OpenEHR library implementing ADL 2, AOM 2 and RM 1.0.4
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Archie: OpenEHR Library

Archie is an openEHR Library written in Java, which can be used to implement openEHR tools and systems. See for information about openEHR. Archie works with the most recent versions of openEHR. This includes ADL version 2. It contains an ADL 2 parser and an archetype object model implementation, as well as the EHR part of the reference model implementation.

It uses the ANTLR adl-grammar written by Thomas Beale at

It is licensed under the Apache license.

Migrating from the previous 0.3 version of archie

Version 0.4 of archie is a major update that requires changes in your code to upgrade. See on how to migrate from archie version 0.3.x.


You can depend on parts of Archie, or the entire library at once. If you want the entire library, including the Archetype Object Model, ADL parser, all tools and OpenEHR reference model implementation, you can do in gradle:

dependencies {
    compile ''

or if you use maven, in your pom.xml


If you want to depend on just the AOM and BMM, without any reference model implementation, depend on and instead


Build Status codecov

You need Java 8 to build. Check out the source and type:

./gradlew build

To install to your local maven repository for use in other gradle or maven projects:

./gradlew install




The base of OpenEHR are archetypes. Archie allows you to work with them, and defines tools to create and validate them.

Parsing and Archetype queries

ADLParser parser = new ADLParser();
Archetype archetype = parser.parse(adlFile);

AOMPathQuery query = new AOMPathQuery("/context[id1]/items[id2]/value");
ArchetypeModelObject object = query.find(archetype.getDefinition());

ArchetypeModelObject sameObject = archetype.getDefinition().itemAtPath("/context[id1]/items[id2]/value")

CAttribute attribute = archetype.getDefinition()

Or, if you prefer your paths to be human readable, you could do:

APathQuery query = new APathQuery("/context[systolic]/items");

CAttribute attribute = archetype.getDefinition()
    attribute.getLogicalPath(); // is 'context[systolic]/items'

Checking for parse errors

The parser is setup to continue parsing even if there are errors. This means you will manually have to check for parse errors in your code, after parsing each file:

if(!parser.getErrors().hasNoErrors()) {

Creating an Archetype Repository

A single archetype can be useful, but archetypes often are related to other archetypes: They specialize a parent archetype, or link to another archetype. To easily use archetypes, you can create an ArchetypeRepository:

InMemoryFullArchetypeRepository repository = new InMemoryFullArchetypeRepository();
for(Archetype archetype:allArchetypes) {

for(ValidationResult result:repository.getAllValidationResults()) {
    ... your code here

The validation result contains the validation result, listing any errors in the archetype. It also contains the source archetype and if validation passed far enough to allow it to flatten, the flattened form of the archetype.

Reference model metadata

You may have noticed a call to BuiltinReferenceModels.getMetaModels(). This retrieves the metadata for the reference models, which are needed to validate and flatten archetypes. Archie contains two types of metamodels: BMM, and reflection based metadata. The BMM models are a file containing metadata in a form defined by the OpenEHR specifications. The reflection based metadata contains ModelInfoLookup classes. They are derived from an implementation of a reference model. Note that the ModelInfoLookup classes are only added if you depended on them. If you depended on archie-all, you're all set.

Operational templates

You can create operational templates of your archetypes. Think of operational templates as something you generate from an archetype or template to more easily work with it. If you are creating an EHR implementation, these will likely be the most useful form of archetypes to work with. OpenEHR Archetypes allow you to reuse structures inside your archetypes at several places. It also allows to embed other archetypes inside your archetype. Without operational templates, you would need to build support for these structures into all of your tools. Operational templates fix this for you, by replacing the proxies for structure and embedded archetypes in the archetype with a copy of the actual embedded structure. For more information about operational templates, see (the documentation at the OpenEHR website)[]. Note that ADL 2 operational templates is fundamentally different from the ADL 1.4 OET/OPT format. What you used to achieve with OET/OPT is now built into ADL 2 as templates in combination with the operational template creation. See (the OpenEHR specification on templates)[] on how to work with them.

