TOGAF – general patterns and principles – architectural specification


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This is the first of four related papers at


Preface. 1

Patterns in TOGAF’s architectural specification. 1

Direct and indirect relationships between architectural entities. 3

The logical / physical dichotomy. 3



EA design sequences (recommended in TOGAF and ArchiMate) reflect system theory principles:

·        From logical to physical - abstract specification before concrete implementation.

·        From external to internal - required services/products before internal processes and roles/actors/components.

·        From behaviour to structure - services and process sequences before roles/actors/components.

·        From business to technology - human actors before computer actors.


There are reasons to deviate from these sequences in practice, and to “reverse engineer”.

But methods for governing design and implementation against a specification usually start with these presumptions.

This paper introduces patterns TOGAF applies to specification documentation and to design processes.

Patterns in TOGAF’s architectural specification

EA is about business capabilities, about human and computer activity systems in which actors/components have the ability to achieve desired effects by playing roles in processes.

A required capability can be specified as group of required services (accessible via interfaces) to be delivered by actors/components able to perform the necessary processes.


This table maps terms commonly used in business and software architecture to a general structure.

General structure

General concepts

General business architecture entities

General software entities

Active structure

Actors/components play roles in

Actors, Roles

Objects, Classes, Components


processes to

Business Processes

Method bodies, Procedures

Passive structure

maintain system state and/or

Business Data Entities

Fields, Attributes


interact via inputs and outputs

with each other and with

Business Services/Products

Service Level Agreements

Methods, Operations,



external entities and events

Customers, Suppliers

Client and server objects


Specification by encapsulation of capabilities, systems or components is a fundamental principle, predating SOA and OO design.
Service-oriented specification has been a principle of The Open Group since it was formed, and underpins TOGAF.

The table below applies a general pattern to architectural entities in the TOGAF meta model.

Passive Structure

External Behaviour

Internal Behaviour

Logical Active Structure

Physical Active Structure





Logical Component

Physical Component


Event, Product

Business Service



Organisation Unit



Information System

Data Entity

Information Service


Logical App Component

Physical App Component



Platform Service


Logical Tech Component

Physical Tech Component


You can specify a Logical Component by naming it and specifying its Interface, which means listing the discrete Services it offers in its “service portfolio”.

·        A "Logical Technology Component" is specified by the "Platform Services" it offers.

·        A "Logical Application Component" is specified by the "Information System Services" it offers.

·        A business “Function” or “Role” can be specified by the "Business Services" it offers.

Direct and indirect relationships between architectural entities

The TOGAF meta model shows these direct left-to-right associations.

·        Information Services <are assigned to> Logical App Components <are realised by> Physical App Components

·        Platform Services <are assigned to> Logical Tech Components <are realised by>  Physical Tech Components.


These additional indirect associations are valid, but TOGAF omits them.

·        Information Services <are assigned to--< Physical App Components

·        Platform Services <are assigned to> Physical Tech Components.


In the business domain, the direct left-to-right associations are:

·        Business Services/Products <result from> Processes <are clustered into> Functions <are assigned to--< Organisation Units

·        Business Services/Products <result from> Processes <involve> Roles <are played by> Actors.


EA documentation is usually centred on a logical functional decomposition hierarchy aka capability map.

This decouples the logical architecture from the organisation’s management structure.

These additional indirect associations are valid, but fragile due to the volatility of organisation structures and employees.

·        Business Services/Products <are produced by> Organisation Units

·        Organisation Units <employ> Actors

·        Processes <are performed by> Actors.


One more association, Business Services/Products <are assigned to> Functions, is relevant.

Since Functions can be defined externally by the Services they offer and internally by the sub-Functions they contain.

The logical / physical dichotomy

The logical / physical distinction may be drawn in several different ways; some equate it to the behaviour / structure distinction.

This table maps the logical / physical distinction in TOGAF to the external / internal distinction in ArchiMate/BCS generic meta model.

ArchiMate/BCS generic meta model



TOGAF meta model entities

Behavioural view

Structural view




Behavioural view

Structural view

External view

what external

entities see

Event / Service





& Logical

Business Service

IS Service

Platform Service

Function/Capability, Role

Logical Application Component

Logical Technology Component

Internal view

the workings of

the system







Organisation, Actor

Physical Application Component

Physical Technology Component


EA describes human and computer activity systems in which actors/components play roles in activities.

Note that TOGAF architects describe both logical actors/components and physical realisations/instances of them.

(They describe logical Services and Processes, but cannot describe physical realisations/performances of them, since they exist only at run time.)


Physical Component descriptions are technology-specific, but still “considerably abstracted from” deployable physical artefacts.

Specifications of Physical Components and other Solution Building Blocks are recorded in TOGAF’s solution repository

Specifications of even more abstract Logical Components and other Architecture Building Blocks are recorded in TOGAF’s architecture repository.


Most meta model entities (e.g. Components, Processes, Services and Goals) are composable and decomposable.

Recursive composition and decomposition of these elements means that most associations between them are N-N.


Related papers

In 2008, I had to align TOGAF with ArchiMate, UML and several other sources, to complete work commissioned by the British Computer Society.

It seemed well-nigh impossible until I recognised General System Theory concepts in the ArchiMate generic meta model, and realised this theory provided a neutral middle ground.

General System Theory underpins EA at all levels; it is partially obscured behind the TOGAF narrative, yet it is there all the same.

For more detailed analysis go to system theory page at


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