How to Create a Basic Architecture Diagram

Learning Objectives: Using Dynamic Features

In this module, we will walk you through step by step how to create a basic Architecture Diagram.

In this tutorial, we will not create a static diagram, but a dynamic diagram. That means the visualization (diagram) will show the data of a model. And if that data changes, the model and the visualization change.

Part I: Generate a Basic Architecture Diagram with Excel

The easiest way to generate a basic architecture diagram is to do the following demo by uploading an Excel sheet.

Click on the image to go to the Templates, Charts, and Maps demos.

dragon1 application architecture requirements diagram example

Dragon1 Basic Architecture Diagram.

This is an example of a dragon1 architecture diagram. It shows a part of the strategy (stakeholders, requirements) and a part of the architecture (applications, software, and their relationships).

Part II: Creating a Diagram with the AR and VD

This tutorial is about using the Architecture Repository (AR) and Visual Designer (VD) web applications. So the focus will lay on performing/doing actions in these web applications.

First, we define the result to be produced: a dynamic Architecture Diagram.

As defined a Dragon1 architecture diagram is only an architecture diagram if it contains strategy entities (an owner/client, stakeholders, needs, requirements), architecture entities ( functions, structure, concepts, principles, elements, and components) and transformation entities (programs, projects, milestones, deliverables). The above diagram is almost an architecture diagram (except for the transformation part).

Features To Be Used

To create this dynamic architecture diagram you as a user need to use certain features on Dragon1. Every feature is accessible via menu buttons and drop-down menu items.

Below is a list of all the features needed to create an architecture diagram. First, we will present a list of all the features and next, we will present a recipe to create the Architecture Diagram and use the features as ingredients.

List of features

  1. Create a New Cabinet (and document it with name, type, title, description, and bitmap) in the Architecture Repository or Visual Designer
  2. Open Cabinet in the Architecture Repository or Visual Designer
  3. Create a New Dossier in the Architecture Repository or Visual Designer
  4. Create a New Folder in the Architecture Repository or Visual Designer
  5. Select a Cabinet, Dossier, or Folder in the Architecture Repository or Visual Designer
  6. Edit a Cabinet, Rename a Cabinet, and Remove a Cabinet in the Architecture Repository or Visual Designer. Idem for Dossier and Folder
  7. Cut, Copy, and Paste Cabinets, Dossiers, and Folders in the Architecture Repository or Visual Designer
  8. Insert a New Entity, idem (the values here will be used in the popups)
  9. Edit an Entity (About the New Edit Dialog)
  10. Hide, Delete an Entity, and Remove an Entity.
  11. Insert a Model, idem
  12. Insert a new Relationship, idem (the name of the relationship can be shown on the connection)
  13. Edit a Relationship
  14. Create a new Visualization (canvas), idem (+ color, size)
  15. Insert a Visual Item in the Architecture Repository, idem (+color, size) // for the title and model on the visualization. Insert a Visual Item in the Visual Designer.
  16. Edit a Visual Item (set it up with tristate + default colors for entities with certain values)
  17. Select a Visualization in the Architecture Repository. Select a Visualization in the Visual Designer.
  18. Publish a Visualization in the Viewer
  19. Publish a Visualization in a Channel


Follow this step-by-step guide to create an exact copy of the diagram above:

  1. Create Cabinet 'TestCabinet'
  2. Create Dossier 'TestDossier'
  3. Create Folders 'Data', 'Models', 'Views' and 'Visualizations'
  4. Create SubFolders 'Strategy', 'Architecture', 'Transformation' in Data, 'Relationships' in Models, and 'Visual Items' in Visualizations.
  5. Insert Entities Owner/Client, Stakeholder1, etc.. in the Data SubFolders. Use the ^ as a name separator in the name field to enter several entities at once.
  6. Insert a new Model 'MyArchitectureModel' in the folder Models
  7. Drag the entities from the Explorer onto the Model Canvas
  8. Check if the shapes are linked to the entities correctly
  9. Draw relationships between stakeholders and requirements, between objects and applications, between applications and software, and between software and hardware entities.
  10. If you switch the player to Normal mode and check the trace box, you will see tracking and tracing for the model with a mouseover on the shapes.
  11. If you change the name or title of a data item, you will see in the normal mode that the name or title of the shape changes.
  12. Now insert a Visualization
  13. Insert a Visual Item on the visualization canvas and configure it by configuring the data attributes:
    • Rule Event: onload
    • Rule Condition:Entityclass=Model;Entityid=[id of the model];
    • Rule Action: generatemodel
    You can find the Id of the model using a mouse over on the model node in the treeview. Next, you need to uplink the visual item to the visualization. Fill in autoshow2 in the popup field on the 'Extra' tab of the New Edit Dialog
  14. Select the visualization in the folder and switch to Normal mode. Now you see the visual item on the canvas being interpreted and the visualization shows/generates the model.
  15. You can position the generated entities and change their colors via the Inspector.
  16. You can also change the position and color of shapes via action script at the visualization and visual item level. In the New Edit Dialog of the Visualization or visual item on the behavior tab in the action script field, fill in the following and the entity will turn green:
    • scColorEntity([entityid], [entityname], [bordercolor], [fillcolor]); Either use the id or the name (the name does not need to be unique)
    You can position an entity by using scPositionEntity like this:
    • scPositionEntity([entityid], [entityname], x, y);
    You can look up the id of the entity in the Explorer.
  17. To publish the diagram in the Viewer you need to change the publication status of the diagram (visualization) to published publicly, meaning that everyone logged into your account and goes to the Viewer can access the visualization.
  18. To share your diagram worldwide in the channel: Select the diagram in the explorer and click on share. Fill in a title and text and choose a channel, to publish the diagram. Click OK. You now have shared your diagram in a channel.
  19. Be sure to create different versions of your diagram.
  20. If you want to create a diagram in collaboration, change the publication status to published private.

Part III: Dynamic Views

With this one model you can create many different views. For instance, a view with all stakeholders, or with all requirements and with all applications. If you click on a stakeholder, requirements, or application, you could decide to go to a detailed view showing only the related entities to that selected entity. For instance, a detailed view of a stakeholder to show its requirements and the applications that are impacted.

Tutorial: Next Steps

Follow the next steps to create generated and clickable views only (even without visualization):

  • Create a view with the name Stakeholders Overview
  • Setup the view for showing only the stakeholders from the model Setup a rule in the New Edit dialog for the view:
    • Rule Event:onload;onclick
    • Rule Condition:Entityclass=Stakeholder
    • Rule Action:showshape(name);showview(relatedto)
  • If you select this view and click on a shape, you will be forwarded to a generated view of related items for that view
  • What you now could do is create a Visualization and call it a Stakeholder Onion Diagram, link the view to that diagram, and position the stakeholder in rings on the diagram
  • We will now create another view showing not impact applications
  • Create a view with the name Application Dependencies View
  • Set up the view for showing only the stakeholder. Setup a rule in the New Edit dialog for the view:
    • Rule Event:onload;
    • Rule Condition:Entityclass=Application;NotRelatedToEntityClass(Requirements)
    • Rule Action:showshape(name);changeshapecolor(red,yellow,purple);
    • Now you have a view showing for which applications no requirements are defined.

Here ends our tutorial for creating a Basic Architecture Diagram. We hope you have enjoyed it!