To create an Operational Template:

Flattener flattener = new Flattener(repository, BuiltinReferenceModels.getMetaModels()).createOperationalTemplate(true);
OperationalTemplate template = (OperationalTemplate) flattener.flatten(sourceArchetype);

Make sure you pass an original archetype, not a flattened version.

Note that a flattener is single use: to flatten another archetype after use, you will have to create another Flattener. You can also setup the flattener to remove languages from the terminology by specifying the languages you wish to keep, by calling flattener.keepLanguages("en", "nl"), with a list of language strings before flattening. Additionally you can also remove the languages from the metadata of the archetype by calling flattener.removeLanguagesFromMetadata(true) before flattening. Of course, if you leave out the flattener.createOperationalTemplate(true) call, the flattener will flatten the archetype, but not create an OperationalTemplate.

Terminology: texts, term bindings and descriptions for your archetypes

You can directly use archetype.terminology() to get the meaning in any desired language. Archie contains convenience methods to make this easier for you in several ways. Since you likely will want to use the same language for many calls in the same thread, you can specify the language you are using as a thread local variable and just directly get terms for the Archetype Constraints.


CObject cobject = archetype.getDefinition().getAttribute("context").getChild("id1");
ArchetypeTerm term = cobject.getTerm();"and the archetype term text in Dutch is: " + term.getText());

This just works in all cases - with the normal terminology of an unflattened archetype and with component terminologies from operational templates.

Of couse, you can also specify the language yourself:

CObject cobject = archetype.getDefinition().getAttribute("context").getChild("id1");
ArchetypeTerm term = archetype.getTerm(cobject, "en");"and the archetype term text in English is: " + term.getText());

Or you could access the terminology itself:


For terminology constraints with locally defined values:

CTerminologyCode cTerminologyCode = object.itemAtPath("/somePath...");
List<TerminologyCodeWithArchetypeTerm> = cTerminologyCode.getTerms();


archetype.getTerm(cTerminologyCode, "at15", "en");

Diffing archetypes

The inverse operation of flattening archetypes is diffing. This is useful if you write a tool to edit archetypes. For end users, it's much less complicated to edit flat forms of archetypes instead of differential forms. This operation lets users edit the flat form, after which you can save the output from the differentiator as the differential form. To use the Differentiator:

Archetype flatChild, flatParent; //for how to parse and flatten, see elsewhere in the readme

Differentiator differentiator = new Differentiator(BuiltinReferenceModels.getMetaModels());
Archetype diffed = differentiator.differentiate(flatChild, flatParent);

Use a flattened archetype both for the parent and the specialized archetype. Do not use OperationalTemplates.

The Differentiator supports differentiating the definition of the archetype, plus the terminology. It performs the following operations:

  • adding sibling order markers to preserve the ordering of cObjects in the specialized archetype
  • removing default or unspecialized cardinality, occurrences and existence
  • removing unspecialized CObjects
  • removing unspecialized CAttributes
  • removing unspecialized tuples
  • generating differential paths where possible
  • generating a diff of the terminology, including term definitions, term bindings and value sets
  • removes any translations that exist in the parent archetype, but not in the specialised archetype
  • removing terminology extracts

It returns a new archetype as its result, the input archetypes are never altered. The sibling order algorithm is written so that it creates a very small number of sibling order markers, and only generates them if necessary. The diff operation does not diff any template overlays if presented with a Template. However, you can use a flattened TemplateOverlay plus its flat parent as arguments and obtain the differential form of the template overlay. You can then replace the edited template overlay in the template yourself. It is possible that this feature will be added in a later version. It also does not yet diff the rules section, this must be manually performed.

