TOGAF is a enterprise architecture standard that is fully free and open for any organization to use. It is developed by The Open Group and the first version was published in 1995. The standard is full and works fine on its own but most organizations tend to use just parts of it or just certain part to fill their enterprise architecture models. The development group consists of a wide spectrum and the result represents the needs of the whole community of these stakeholders.
TOGAF standard defines enterprise architecture to four domains that are usually found from other enterprise architecture standards too and widely accepted as the common subsets. The business architecture which consists of business models and processes. The data architecture which consists of all data objects and assets the organization holds. The application architecture which consists of applications, how they are deployed, where they are deployed, how they work together and how they are related to business. The technology architecture consists of overview of software and hardware and how they relate and work within the previous domains.
TOGAF provides a method for developing the TOGAF standardized architectures. The method is used for creating a new architecture, developing already established, moving from one architecture to another and monitoring how architecture is developing. The method is simply defining and inspecting the results of the created architecture with response to business objectives. The method is similar to agile development methodologies where the development processes are continuous and iterative cycle. However as it is a controlled development method it has phases which define the continuous cycle. The phases go from the preliminary phase which describes the architecture principles and architecture vision to through the specific domains and their development and migration phases.
The TOGAF architecture content framework is a model for all the content that is produced during the continuous architecture building process. During the process mentioned above there are a lot of material that is produced. This material can quickly end up unresolvable and by using the content framework is is ensured that the materials don’t get mixed up.
The previously mentioned are the main points of TOGAF but there are a lot of more to TOGAF. Enterprise continuum is a way to classify architectures and their documents into a wider context. Architecture repository is store for all the outputs and creations of the architecture development method. TOGAF architecture capability is a model to define the organization roles and properties in order to ensure enterprise architecture is deployed and correctly used all around the organization. TOGAF provides a first class standard for creating, maintaining and developing enterprise architectures. Most enterprise architecture standards focus on what are the deliverables of the architecture. The difference with TOGAF is that it focuses a lot into the architecture development method and how the using organization gets to create the architecture the need. The generic approach of TOGAF ensures it suits well to majority of use cases and it doesn’t restrict itself by generalizing the architecture and the deliverables to a too strict boundaries.