Notation

Unlike formal diagramming notations, Structurizr purposely uses a very simple and constrained notation consisting of boxes and uni-directional arrows, some aspects of which can be customised via a set of element and relationship styles. Any styles that you use are shown on an automatically generated diagram key.

While viewing a diagram, click the button to show the diagram key.

Elements

The basic properties of an element are rendered as follows.

Person

Person

A person has a name and description.

Software System

Software System

A software system has a name and description.

Container

Container

A container has a name, description and technology.

Component

Component

A component has a name, description and technology.

Although the notation is relatively constrained, the following aspects can be changed.

  • Shape (default="Box")
  • Icon* (a HTTPS URL, or a data URI representing a base64 encoded PNG/JPG/GIF file)
  • Width (pixels; default=450)
  • Height (pixels; default=300)
  • Background colour (HTML hex value; default="#dddddd")
  • Text colour (HTML hex value; default="#000000")
  • Font size (pixels; default=24)
  • Border ("Solid" or "Dashed"; default="Solid")
  • Opacity (an integer between 0 and 100; default=100)
  • Metadata (true or false, to show or hide the metadata)
  • Description (true or false, to show or hide the description)

* Structurizr Express does not support element icons

Relationships

A relationship between two elements is illustrated by unidirectional (one-way) arrow as follows.

Relationshp without technology
Relationshp with technology

Again, some aspects of this notation can be changed.

  • Line thickness (pixels; default=2)
  • Colour (HTML hex value; default="#707070")
  • Dashed (default=true)
  • Routing ("Direct" or "Orthogonal"; default="Direct")
  • Font size (pixels; default=24)
  • Width (of the description block, in pixels; default=200)
  • Position (of the description along the line, as a percentage from start to end; default=50)
  • Opacity (an integer between 0 and 100; default=100)

Tags and styles

All elements and relationships within a software architecture model can have one or more tags associated with them. A tag is simply a free-format string. By default, the following tags are associated with elements and relationships.

  • Person: Element and Person
  • Software System: Element and Software System
  • Container: Element and Container
  • Component: Element and Component
  • Relationship: Relationship

These default tags cannot be removed, but additional tags can be associated with any element or relationship.

Element and relationship styles are associated with a single tag. For example, to render all people as "Person" shapes on the diagrams, you need to create an element style for the Person tag, and specify a shape of Person.

As with CSS, styles cascade according to the order in which they are added. For example, you could create an element style for the Element tag, in which you specify some defaults, and then create another element style for the Software System tag to override one or more of those defaults.

Examples

The examples page shows a number of example diagrams, all of which have been styled in different ways. For example:

An example diagram

An example diagram key

An example diagram

An example diagram key