Serializing to ADL

Archetype models can be serialized to ADL thanks the the serializer written by @markopi64 from Marand Labs. To use:

String serialized = ADLArchetypeSerializer.serialize(archetype);

This can be done on all kinds of Archetypes, including OperationalTemplates

JSON and XML (de)serialization

Both the Archetype and Reference Model objects serialize and deserialize to JSON and XML. JSON serialization works using Jackson. You can get a fully configured ObjectMapper using JacksonUtil:

String json = JacksonUtil.getObjectMapper().writeValueAsString(archetype);
Archetype parsedArchetype = JacksonUtil.getObjectMapper().readValue(json, Archetype.class);

The JSON output contains some features that make it easy to use in javascript, such as path attributes and translations in the language of your choice directly in the JSON. These features are ignored when parsing - as they should be.

XML works using JAXB. The XML output for the reference model conforms to the official openEHR RM XSD. For the AOM this is a bit tricky, because there is no finished XSD yet. It currently conforms to the development AOM 2.0 format. This format is still subject to change. To use:

Marshaller marshaller = JAXBUtil.getArchieJAXBContext().createMarshaller();
StringWriter writer = new StringWriter();
marshaller.marshal(archetype, writer);
String xml = writer.toString();

Unmarshaller unmarshaller = JAXBUtil.getArchieJAXBContext().createUnmarshaller();
Archetype parsedArchetype = (Archetype) unmarshaller.unmarshal(new StringReader(xml));


ODIN is a JSON/YAML like notation used as part of ADL, for meta-data, terminologies and annotations. See for what more it can do. To our knowledge it's not used widely outside of ADL/openEHR. Archie can map ODIN data directly to Java-objects using Jackson.

    YourType type = OdinObjectParser.convert(odinText, YourType.class);

It works by first converting to JSON, then binding that to objects with Jackson. This means you can also convert ODIN to JSON.

    String json = new OdinToJsonConverter().convert(odinText);

Converting to JSON is a great way to get ODIN object mapping with very little code and it parses enough to parse the ODIN used in ADL 2. Odin has a few advanced features not generally used in archetype metadata, which are object references and intervals. These are currently not yet supported, although it is very possible to implement them using a custom deserializer for the interval and JSON references for the object references.

Intervals and primitive objects

The Interval has its has(value) method implemented. So you can do:

new Interval<>(2,4).has(3); //returns true
Interval.upperUnbounded(2).has(1); //returns false

CPrimitiveObject has an isValidValue(value) method, so you can do:

CString cString = new CString();
cString.addConstraint("/more te+st/");
cString.isValidValue("test"); //returns true
cString.isValidValue("more teeeeest"); //returns true - regexp matching
cString.isValidValue("mooooore test"); //returns false

ISO-8601 date constraint patterns are not yet implemented.

Archetype tree walking for openEHR reference models

Because the getAttributes() has been implemented on the CObject-class instead of CComplexObject, creating a tree walker is just a few lines of code:

public void walk(CObject cobject) {
    for(CAttribute attribute:cobject.getAttributes()) {
        for(CObject child:attributes.getChildren()) {

Reference Model tools

Archie contains an implementation of the OpenEHR reference model version 1.0.4. It does not yet contain the task planning part. It also contains tools to work with reference model objects.

Reference model object creation

The RMObjectCreator creates empty reference model objects based on constraints. It can also set values based on attribute names. You can use it to create a reference model based on an archetype and user input. To create an empty reference model based on an archetype, you could work further on this example:

  public void createEmptyRMObject(CObject object) {
    RMObjectCreator creator = new RMObjectCreator(ArchieRMInfoLookup.getInstance());
    constructEmptyRMObject(ArchieRMInfoLookup.getInstance(), creator, cObject);

