IEEE Standards Board Approves Recommended Practice for Architectural Description of Software-Intensive Systems
Rich Hilliard, AWG Secretary and Editor
David Emery, AWG Liaison
For Release: Immediate
(26 September 2000) The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Standards Board has approved IEEE-Std-1471-2000, Recommended Practice for Architectural Description of Software-Intensive Systems.
The IEEE Architecture Working Group (AWG) developed IEEE 1471 under the sponsorship of the IEEE Software Engineering Standards Committee (SESC). The recommended practice was produced between 1995 and 1998 by a group of approximately thirty participants with the support of over 140 international reviewers. Developed in response to the recent, widespread interest in software architecture, the scope of IEEE 1471 is software-intensive systems—systems where software plays a critical role in system development, operation, or evolution. This encompasses software applications, information systems, embedded systems, systems-of-systems, product lines and product families.
IEEE 1471 establishes a conceptual framework for architectural thinking, codifying current best practices and insights of both the systems and software engineering communities. To date, there has been a virtual "Tower of Babel" in architectural thinking. Architectural practices, including architecture description languages, architectural methods and analysis techniques, and architecting processes are rapidly evolving; the conceptual framework of IEEE 1471 provides a basis on which these diverse architectural practices may be defined, contrasted, consistently applied and evolved.
IEEE 1471 defines a set of "content requirements" on architectural descriptions (ADs): documents produced to describe a software system's architecture. These content requirements may be applied within the context of an organization's existing methods and processes, tools and techniques. Already, organizations—including tool vendors, consulting architects, and other standards bodies—are applying IEEE 1471 to their architecture offerings. In IEEE 1471 architectural descriptions are organized into views to meet the needs of a system's diverse stakeholders. Each view has an underlying viewpoint identifying a set of architectural concerns and specifying how the architectural description meets those concerns, using languages and notations, models, analytical techniques and methods. Organizations may define and select their own set of useful viewpoints. Through its informative annexes, the recommended practice provides example definitions of viewpoints to demonstrate the use of IEEE 1471 with other standards: IEEE/EIA 12207, Software Life Cycle Processes and ISO/IEC 10746, Reference Model for Open Distributed Processing.
IEEE-Std-1471-2000 is available 29 October. It can be ordered through IEEE Customer Service (+1-800-678-IEEE), or on-line (IEEE Store). For more information about IEEE 1471, visit the IEEE 1471 Website