When an Architect drafts the Architecture Specification or System Architecture Definition document of a system to be built, it is one of the key requirement to include necessary views of the architecture so that those views will convey how various concerns of different stakeholders of the system are addressed. Usually the documentation includes various views of the architecture like conceptual architecture, logical architecture, technical architecture etc. targeting different stakeholders.
Tools like MS Visio, MS Word were typically in use for drafting various views of an application architecture. With the release of .Net 4.0 and Visual Studio 2010, logical architecture diagram can be drawn in Visual Studio itself! Beauty is not just a simple capability to draw some boxes. But to link the logical architecture (which is called “layer diagram” in MS VSTS 2010 Context) to the actual implementation so that if the system is developed not in accordance to the application’s architecture, it can be easily identified. So, now your architecture diagram has life! It’s not now just a fancy diagram in a word document! It is directly linked to the application implementation. Any violation can be identified immediately. I think it is an amazing feature not available in any of the sophisticated architecture modeling tool / product. It also has the capability to forward and reverse engineer the models. With all these, MS Visual Studio now becomes a more power tool not only for developer community but also for Architects community as well.