ISO/IEC/IEEE 42010 Systems and software engineering — Architecture description is an international standard for architecture descriptions of systems and software.


ISO/IEC/IEEE 42010:2011 defines requirements on the description of system, software and enterprise architectures. It aims to standardise the practice of architecture description by defining standard terms, presenting a conceptual foundation for expressing, communicating and reviewing architectures and specifying requirements that apply to architecture descriptions, architecture frameworks and architecture description languages.

Following its predecessor, IEEE 1471, the standard makes a strict distinction between architectures and architecture descriptions.

The description of ISO/IEC/IEEE 42010 in this article is based upon the standard published in 2011.[1] This standard has been withdrawn and replaced with ISO/IEC/IEEE 42010:2022 in November 2022

History of ISO/IEC/IEEE 42010

The origin of the standard was the fast track international standardization of IEEE 1471:2000. The standard was originally balloted as ISO/IEC DIS 25961. It was subsequently adopted and published as ISO/IEC 42010:2007 which was identical with IEEE 1471:2000.

In 2006, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC7 WG 42 and IEEE Computer Society launched a coordinated revision of this standard to address: harmonization with ISO/IEC 12207 and ISO/IEC 15288; alignment with other ISO/IEC architecture standards (e.g. ISO/IEC 10746 Reference Model Open Distributed Processing); the specification of architecture frameworks and architecture description languages; architecture decision capture; and correspondences for model and view consistency.[2]

In July 2011, the Final Draft International Standard was balloted and approved (21-0) by ISO member bodies. The corresponding IEEE version, P42010/D9, was approved as a revised standard by the IEEE-SA Standards Board on 31 October 2011. ISO/IEC/IEEE 42010:2011 was published by ISO on 24 November 2011.[1]


  1. ^ a b "ISO/IEC/IEEE 42010:2011 - Systems and software engineering - Architecture description". International Organization for Standardization. 2011-11-24. Retrieved 2013-08-06.
  2. ^ David Emery and Rich Hilliard (2008-02-21). "Updating IEEE 1471: Architecture Frameworks and Other Topics". Seventh Working IEEE/IFIP Conference on Software Architecture (WICSA 2008). pp. 303–306. doi:10.1109/WICSA.2008.32. ISBN 978-0-7695-3092-5. S2CID 16132142.