Essential – an Open Source EA tool based on Protege

2 March 2009

Today I came across the Essential project –

This is a very interesting open source Enterprise Architecture project that builds on the excellent Protege Ontology Editor.

If you haven’t looked at Protege yet then go to  to find out more about this free open source ontology and knowledge tool and download a copy to try out. It has lots of uses

I also recommend going to the Essential project web site and downloading a copy of Essential to try.

Architecture of Essential

Architecture of Essential

The Essential Modeller uses Protege as it’s editor to enter the Enterprise Architecture model content, based on a Meta model pre-built in Protege.

Essential Architecture Manager

Essential Architecture Manager

 and the Essential Viewer uses a Java web application running in Apache to view the resulting Model.

Essential Viewer

Essential Viewer

The Essential Meta model is a fairly minimal EA Meta model, hence the name ‘Essential’ but it is certainly sufficient for most EA work. Using Protege it would be possible to modify the Meta Model to extend it to support other EA Meta models such as TOGAF 9  or Archimate.

On the Protege web site you’ll also find a number of interesting existing projects, including a model of the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA)  in OWL.

I also remember reading about a Zachman Framework being modelled in Protege a few years ago that I think used a similar approach to the Essential project to publish its contents.




5 Responses to “Essential – an Open Source EA tool based on Protege”

  1. Peter Kelder Says:

    Now Archimate is adopted as standard architecture language by The Open Group are there any plans to support the Archimate language/meta-model in Essential

  2. One of the key principles of the Essential Project is to be framework independent. Our approach to maintaining this principle is to monitor the evolution of leading frameworks and meta-models (including TOGAF and Archimate) and evolve our tools to provide the necessary coverage of capability.

    At this time, we believe that the Essential Meta-Model covers all of the concepts and capabilities of Archimate. However, there are a number of areas where the Essential Meta-Model provides stronger semantics for meta-classes and their relationships. For this reason, we would not look to directly implement the concepts and relationships of Archimate on a like for like basis. Rather, we ensure that there is a clean but implicit mapping between the meta-models, although we appreciate that this mapping is yet to be documented.

    If you are interested in working with us and the community to develop this mapping (including any gap analysis), please feel free to raise this via the forums at the Essential Project –

    The Essential Project Team

  3. Did you had a look at the open source eam tool iteraplan yet? See
    What are your impressions?


  4. How does Essential suppose multiple checkin of data and conflict resolution if large team starts using it. Assuming data is stored in MySQL?

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