IDEF (Integrated Definition)

IDEF (for Integrated Definition) is a group of modeling methods that can be used to describe operations in an enterprise. IDEF was created by the United States Air Force and is now being developed by Knowledge Based Systems. Originally developed for the manufacturing environment, IDEF methods have been adapted for wider use and for software development in general.

Sixteen methods, from IDEF0 to IDEF14 (and including IDEF1X), are each designed to capture a particular type of information through modeling processes. IDEF methods are used to create graphical representations of various systems, analyze the model, create a model of a desired version of the system, and to aid in the transition from one to the other. IDEF is sometimes used along with gap analysis.

The following table lists the IDEF methods either current or in development. IDEF0 through IDEF4 are the methods most commonly used.


IDEF0 Function Modeling
IDEF1 Information Modeling
IDEF1X Data Modeling
IDEF2 Simulation Model Design
IDEF3 Process Description Capture
IDEF4 Object-Oriented Design
IDEF5 Ontology Description Capture
IDEF6 Design Rationale Capture
IDEF7 Information System Auditing
IDEF8 User Interface Modeling
IDEF9 Scenario-Driven IS Design
IDEF10 Implementation Architecture Modeling
IDEF11 Information Artifact Modeling
IDEF12 Organization Modeling
IDEF13 Three Schema Mapping Design
IDEF14 Network Design

As an example of the process, IDEF0 methods are used to model the functions of an enterprise, creating a graphical model that shows: what controls the function, who performs it, what resources are used in carrying it out, what it produces, and what relationships it has to other functions.

Also see Unified Modeling Language.

This was last updated in September 2005

Continue Reading About IDEF (Integrated Definition)

Dig Deeper on Enterprise application integration