IEEE 1471 approaching its 5th Birthday

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The standard makes a strong distinction between views and viewpoints. This has either been too obvious, or too subtle, for most of the community. I expected that a primary contribution of IEEE 1471 would be its provision of a standard mechanism for documenting architectural viewpoints. So that viewpoints would become a kind of “on the shelf”, reusable, architectural knowledge, “indexed by” the stakeholders and the concerns which could be addressed by this type of view. So that one could say, If I am interested in architecting a system where dynamic interoperability is a critical concern, I should use viewpoint DI (already defined and sitting on the shelf, in someone’s paper or dissertation). This hasn’t really happened, for the most part. As a result, we haven't seen robust definitions of viewpoints (although a certain book about view types, makes some good candidates). One of the subtleties of the conceptual model, which was quite powerful and totally lost on its audience (apparently), is the notion of architectural model. The point here is that a view might consist of more than one model, each model using different notations. Furthermore, these architectural models could be shared across viewpoints. No one has really exploited this, to my knowledge, although it may be a useful to mechanism to treat what are now called aspects. Finally, the release of the standard suffered from a lack of published worked examples. The IEEE Architecture Working Group always intended to provide a companion to the standard with substantive examples, commentary and rationale. That effort ran out of steam.

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IEEE 1471 [1] was approved for use by IEEE in September 2000. It became an ANSI standard in August 2001. IEEE standards come up for review every five years, so as we approach IEEE 1471’s 5th birthday, the process for its revision is beginning. This position paper is a brief musing on some things within IEEE 1471 that have worked and some that did not. At the end is a set of suggested topics for our Working Group to discuss.

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