Extended Notation


prsc-extended™The basic notations is all you need to learn in order to understand any PrimaryScape™ diagram.

The extended notation provides additional nuances which are useful to make diagrams more expressive.

The extensions to the notation includes two variations for each of the behavior, information, and structure concepts.

The relationships shown in the diagram to the right are not extension but rather examples of common uses of the data access and functional access relationships.

The key to the extended notation is not the names or labels affixed to them in the descriptions below but rather that it allows one to show differences between items in a diagram.  The only exception to this statement is the team structure which really has the intent to identify a team in a diagram.



Structure Extensions

There are two structure extension: Team structure and Organization structure.


The team structure extension is possibly the most important extension.  It allows us to differentiate silicon based computer systems from carbon based people systems.  The same could be accomplished with the basic structure notation and using a descriptive name but using the extended notation makes teams visually pop out.  Showing teams separate from systems also makes diagrams a little less dehumanizing and more relatable to a greater audience.

The team extension is what show cases how the PrimaryScape™ notation bridges the business-IT divide.  A diagram with both systems and teams captured, with their respective behaviors and information, shows both the IT side and the business side of that part of an organization.  The before and after snapshots of the simple example shows the use of the team structure extension.

prsc-simple_example™    prsc-team-simple_example™

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The org structure extension is used to group other structures together into some higher level structure or organization.  The basic structure notation could be used but the slightly different notation makes a visual distinction between two different levels of structural abstraction.


Even though the extended notation is used in the above example of how to use the org structure concept the key concepts of behavior, information, and structure still remains clear.

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Information Extensions

There are two types of information extensions: information of record and transient information.


This extension is basically just a brighter version of the normal information icon.  This is used when you want to draw special attention to some of the information shown in a diagram.  The most common use of this extension is to show what information represents an information of record.  Information of record is where that specific information should be created and maintained.  Other representations of the same information should be immutable copies.  When there are more than one information of record for the same information you have a situation where data integrity problems are likely to exist or arise.

It is important to note that it is not bad to duplicate information.  This is a common misconception.  What is bad is allowing changes to the same information in more than one location which makes data integrity problems a higher likelihood.  Duplicating information for read only purposes is one of the oldest patterns in the book when it comes to making a system more efficient and is known as caching information.


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This extension is used to indicate transient information.  Examples of transient information are files on an FTP server, messages in queues, or data in staging tables.  Transient information exists only for a limited time then it is removed.  Even though transient information is not a permanent store of information it is very relevant in understanding how information is passed from one system to another.  Transient information is a common hand off between processes or functions of two different systems or structures.


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Behavior Extensions

There are two types of behavior extensions: emphasized behavior and transient behavior.


This extension is added to make it possible to highlight or emphasize certain behavior in a diagram.

Unlike for information, where highlighting system of record information is the primary use of that extension, there is not yet a similar primary use for the emphasized behavior.  Suggestions based on real experience substantiated by examples are encouraged.


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This extension is used to indicate transient behavior.  The most common use of the transient behavior is to show behavior which gets loaded from a separate system.

One example is when a browser loads an application with logic from an application server.  The logic runs in the browser but at rest the “code” is stored on the application server.

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