ADML Preface

Architecture Description Markup Language (ADML), Version 1

Document Number: I901

ŠApril 2000, The Open Group. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owners.

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The Open Group    ADML - Background

The Open Group


The Open Group is the leading vendor-neutral, international consortium for buyers and suppliers of technology. Its mission is to cause the development of a viable global information infrastructure that is ubiquitous, trusted, reliable, and easy-to-use. The Open Group creates an environment where all elements involved in technology development can cooperate to deliver less costly and more flexible IT solutions.

The Open Group is supported by most of the world's largest user organizations, information systems vendors, and software suppliers. By combining the strengths of open systems specifications and a proven branding scheme with collaborative technology development and advanced research, The Open Group is well positioned to meet its new mission, as well as to assist user organizations, vendors, and suppliers in the development and implementation of products supporting the adoption and proliferation of systems which conform to standard specifications.

With more than 200 member companies, The Open Group helps the IT industry to advance technologically while managing the change caused by innovation. It does this by:

The Open Group operates in all phases of the open systems technology lifecycle including innovation, market adoption, product development, and proliferation. Presently, it focuses on seven strategic areas: open systems application platform development, architecture, distributed systems management, interoperability, distributed computing environment, security, and the information superhighway. The Open Group is also responsible for the management of the UNIX trademark on behalf of the industry.

Development of Product Standards

This process includes the identification of requirements for open systems, development of Technical Standards (formerly CAE and Preliminary Specifications) through an industry consensus review and adoption procedure (in parallel with formal standards work), and the development of tests and conformance criteria.

This leads to the preparation of a Product Standard which is the name used for the documentation that records the conformance requirements (and other information) to which a vendor may register a product.

The "X" Device is used by vendors to demonstrate that their products conform to the relevant Product Standard. By use of the Open Brand they guarantee, through the Open Brand Trade Mark License Agreement (TMLA), to maintain their products in conformance with the Product Standard so that the product works, will continue to work, and that any problems will be fixed by the vendor.

Open Group Publications

The Open Group publishes a wide range of technical documentation, the main part of which is focused on development of Technical Standards and product documentation, but which also includes Guides, Snapshots, Technical Studies, Branding and Testing documentation, industry surveys, and business titles.

There are several types of specification:

In addition, The Open Group publishes:

Versions and Issues of Specifications

As with all live documents, Technical Standards and Specifications require revision to align with new developments and associated international standards. To distinguish between revised specifications which are fully backwards compatible and those which are not:

A new Version indicates that it replaces the previous publication of the same title.

A new Issue indicates that both previous and new documents of this same title are maintained as current publications.


Readers should note that Corrigenda may apply to any publication. Corrigenda information is published on the World-Wide Web at

Ordering Information

Full catalog and ordering information on all Open Group publications is available on the World-Wide Web at

Architecture Description Markup Language (ADML) - Background

ADML is a representation language for architecture that was developed by the Micro-electronics and Computer technology Consortium (MCC) as part of its Software and Systems Engineering Productivity (SSEP) project.

ADML has been used by MCC in collaboration with The Open Group to develop a proof of concept for a Building Blocks Description Language (BBDL). The Open Group intends this work program 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.

The following informative presentations were delivered by MCC to The Open Group at its October 1999 meeting:

An ADML representation of the Building Blocks Example (originally "Appendix J") found within The Open Group Architectural Framework (TOGAF) is also available on the MCC web site.

ADML is directly based on ACME, an architecture description language. The principle 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.

The following Contents page provides links to the documentation of the ADML Document Type Definition (DTD); and to the DTD itself.

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