Architecture Description Markup Language (ADML)

The Architecture Description Markup Language (ADML) is an XML-based representation language for architecture. It was originally developed by the Micro-electronics and Computer technology Consortium (MCC) as part of MCC's Software and Systems Engineering Productivity (SSEP) project.

ADML is based on ACME, an architecture description language. The principal language design and tool development work for ACME has been undertaken by David Garlan, Bob Monroe, and Drew Kompanek at Carnegie Mellon University, and Dave Wile at USC's Information Sciences Institute. ADML adds to ACME a standardized representation (parsable by ordinary XML parsers), the ability to define links to objects outside the architecture (such as rationale, designs, components, etc.), straightforward ability to interface with commercial repositories, and transparent extensibility.

ADML has its own web site explaining the features and benefits of ADML for different communities.

ADML has been used by MCC in collaboration with The Open Group to develop a proof of concept for a "Building Blocks Description Language". The Open Group intends this work to provide a means of defining architectural building blocks in a way that allows their interactions with other building blocks to be captured, and that allows real products to be conformance tested and procured to fulfil the defined functions.

As part of its wider vision, The Open Group aims to set up a Building Blocks Information Base - a database of building block definitions importable by any tool supporting the ADML standard. This will be analogous to our existing Standards Information Base. A draft business scenario explains how the Building Blocks Information Base would operate.

MCC's presentations to The Open Group in October, 1999 provide the background and context to this work, together with an ADML representation of the example originally published as Appendix J in TOGAF Version 4, and now published as the Building Blocks Example.

Documentation on ADML, including the ADML Document Type Definition (DTD), was originally published in TOGAF Version 5 in December, 1999. In the first half of 2000, ADML Version 1 was officially adopted as an Open Group Technical Standard. The adoption process included a rewrite / rationalization of the DTD. The updated DTD is available here. The complete ADML Technical Standard, including the updated DTD, is available from the Open Group Publications web site.

For further information on ADML, you are encouraged to visit the ADML web site.

Copyright The Open Group, 1999, 2000