 private RMObject constructEmptyRMObject(ModelInfoLookup lookup, RMObjectCreator creator, CObject object) {
        RMObject result = creator.create(object);
        for(CAttribute attribute: object.getAttributes()) {
            List<Object> children = new ArrayList<>();
            for(CObject childConstraint:attribute.getChildren()) {
                if(childConstraint instanceof CComplexObject) {
                    //in case of abstract classes used in the archetype, this will pick a non-abstract descendant class
                    RMObject childObject = constructEmptyRMObject(lookup, creator, childConstraint);
            if(!children.isEmpty()) {
                //this is not BMM, but access to the actual RM implementation because that is what we need here
                RMAttributeInfo attributeInfo = lookup.getAttributeInfo(result.getClass(), attribute.getRmAttributeName());
                if(attributeInfo != null) {
                    if(attributeInfo.isMultipleValued()) {
                        creator.set(result, attribute.getRmAttributeName(), children);
                    } else if(!children.isEmpty()){
                        //set the first possible result in case of multiple children for a single valued value
                        creator.set(result, attribute.getRmAttributeName(), Lists.newArrayList(children.get(0)));
        return result;

Setting primitive object values works in a similar way, with creator.set(...), or by setting them explicitly on the reference model object directly.

Notice the call to ArchieRMInfoLookup.getInstance(), which obtains the metadata about the reference model implementation. It can also be obtained from the result of BuiltinReferenceModels.getMetaModels(), or you can define your own to make Archie work with your own reference model implementation.

Reference model APath queries

List<Object> items = rmObject.itemsAtPath("/data[id2]/items");

Or if you want apath-expressions resolving to that single item together with every object returned, you can use the low-level method:

List<RMObjectWithPath> itemsWithUniquePaths = new RMPathQuery("/data[id2]/items").findList(ArchieRMInfoLookup.getInstance(), rmObject);

Validating RM Objects against an archetype

The RMObjectValidator validates RMObjects against an archetype. It validates:

  • cardinality
  • occurrences
  • existence
  • data types
  • primitive object constraints
  • tuples

Cardinality and existence are validated both from the archetype and the underlying reference model.

To use:

OperationalTemplate operationalTemplate;

RMObjectValidator validator = new RMObjectValidator(ArchieRMInfoLookup.getInstance()); //or a different ModelInfoLookup for other RMs
List<RMObjectValidationMessage> validationMessages = validator.validate(operationalTemplate, rmObject);

The RM Object validator only works on operational templates, not on differential or flattened forms of archetypes. You can create an operational template from any archetype see Operational templates.

Note that it is possible the API of the messages is still unstable and will likely change in future versions.

Experimental features

The following features are experimental. This means its working or API will likely change somewhat in the near future, but they can already be used.

Full XPath support on reference model

The RMQueryContext provides full XPath 1-support on reference model instances. APath shorthand notations like /items[id2] will automatically be converted to the corresponding xpath. JAXB's Binder is used to get a DOM on which to run XPath. You can choose your own JAXB-implementation with the usual mechanisms, although only the internal java one has been tested.

Rule evaluation

Basic rule evaluation is implemented, but the implementation is still experimental. See on how to use.

The rule evaluation means assertions can be defined, then passed through the RuleEvaluation class. The result is:

  • a list of assertions, each noting:
    • whether it evaluated to true or false
    • whether it can be automatically fixed or a step by the user is needed
    • what must be done to automatically fix this rule, by setting paths to values and paths that must exist or not exist
    • which fields were used to evaluate to the result so errors can be shown

This means you can link the RuleEvaluation to a user interface, implement a way to set paths to a value, hide or show some fields and display validations, and you have a working rule evaluation with which you can create things like score calculations and conditional fields very easily.

Automatically fixing rules means that rules in the following form can be used for score calculations:

/path/to[id12]/score_result = /path/to[id12]/field_one + /path/to[id12]/field_two

Or for conditionally hiding fields:

/path/to[id12]/score_result > 3 implies exists /path/to/hidden/field

Or for validations that a user must fix themselves:

total_score_must_be_high: /path/to[id12]/score_result + /some_other_score > 24

And many more things. Currently supported is comparison and arithmetic operators, path retrieval, exists and not exists, implies, variable declaration and use, for_all. integer, string and boolean literals are implemented, although currently the string literal support is limited to the != and = operator. That means you can set fields with string values, including code_strings of DV_CODED_TEXT and DV_ORDINAL fields.

