In the last month I have been attempting to deliver a baseline architecture into my organisation (before I move on to pastures new).  They didn’t have any suitable tooling, or standards in place, so I decided upon ArchiMate 3.0 and the Archi EA tool.

Although useful, I found the ArchiMate 2.1 standard too restrictive, and a fully “validated” model unable to really express what I wanted to show.  However, the ArchiMate 3.0 standard has opened the number of relationships and component types up, to support a more fluid architecture.

Alongside the recent release of ArchiMate 3.0, a new version of Archi, the free and open source Enterprise Architecture modelling tool, is imminent, and the Archi 4 beta supports the new standards.  Out of the box, Archi does not support collaboratively building an architecture, or any kind of source control repository.  My organisation only has a small number of architects, but this wasn’t going to work.  Luckily an Archi plugin called GRAFICO was released which supports collaboration on an architecture model in Archi using a Git repository.

If anyone else wishes to get all the moving parts together, here is the process by which it can be achieved;

  1. Download the latest Archi 4 beta
  2. Download the latest GRAFICO plugin
  3. Unzip Archi to a suitable location.
  4. Install the GRAFICO plugin
    • copy the downloaded .jar file into the Archi plugin folder (archi/plugins directory)
  5. Create a Git repository (I used Atlassian BitBucket to test this process)
  6. Install a Git tool (I used Atlassian Sourcetree)
  7. Pull the repository to a local directory
    • It will be empty the first time this is completed.
  8. Execute Archi 4 beta
    • If this is the first time, create a new model
      • “File->New->Empty Model”
    • If you have pulled a current model from the repository,  then you must import via GRAFICO
      • “File->Import->Model as GRAFICO”
      • Choose the location as the root of your local Git repository
  9. Create/Update the Architecture Model.
  10. Export architecture model via GRAFICO
    • “File->Export->Model as GRAFICO”
    • Choose the location as the root of your local Git repository
  11. In your Git tool, stage all local changes and Push to the master repository

That’s it, other architects can then follow these steps to collaborate on the model.