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Model-driven architecture (MDA) is a type of approach to software design, development and implementation. As the name suggests, this approach uses models as a set of guidelines used in structuring design specifications. The reason why models were selected as the central object in this design principle is because it helps designers to reason out the system design by allowing them to ignore extra details and giving them more focus on the relevant issues. Models are also used all throughout the engineering and design field to understand complex and real-world systems.
Model-driven architecture was launched by the Object Management Group (OMG) in 2001 and belongs in domain engineering. The MDA approach defines a domain-specific language (DSL) to be used along with a platform-independent model (PIM). The MDA approach favors forward engineering, which means that the code is produced from human-elaborated diagrams or models. This design approach typically starts with either creating a model for a specific purpose or adapting an existing one that already fits the purpose.
MDA is the answer to the problem of prolific middleware platforms, which cause a disconnect between different software systems and solutions. Companies have traditionally gone through many middleware platforms and maintain multiple kinds because different internal departments might have different needs that can only be met by different middleware platforms.