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Software Architecture Requirements and the Software Architect

The software architecture process takes clients’ requirements, analyzes them and produces a design to obtain software that will satisfy their needs. Successful software designs must weigh the inevitable dilemmas that arise due to conflicting requirements; comply with design principles and good procedural techniques that have evolved over time; and complement modern hardware, networks and management systems. A strong software architecture implies having a lot of experience in theoretical and practical matters, as well as the necessary vision to convert what seems to be inaccurate business scenarios and requirements into solid and practical work designs.

Software architecture means defining a structured solution that meets all technical and operational requirements and, at the same time, optimizing common attributes of quality such as performance, security and manageability. In addition, it involves a series of decisions based on a wide range of factors, and each of those decisions can have a considerable impact on the quality, performance, maintenance and overall success of that software.

So, what is needed to master the principles that can transform a common developer into a software architect?

It is clear that a software architect requires a wide range of both general and technical skills. During the requirements analysis and review stages, the architect must work with the client, consult partners and other team members and act as an intermediary for managers, users and system administrators. By excelling in these general skills you can produce a better initial plan and a more precise set of requirements, which saves time and effort later.

The software architect must also possess the technical skills required to understand how modern software systems, frames, and hardware support the requirements; how network and operating system factors can affect design decisions; and how trends and changes in these areas will have an impact on design. After the initial requirements analysis, the software architect must also apply his technical skills around design patterns, communication and messaging standards, code capabilities, security issues and performance constraints. All of these require in-depth knowledge of the technologies that will be used to implement the final software. Their decisions on the structure and dynamics of the application are expressed in formal notation. To do this modern architects need to master UML, especially if they plan to use new technologies and especially those oriented to objects.

It is convenient to dominate the greatest amount of software technologies to be able to offer the best technological recommendations for the benefit of the project. Their decisions have an impact in the short, medium and long term. Important characteristics that define the quality of the application, such as performance, reuse, robustness, portability, flexibility, scalability and maintainability depend to a large extent on the decisions a software architect makes.

administrator April 26, 2019 0 Comments
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What is the difference between Software architecture and Software design?

Software Design

Software design is the process of conceptualizing the software requirements into software implementation. This is the initial phase within the software development life cycle shifting the concentration from the problem to the solution.

When conceptualizing the software, the design process establishes a plan that takes the user requirements as challenges and works to identify optimum solutions. The plan should determine the best possible design for implementing the intended solution.

 Software Architecture 

The software architecture of a system depicts the system’s organization or structure, and provides an explanation of how it behaves. A system represents the collection of components that accomplish a specific function or set of functions. In other words, the software architecture process provides a sturdy foundation on which software can be built.

A series of architecture decisions and trade-offs impact quality, performance, maintainability, and overall success of the system. Failing to consider common problems and long-term consequences can put your system at risk.

There are multiple high-level architecture patterns and principles commonly used in modern systems. These are often referred to as architectural styles. The architecture of a software system is rarely limited to a single architectural style. Instead, a combination of styles often make up the complete system.

And then, what is the difference between Software Design and Software Architecture?

Software design provides everything that software developers need to know to produce consistent software that implements the required functionality. This includes specifications of services, components, integrations, data models and algorithms.

Software architecture places big-picture constraints on the design to ensure that it aligns with the business and technology strategy of an organization. This includes considerations such as compliance, technology standards and operational efficiency. Architecture is intended to prevent designs from repeating known mistakes or being inconsistent with the rest of the organization.

How are they related?

Software architecture exposes the structure of a system while hiding the implementation details. Architecture also focuses on how the elements and components within a system interact with one other. Software design delves deeper into the implementation details of the system. Design concerns include the selection of data structures and algorithms, or the implementation details of individual components.

Architecture and design concerns often overlap. Rather than use hard and fast rules to distinguish between architecture and design, it makes sense to combine them. In some cases, decisions are clearly more architectural in nature. In other cases, decisions focus heavily on design and how it helps to realize that architecture.

To learn it in a more practical way:

Software Design is a plan that gives enough detail for developers to implement consistent software.

Software Architecture is a plan that constrains software design to avoid known mistakes and achieve an organization’s business and technology strategy.

The level of software design is: implementation

The level of software architecture is: structure

administrator March 20, 2019 0 Comments
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5 steps to design and understand your software architecture

It is a fact that all great software needs to have an architecture, but the most important thing is to know how that architecture is defined. Not many software development companies will ask you to join them on discussions before the project kicks off. It is vital that you are involved in the planning phase in order to establish a budget, resource plan and a high-level timeline that works for you and the development firm.

