 2019 (the date version 3.1 of the ArchiMate® Standard was published) have received a free purchase of Edition 3.1. It should be in their inboxes by March 3, 2021.

All customers who bought the previous edition before Nov 5 2019, have received a personal coupon code that gives a two thirds (67%) discount on Mastering ArchiMate 3.1 (for personal use only of course). This brings the standard price of €26.99 down to €8.99. NOTE: the coupon code only works for the ArchiMate book, not for the bundle. That is a mistake, I would not want to offer the bundle during the purchase process and then deny the use of the coupon. I am trying to get that fixed, so if you want to use the coupon code for the bundle, please mail me and I’ll inform you when that is possible or check here again later.

The content of the book is described on the book’s home page. Here, I will write a bit about the production and the differences with the previous edition.

Changes because of the ArchiMate Update

  • The most important change is the change in the calculation of derived relations. This has fundamentally changed and suddenly many more relations are allowed that used to be forbidden. This led to a lot of work:
    • A new explanation of derived relation (part of the free excerpt) — this one was easy
    • The removal of the proposal to change derivation that was part of the Discussion section at the end of the book — this one was easy too
    • The removal of several patterns where we were busy working around the limitations (since the limitations are now gone) — this led to a lot of work, both finding these and removing/adapting these
    • The removal of mentions that stuff was forbidden when it is now no longer forbidden — this led to some work
  • The second change is the addition of the Value Stream element (part of the free excerpt). This has little impact as Capability has the exact same grammar as Capability, wherever you can use one you can use the other, grammatically, that is.

TOG claims (here) “The formalization of the derivation rules as mentioned above has had a minor impact on the metamodel structure, since some relationships can now be derived that formerly had to be specified explicitly in the metamodel.”, but in reality they left quite a few direct relations in, even if they can now be derived. E.g. the direct serving relation in a layer from a service to an active element, that was introduced in ArchiMate 2 because it could no longer be derived under changed derivation rules, can now be removed but is still there. That is not a big deal and in the end you can still model in the same way.

Anyway, the changes were few, the effects were medium, and the work was a lot. E.g. as soon as I add or remove text, I often get a lot of work making sure that for instance all references still say “on page x” when needed, because InDesign doesn’t do that automatically.

Changes because I’m a design freak

It all started with me wanting to use a different font, and especially I wanted to use a different front in the images and the text. The tool I use (BiZZdesign Enterprise Studio) has a severely limited set of fonts it will accept/support, and I did not like the diagrams adding yet another font to the look of the book. A secondary problem was that I had lost support for my preferred ArchiMate–BPMN linkage (BiZZdesign dropped it) and that led to the previous edition having in part still ArchiMate 2 diagrams (and thus text) in the section about BPMN and ArchiMate.

The use of multiple typefaces (e.g. bold) and colours in a label (in this case a sticky note in the diagram of the full core metamodel)

I ended up experimenting and finally a serious piece of software engineering (thousands of lines of code, 5 different language —, two of them rather awkward macro/expansion languages) that use model data and generate graphics. As the data I had to work with was of poor quality (errors, things missing), I had to build mechanisms to compensate for erroneous and/or missing data. And when I had that mechanism, it suddenly opened up all sorts of niceties. For instance, I can now easily provide all sorts of formatting in the diagrams that BiZZdesign is unable to do, such as colours

And because I now had an ‘override’ mechanism, I could override much more. For instance, I can now easily provide a translation of a diagram, which I demonstrated when I first released the ArchiMate 3.1 metamodel sheets in Russian.

But, back to the graphics, my engine is built of some pretty powerful parts, and capable of very fancy graphics. Now, before I go on, I like the output of BiZZdesign, of all the tools around, it produces the best looking — and thus most professional looking — output. But still, there are things I can do now, that no tool does or even can. Take for instance how relations attach to elements:

As you can see, tools generally work with rectangle invisible ‘bounding boxes’. That is ugly, what you want is that the relation really attaches to the element. My production does.

Here are more examples:

There are a few details that may not be apparent, immediately, but here they are. First, you can see the 3D element form showing a bit of perspective, slightly more elegant to the eye. Then hops:

BiZZdesign

This is how normally ‘hops’ are drawn. Just a small half-circle. Works fine.

Me

I draw them like this. The subtle break in the horizontal line increases the suggestion of ‘over’ versus ‘under’.

BiZZdesign

The icon of Equipment. Before, it would look like this. Hmm, try to turn those sprockets. The designers simply created a sprocket and scaled the second one down. The ‘teeth’ are straight. This thing could not rotate at all.

Me

But this s closer to something that might. The smaller one has less teeth (6 vs 9) and the tech actually taper off to make it possible for one sprocket to rotate the other.

Me

Notice how the start of the Aggregation is transparent and subtly overlaps with the element, suggesting more of an attachment.

Me

And to end this small list. My ‘user’ icon used in a BPMN User Task is a person of colour as I wanted to add some diversity — which we definitely need in our field. I decided against random diversity — as it would make matters confusing — as well as against a woman-styled icon, being afraid of being accused of being sexist. All in good fun of course, hence the wink. And notice the very faint white outline to make the user icon stand out against the background.

There are many more such completely irrelevant design-freak details. Almost every good architect I know has somewhat of a designer within. Architects crave for ‘elegance’ — just like mathematicians (‘elegant proofs’) and physicists (‘elegant theories’). Elegance is that elusive quality that tells you something has a deep inner quality. ‘Elegant’ architectures are robust, efficient, etc.. Clunky solutions are worth a warning sign. Like his one (this is a reference for those that recognise it).:

This whole artistic sideshow of course totally got out of hand, a vague shadow of the mathematician and founder of computer science Donald Knuth getting side-tracked from writing about algorithms by the fact that there was no decent typesetting environment to beautifully typeset his formulas. Which led to the typesetting language that still produces the best-looking output there is.

Anyway, because I created this engine to create ArchiMate diagrams from data, I was able to revive the chapter on BPMN–ArchiMate linking and I was able to fix almost anything I ran into and I was able to create multiple language diagrams automatically from a single data source and translation information. The engine can so far handle ArchiMate and a large part of BPMN.

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