Appendix A. MDA: Model-Driven Architecture

This appendix summarizes Model Driven Architecture (MDA). Several authors dedicate whole books to MDA; seek out those books. The treatment here aims simply to demystify MDA enough so that you can talk sensibly about it. Better yet, investigate the vendor offerings. Abstract descriptions don’t deliver value: tools do.


Both Model Driven Architecture and MDA, like the Unified Modeling Language and UML, are trademarks of the Object Management Group.

What Is MDA?

MDA is the natural evolution of UML, Object Oriented Analysis and Design (OOAD), code generators, and third millennium computing power. At the highest level, MDA envisions the day that UML models become the standard way to design and build software. Business software developers will build their systems through MDA tools. Development in 3GL languages such as Java or .Net will remain a toilsome necessity for the system level. For business applications, current languages will be too inefficient to be viable, used only by the most backward-looking organizations. As an analogy, consider the place of assembler and C (or even C++) in main-line business applications today.

MDA uses models to get the highest leverage out of software development. MDA isn’t a development process. It isn’t a specification. It isn’t an implementation. It isn’t a conformance suite. It doesn’t have a reference implementation. The OMG, wisely, has avoided specifying how you go about leveraging software models. MDA ...

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