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  1. Software Architecture:An Introduction Dr. Nenad Medvidovic Assistant Professor Center for Software Engineering Computer Science Department University of Southern California

  2. Topics to be Covered • Motivation • Introduction to Software Architectures • Overview of Architectural Building Blocks • Scope of Software Architectures • Sources of Software Architectures • “Architecting” Software Systems • Summary • Additional Resources

  3. Motivation • Software systems are rapidly and continously growing in size and complexity • Techniques and tools for developing and maintaining such systems typically play catch-up • To deal with this problem, many approaches exploit abstraction • Ignore all but the details of the system most relevant to a task (e.g., developing the user interface or system-level testing • This greatly simplifies the model of the system • Apply techniques and tools on the simplified model • Incrementally reintroduce information to complete the “picture” • Software architecture is such an approach • Applicable to the task of software design

  4. What is Architecture? • A high-level model of a thing • Describes critical aspects of the thing • Understandable to many stakeholders • architects, engineers, workers, managers, customers • Allows evaluation of the thing’s properties before it is built • Provides well understood tools and techniques for constructing the thing from its blueprint • Which aspects of a software system are architecturally relevant? • How should they be represented most effectively to enable stakeholders to understand, reason, and communicate about a system before it is built? • What tools and techniques are useful for implementing an architecture in a manner that preserves its properties?

  5. What is Software Architecture? • A software system’s blueprint • Its components • Their interactions • Their interconnections • Informal descriptions • Boxes and lines • Informal prose • A shared, semantically rich vocabulary • Remote procedure calls (RPCs) • Client-Server • Pipe and Filer • Layered • Distributed • Object-Oriented

  6. From Requirements to Architecture • From problem definition to requirements specification • Determine exactly what the customer and user want • Specifies what the software product is to do • From requirements specification to architecture • Decompose software into modules with interfaces • Specify high-level behavior, interactions, and non-functional properties • Consider key tradeoffs • Schedule vs. Budget • Cost vs. Robustness • Fault Tolerance vs. Size • Security vs. Speed • Maintain a record of design decisions and traceability • Specifies how the software product is to do its tasks

  7. Two primary foci System Structure Correspondence between requirements and implementation A framework for understanding system-level concerns Global rates of flow Communication patterns Execution Control Structure Scalability Paths of System Evolution Capacity Throughput Consistency Component Compatibility Focus of Software Architectures

  8. Why Software Architecture? • A key to reducing development costs • Component-based development philosophy • Explicit system structure • A natural evolution of design abstractions • Structure and interaction details overshadow the choice of algorithms and data structures in large/complex systems • Benefits of explicit architectures • A framework for satisfying requirements • Technical basis for design • Managerial basis for cost estimation & process management • Effective basis for reuse • Basis for consistency, dependency, and tradeoff analysis • Avoidance of architectural erosion

  9. Even Simple Software is Complex • Source code level view of an application

  10. Achitecture Alleviates the Complexity • Architecture level view of the application

  11. Definitions of Software Architecture • Perry and Wolf • Software Architecture = {Elements, Form, Rationale} • Shaw and Garlan • Software architecture involves the description of elements from which systems are built, interactions among those elements, patterns that guide their composition, and constraints on those patterns • Kruchten • Architecture deals with abstraction, decomposition, composition, style and aesthetics. • Canonical Building Blocks • Components, Connectors, Configurations What How Why

  12. Components • A component is a unit of computation or a data store. • Components are loci of computation and state. • Clients • Servers • Databases • Filters • Layers • Abstract Data Types (ADTs) • A component may be simple or composite. • Composite components describe a system.

  13. Connectors • A connector is an architectural element that models: • Interactions among components • Rules that govern those interactions • Simple interactions • Procedure calls • Shared variable access • Complex and semantically rich interactions • Client-Server Protocols • Database Access Protocols • Asynchronous Event Multicast • Piped Data Streams

  14. Configurations/Topologies • An architectural configuration or topology is a connected graph of components and connectors which describes architectural structure. • Proper connectivity • Concurrent and distributed properties • Adherence to design heuristics and style rules • Composite components are configurations.

  15. Scope of Software Architectures • Every system has an architecture. • Details of the architecture are a reflection of system requirements and trade-offs made to satisfy them • Possible decision factors • Performance • Compatibility with legacy software • Planning for reuse • Distribution profile • Current and Future • Safety, Security, Fault tolerance requirements • Evolvability Needs • Changes to processing algorithms • Changes to data representation • Modifications to the structure/functionality

  16. Compiler Architecture Sequential Parallel

  17. Compiler Architecture Pros and Cons • Sequential + Conceptual Simplicity + Architecture reflects control flow - Performance • Parallel + Performance + Adaptability - Synchronization - Coordination • Analysis and testing+ = Pro, - = Con

  18. Sources of Architecture (1) • Architecture comes from “black magic, people having ‘architectural visions’” • 3 +1 main sources of architecture • Intuition • Method • Theft (i.e., reuse) • Blind luck • Their ratio varies according to: • Architect’s experience • System’s novelty

  19. Sources of Architecture (2) • Theft • From previous similar systems • From literature • Method • Systematic and conscious • Possibly documented • Architecture is derived from requirements via transformations and heuristics • Intuition • “The ability to conceive without conscious reasoning.” • Increased reliance on intuition increases the risk

  20. Routine Design • Method is critical • “An architecture built with 50% theft and 50% intuition is doomed to fail.” • Standardized methods • Similarity to previous solutions • Theft • Cheaper, but not optimal • Can be done by merely “good” designers • Potential pitfall • Over-reusing

  21. Innovative Design • Raw invention • Intuition • Derivation from abstract principles • More optimal • More expensive • Must be done by “great” designers • Potential pitfall • Reinventing the wheel • Single point of failure in staffing

  22. Software “Architecting” • The “architecting” problem lies in: • Decomposition of a system into constituent elements • Composition of (existing) elements into a system • Two idealized approaches • Top-Down • Decompose the large problem into sub-problems • Implement or reuse components that solve the sub-problems • Bottom-Up • Implement new or reuse existing stand-alone components • Compose (a subset of) the components into a system • A realistic approach will require both.

  23. Issues in Decomposition (1) • How do we arrive at: • Components? • Connectors? • Their Configuration? • What is the adequate component granularity level? • What constraints on components are imposed by: • Functional requirements • Non-functional requirements • Envisioned evolution patterns • System Scale • Computing Environment • Customers/Users • What assumptions can components make about one another?

  24. Issues in Decomposition (2) • How do components interact? • What are the connectors in the system? • What is the role of the connectors? • Mediation • Coordination • Communication • What is the nature of the connectors? • Type of interaction • Degree of concurrency • Degree of information exchange

  25. Issues in Composition • Where does one locate existing: • Components? • Connectors? • Configurations? • How do we determine which elements are needed? • Both at development time and at reuse time • What is the adequate element granularity level? • How do we ensure effective composition of heterogeneous elements? • How do we know that we have the needed system?

  26. Summary (1) • Software architecture has proven to be a key to: • Controlling system development costs • Ensuring critical system properties • Highlighting major tradeoffs in development • Enabling effective deployment, operation, and evolution • Several architectural concepts are part of mainstream development • Components • Complex interactions (connectors) • Styles and patterns

  27. Summary (2) • To effectively leverage architecture, know your: • Requirements • Constraints • Domain • Components • Connectors • Legacy and “off-the-shelf” • Customers/Users • Management • Developers