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Architectural Decision Records

An Architectural Decision (AD) is a software design choice that addresses a functional or non-functional requirement that is architecturally significant. This might, for instance, be a technology choice (e.g., Java vs. JavaScript), a choice of the IDE (e.g., IntelliJ vs. Eclipse IDE), a choice between a library (e.g., SLF4J vs java.util.logging), or a decision on features (e.g., infinite undo vs. limited undo).


The goal of introducing Architectural Decisions (AD) in the engineering team at Bitwarden is to steer development towards a maintainable and expandable code base. While at the same time striving for uniformity across all teams.

The AD will also serve as a base for proposing and planning technical debt.

Status definition

ADRs are:

  • Proposed: In the process of being written and reviewed. Expected to change before merging to one of the statuses below.
  • Accepted: Ratified and expected to be utilized going forward, or already complete depending on context and time of reading.
  • Rejected: Not accepted but recorded to preserve history and the decision-making process; for reference. Likely seldom used as many ADs will transform during review.
  • Deprecated: No longer expected to be in place, or abandoned.
  • Superseded: Replaced by a future ADR, with appropriate annotation to the successor(s).


Please ensure each ADR contains a tag marking which projects they apply to (clients, mobile and/or server). Feel free to create more tags should the need arise.


While the process was originally created primarily for engineering leaders to discuss architectural decisions, it's important to us to keep the process open to suggestions from anyone. To that end, anyone is free to open a PR suggesting an AD. The suggestions will then be discussed to reach a general consensus amongst leadership before being adopted.

Once an ADR is recorded and accepted it is expected that any related documentation around architecture, deep dives, process, etc. is updated to reflect the decision(s) made.