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Visualize Architecture: Microservice Architecture Tool for visualizing, analysing and automatic documentation of (distributed) Software Architectures


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vistecture: Service Architecture Tool

dependency security scanning

A tool for visualizing and analyzing distributed (micro) service oriented architectures. Just define your applications (microservices) with its dependencies in a simple yaml file.

You can use the online browser: Example

Or you can use it to render graphviz based images and any kind of text documentations.


Define your application architecture:

Describe your architecture in YAML in a machine readable format and generate various documentation artefacts out of it.

For an example see the "demoproject" in the example folder.

You can put your definition in one (big) file or split it up in multiple files in structured directories (which is preferred for structuring bigger definitions).

Installation Options:

Go Get

go get

Use a Docker container

It has graphviz and vistecture installed and can be used directly:

docker pull aoepeople/vistecture

Example usages:

cd /your/path/with_vistecture_defintions

docker run -v $(pwd):/workspace -p 8080:8080 aoepeople/vistecture vistecture --config=/workspace/projectconfig.yml serve

docker run -v $(pwd):/workspace aoepeople/vistecture  vistecture --config=/workspace/projectconfig.yml analyze

docker run -v $(pwd):/workspace aoepeople/vistecture  sh -c "vistecture --config=/workspace/projectconfig.yml graph --iconPath=templates/icons | dot -Tpng -o /workspace/graph.png"

Or Download Binaries

You can also download a published release from Github:

E.g. for macOS.

(For Linux use vistecture-linux and for Windows vistecture.exe)

curl -LOk ""
chmod +x vistecture

# download the templates
curl -LOk ""

And then discover the command:

vistecture help

Vistecture Configuration Format:

Vistecture need a Project Configuration and multiple Application configurations:

Project Configuration

The project configuration can be used to:

  • load the list of applications (key appDefinitionsPaths) this can be path to a folder or concrete file that contain the application configuration

Here is an example:

projectName: "Demoproject"
- external-services
- service-group-1
- service-group-2
- name: customer-portal
  - name: loyalty
    type: gui
    - reference: order-workflow
  - test
- name: "Demoproject minimal"
  - customer-portal
  - single-sign-on
  - order-workflow

Application Configuration

name: service1
group: group1
technology: scala
team: team1
  borderColor: "#c922b3"
summary: Short description
  foo: bar
  my-version: 0.1.latest
description: |
  Use markdown to describe the service.
  * one
  * tow
  - name: someApi
    type: api
    - reference: service1.someApi
      relationship: partnership
      description: Some description here
  - name: otherApi
    type: api
  - name: eventpublish
    type: exchange
  - type: mysql
  - reference: service2

Please also see chapter 'Domain Language / Concepts' for more information

Usage Options

Run Browser based view:

vistecture --config=pathtodefinitions serve

To add a list to other assets you can use the staticDocumentsFolder parameter

vistecture --config=pathtodefinitions serve --staticDocumentsFolder=/folderwithother_docs

Generate Graphs:

A main feature is generating graphviz compatible graph descriptions that can be used by any of the graphviz layouters like this:

Complete Graph:

vistecture --config=pathtodefinitions graph | dot -Tpng -o graph.png

(Not all graphviz versions will work!)

Graph for a dedicated project configuration:

vistecture --config=pathtodefinitions graph --projectname=nameoftheproject | dot -Tpng -o graph.png

Graph for one application and its direct dependencies (including infrastructure dependencies):

vistecture --config=pathtodefinitions graph --application=applicationame | dot -Tpng -o graph.png

The generation of the graph can add small icons to the applications. Therefore the tool looks in iconPath for a .png file matching the defined "technology".

Team Graphs

You can also draw the resulting relationships between the teams:

vistecture --config=pathtodefinitions teamGraph  --summaryRelation 1 | dot -Tpng -Gbgcolor=white -o teamgraph.png

Generate documentations:

You can also render a documentation - expecting the dot command is executable for the application it will embed svg images:

vistecture --config=pathtodefinitions documentation > documentation.html

The rendering needs a go html template. The "template" folder comes with a nice example. You can download the templates to your local filesystem and use or modify them.


vistecture --config=pathtodefinitions documentation --templatePath=$GOPATH/ > documentation.html

Other artefacts:

Check for cyclic dependencies and get a very basic impact analysis:

vistecture --config=pathtodefinitions analyze

Concepts and the Domain Language of the Service definition:

This tool defines:


A project defines which applications to be included for processing at runtime. In general, a project acts as a repository "overwrite" to minimize configuration effort.

If no project or no "included applications" are configured, all available applications in the repository will be taken. If multiple projects are available and no one is explicitly mentioned in the command line call, the first found will be taken.

The "included-applications" container references defined applications by name but can overwrite all other root attributes of an application like title, properties etc.


An Application is normally something that offers one or more service-components (or interfaces). Normally an Application is something that is deployed separately - and has a separate build and integration pipeline.

  • Supported Categories: external (rendered in red)
  • Supported Technologies: go, scala, magento, akeneo, php, anypoint, keycloak (they will get a nice icon)


An Application offers services (more specific service components - but we use services here). An application can offer one or more services. Services are used by other systems or humans.

Service Properties Description
isPublic They can be public or just internal.
isOpenHost The service is a well designed published API
securityLevel Classification of the API in regard of security (public, internal, confidential, restricted)
dependencies Array of Dependencies


An Application or a service can have dependencies. You can define dependency on application or also on service level (to emphasize that the dependency is only required for a certain service.) A dependency creates a reference to either an application, or more exactly, to a service. The relation is of a certain relationship type. You can also add a description to explain more details to this dependency.

Dependency Properties Description
reference String in the format Applicationname.Servicename (Servicename is optional).
relationship String - defining the collaboration level between the two bounded contexts / relationship (see below).
isSameLevel Boolean. Use this to influence graph formatting - to emphasise that the services are semantically on the same level.
resilience String. Define the implemented resilience pattern.
isBrowserBased If the dependency is established in the browser (and not from the backend.) This results in a dashed line.

Relationship types

Relationship type Description
partnership Very close collaboration
customer-supplier A strong dependency exists. The supplier delivers what is required by the customer. A stronger collaboration between the teams of the components needs to exist.
conformist Emphasise a strong dependency that we need the services provided. But there is no chance to influence the interface - so the downstream component is forced to conform to whatever is provided - and needs to make it work.
(please note that on a per service level it is possible to define the service as isOpenHost - this normally means that the applications consuming this services fall in the relationship "open-host")
acl Anti corruption layer: If the provided interface is complex or very different from the applications bounded context internal model. The acl emphasizes that the downstream component takes care to isolate his domain with a acl pattern)


Groups (Business Services)

Applications can be grouped. For example, this can be used to visualize Business Services:

Several service components are typically composed to business services. For example, an e-commerce shop business service may consist of services from e-commerce application, login application, search application.


  • Better Impact Analysis for application failures - including resilience evaluation
  • Generate useful artifacts for infrastructure pipeline (e.g. consul acls, service discovery tests...)


go get

// run tests
go test ./...

// build binaries:
make all

// releasing: docker publish
// push changes to github /
// adjust version number in Makefile (!!)  and run
make dockerpublish


Visualize Architecture: Microservice Architecture Tool for visualizing, analysing and automatic documentation of (distributed) Software Architectures








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