8. Executable Standards

This chapter provides an introduction to Executable Standards. Further guidance on Executable Standards is expected to be provided at a later date in a separate publication.

8.1. The Principle of Executable Standards

This principle states that The Open Group Standards “should be executable”; the term “should” being used intentionally to denote this is a recommendation and not a requirement.

The rationale put forward with the principle is as follows:

  • Standards are only useful if they are implemented

    The adoption and use of standards can be accelerated through the provision of prototype code, reference implementations, or API descriptions.

  • Standards can be demonstrated as fit-for-purpose through the creation of an executable version of the standard

The implications are that:

  • A standard should be accompanied by a reference implementation or a reference architecture that has been proven repeatable

  • A standard may consist of executable code, provided that the code is subject to consensus-led change control

  • Reference implementations can be considered part of The Open Group Standard and must meet all of The Open Group guiding principles, especially Principle #5 (No legal impediment to implementation or adoption), as would any paper specification

8.2. Changes to the Way of Working

The primary driver for Executable Standards is to accelerate adoption of The Open Group Standards. This principle recommends that The Open Group creates supporting deliverables for its standards, or standards in a form that is executable. In the latter case, the written standard text, if any, might be supporting.

A good example of an Executable Standard is the ArchiMate® Model Exchange File Format standard where the XML/XSD schema files are directly executable.

There will need to be some changes to the way of working to support Executable Standards. The circulation of draft texts may no longer be relevant. New tools will likely be needed to develop reference models, or other executable deliverables. However, we expect the overall approach of consensus approval of the results to be applied, and for the process to be open.