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I have been learning UML and have a basic understanding now, but I keep seeing these sort of high level architecture diagrams. Here's one from Microsoft:

enter image description here

Source: A bad picture is worth a thousand long discussions.

Is this a UML diagram? Are there any rules to follow for creating these types of diagrams?

I would like to represent something similar, i.e. the realtionship between different installed systems / APIs... i.e. Platform architecture.

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5  
That's not an UML diagram. –  Joris Timmermans May 15 '13 at 9:19
    
So what is it exactly, i see lots of them around, I would like to learn more about them. –  Martin May 15 '13 at 9:26
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The blog post you linked to has a name for the diagram, it calls it a marketecture diagram. Seems like a perfectly good name for it. –  Yannis Rizos May 15 '13 at 9:28

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

The more appropriate UML diagram to depict a platform's architecture is a component diagram. If you want to go a level lower, then you'd also need to draw one or more package diagrams, and perhaps even a deployment diagram.

The diagram you linked to is not a UML diagram, it's a "marchitecture / marketecture" diagram. It's not really supposed to be technically accurate, its main purpose is to look good on a presentation slide. You can of course chose to go with such a diagram instead of a more formal UML diagram, however there aren't any concrete rules on how to draw them. It should convey a basic idea of your components and how they work together, and... look good ;)

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Excellent explanation, thanks –  Martin May 15 '13 at 10:46

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