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Documenting application architecture...

What do you use to document application architecture? We have a number of apps that have many connections between them, primarily between DB's.

We could use Visio to diagram these relationships, but it seems to me that in addition to a diagramatic representation, it would be useful to store these in a DB (or something) where you can run queries against the information. I'd like to record things like interfaces, interface scheduling, data points being moved, kinds of server being used.

This is being done in part to start to consolidate and make better use of what we have, but also to ensure that as we build and integrate more apps we do so in a sensible and integrated fashion, and that we do it with large scale architecture in mind.

Anyone with experience in using tools to do this?

Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Visio is a good tool for summarizing what is going on - if you need more detail then just produce extra some text. 

Remember, the more elaborate your documentation, the more effort will be required to keep it up to date.

A summary diagram that encapsulates the essential important elements is what I usually produce, any accompanying text is then easy to recall without having to re-read anything.

Chris Peacock
Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Enterprise Architect

has a free trial. Really inexpensive to buy but very fully featured.

Off to look at the stars tonight
Wednesday, August 4, 2004

I tried Enterprise Architect and hated it.  It seems very well-regimented, but is heavily UML-specific.

I'd rather cover a white board and then transpose the sucker into Visio once things are more solidified.

Wednesday, August 4, 2004

I work in a government regulated environment, so producing and keeping this doc is not an issue from a resource perspective.

Having the detail around the architecture is also a 'good thing' -- being able to find out what ports an app communicates across without having to leap across departments is nice. Of course not having such a burdensome process for production environments would be good too, but this is what we have.

Does Vision have a mechanism for saving it's data to a DB? Does anyone have experience with a plugin that will do this?

Thursday, August 5, 2004

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