IBM Systems Journal

Architectural thinking and modeling with the architects' workbench

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Collecting and organizing all of the architectural information for a system is a challenge faced by information technology (IT) architects. Transforming that information into models of a viable architecture and keeping associated work products consistent and up to date is an even greater challenge. Despite this, model-centric architectural methods are not as widely adopted or as closely followed as they could be, partly due to a lack of appropriate tools. The Architects' Workbench (AWB) is a prototype tool that addresses these problems and supports the creative process of architectural thinking and modeling. This paper presents key AWB innovations and discusses how their design was motivated by insights into architectural work and feedback from IT architects. We describe the design of AWB itself as a metamodel-driven and method-based tool, and we report on experience from the use of AWB in production environments. © 2006 IBM.