Rules are very similar to XPath expressions, with a few exceptions. However, the specification is lacking a formal definition of how to handle several kind of multiplicities. Where multiplicities occur in the paths in rules outside of a for_all rule, the W3C XPath 1 specification is used.

Lower level APIs

Archetype Validation

After parsing you can check if you archetype is valid. The parser will try to continue parsing as much as possible without throwing Exceptions. This means you will have to check the errors manually. This happens even with some syntax errors, so checking errors is important!

if(!parser.getErrors().hasNoErrors()) {

The second round of checks comes after parsing, in the form of running the ArchetypeValidator:

ReferenceModels models = new ReferenceModels(ArchieRMInfoLookup.getInstance());
MetaModels metaModels = new MetaModels(models, null);
ValidationResult validationResult = new ArchetypeValidator(metaModels).validate(archetype);

This runs all the implemented archetype validation and returns a result. This result contains the validation results, the validation results of any template overlays and a flattened version of the input archetype.

Note that it requires a MetaModels class. This contains the Metadata of the reference models used.

Reference Model Metadata

Archetype tools require metadata about the used reference model to operate. This can be the OpenEHR reference model, but it can also be something else. Archie has two concepts to define this metadata: Reflection based metadata and BMM metadata. Above is a short description of how to load the built-in metadata. This should be enough for most users. However, if you want to add new reference models or reference model metadata, you need this paragraph.

The MetaModels class is an abstraction over these two types of models. Construct this, and it will automatically select the available metadata model. Note that if a BMM model is present for your archetype, it will use that if possible.

Reflection based metadata bases its metadata on an actual reference model implementation in Java. Two are included, the ArchieRMInfoLookup, for the OpenEHR Reference Model, and the TestRMInfoLookup, for the openEHR Test models. You can register these on a ReferenceModels class, see the code in the previous paragraph for an example

The BMM model is not based on an actual implementation, but on a file containing the metadata. The specifications of BMM are part of OpenEHR and can be found at

To use, include your BMM files and point the code to the correct directory, then load the AOM Profiles.

List<String> schemaDirectories = new ArrayList<>();
ReferenceModelAccess access = new ReferenceModelAccess();
MetaModels models = new MetaModels(new ReferenceModels(ArchieRMInfoLookup.getInstance()), access);
//now parse the AOM profiles
String[] resourceNames = {"first aom profile", "second aom profile"};
for(String resource:resourceNames) {
    try(InputStream odin = TestUtil.class.getResourceAsStream(resource)){
    } catch (IOException e) {
        throw new RuntimeException(e);

This instantiates a MetaModels class that has both the archie reference model implementation, the BMM models and AOM profiles. The BMM models and AOM profiles will be used for the flattener and archetype validator, the other models for tools that work on reference models.

Default constraints from the reference model

An archetype constrains instances of the reference model. But a reference model also has some default constraints. For example, an observation has a data field, which is a single field - not a list or set. This has implications for default cardinality and existence constraints, and for example the isMultiple() and isSingle() methods. You can apply these constraints so you get them set explicitly in the resulting archetype-object. To do so:

Archetype archetype = ADLParser.withRMConstraintsImposer().parse(adlFile);

Or use the RMConstraintsImposer class yourself instead of directly from the parser. Generally this should not be required if you use the FullArchetypeRepository.

Use a different reference model implementation

Archie uses its own reference model by default, but it can use any reference model you like. To do so, you can implement your own Constraints imposer, your own reference model info lookup and some other classes, and use those in the right places. To do so, create an implementation of each of the following abstract classes and interfaces:

  • ModelNamingStrategy
  • ModelInfoLookup


The project is used in production in an EHR systems and completely or nearly completely implements the standards for all described features. Of course there are many parts that can be extended and improved.


Feel free to create a pull request or use the github issue tracker to report issues.


This software is licensed under the Apache license. See the LICENSE and NOTICE files.