This stage presents its own challenges too. One of the toughest things to do is to convert the system requirements into a software architecture that resolves all requirements. To make things easier, a software architecture design can be split into simple steps:

    1. Analyze the requirements:

      The first step is to understand the system requirements. This appears to be simple, it sounds as simple as reading the requirements and understanding them. But the truth is this could be the most difficult step of the whole process. This is because software development projects can be victims of vague and unclear language. Therefore it is important to confirm that what you are requiring is exactly what the development company is interpreting.

    2. Define use cases for the system:

      Once the system specifications are available you need to develop system level use cases. All interactions between the users of the system and the system itself should be clearly documented.

    3. Identify processor/modules to implement the use cases:

      Once you have defined use cases for major scenarios, you are ready to move to the next step of identifying the modules and processors that would be required to handle the system’s features. The selection of the hardware components should depend on the experience the software development firm has in executing similar projects.

    4. Select operating system and hardware platform:

      A selection of the operating system and hardware platform should be based on the following items:

      • Technical merits (performance, stability) of the hardware/software platform
      • Special requirements from the platform (e.g. does the application require a platform that supports a real-time operating system or GPS functionality?)
      • In-house experience with the hardware/software platform
    5. Define sequence diagrams:

      We consider this to be the final step in architecture design. Software architects must check whether the architecture handles all the system level use cases. During this step, system level use cases will give way to processor level sequence diagrams. An example of a use case that needs to be translated into a sequence diagram may be “A subscriber originates a call”.

administrator November 19, 2018 0 Comments
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Software Development Best Practices You Can Adopt

Due to the growing demand of software application development, architects and developers who can build large projects are more required each time. For that reason, here are some of the best software development best practices you can adopt.

If you’re a beginner, the best advice is to simply learn your language, frameworks, and tools top to bottom and gain more experience with a variety of different projects.

If you’re an experienced software developer, you should constantly try to find new ways to optimize your code for readability, performance, and maintainability. Then, you should practice making well-reasoned decisions about where to focus time and resources in your code—whether it’s testing, performance optimization, or other technical debt.

Area and software architecture:

Great programmers can take a complex problem, break it down into smaller pieces, solve each of those pieces, and then put everything back together to solve the initial problem. Software is just a tool for solving problems. Since it’s needed in almost all areas, develop in one that interests you. If you understand an area well and are passionate about it, you’ll be a much better, more motivated developer. You’ll also be exponentially more valuable and lucrative to companies hiring.

Code Simplicity:

Code simplicity is an idea that came from Max Kanat-Alexander, a software developer at Google Community Lead and Release Manager of the Bugzilla project. The idea is to reduce unnecessary complexity in software development.

Test from end to end:

Full integration testing ensures that all components are working together as expected and increases code coverage.

Choose the right process:

The success of the software development life cycle relies heavily on the method you will adopt. Common software development models and methods include the following: Waterfall model, prototyping model, spiral mode, agile software development. You need to choose the one that suits your project best, then adhere to it throughout.

Select a system architecture:

The system architecture is defined as a set of conventions, rules, and standards used in a computer system’s technical framework, as well as customer requirements and specifications that the system manufacturer follows in designing the system’s components.
The system architect should choose the architecture that is suitable for your project, taking into consideration the requirements and limitations and also identifying the threats and anti-patterns in the system.

Don’t forget, check your code again:

Everyone makes mistakes. An attitude which allows you to acknowledge imperfections is the first step to investing your time in a code review. Having a colleague read over your pull requests before merging is a good way to ensure final code quality. Code reviews help reduce bugs in the product – that’s the bottom line – so give up that idea of perfection.

administrator September 4, 2018 0 Comments
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Main Software Architecture Issues and Challenges

Software architecture was born with the inception of software engineering.  In the 60’s when systems where “small” there wasn’t a necessity to understand designs and communicate them to others. But even though these systems were somewhat basic, they rapidly grew and their complexity required a more structured design.

This is when architectural level descriptions started to be written only as design aids, but later, these descriptions created for maintenance purposes where also preserved. Software architecture started gaining visibility in the 80’s even though the very first book about software architecture was only published in the 90’s.

In other articles about software architecture we’ve talked about how people underestimate the importance of software architecture and even today we consider this practice an emerging discipline which still will take time to mature.

Since software development engages with many factors, such us code language, approachability, chosen tools, prioritization, team cohesion (decision making), stakeholders and more, it’s really difficult to choose which exactly is the order and approach for each matter. Some IT engineers even claim there is never a 100% chance to get everything right when software programming. From this statement we can deduct that this practice entitles many challenges. This is why we decided to make a list of the top issues an IT architect might face while working:

1. A Company’s Maturity

Many organizations try to undertake the IT architecture program when they are not mature enough to do so.  Big mistake… some immature organizations without a clear direction start creating code thinking the IT team will do miracles and fix or re-design everything and completely change their direction while actually doing the job resulting on weak architecture technology incurring in huge problems for architect managers and teams alike.

2. No Budget Allocation

Typically, IT architects have no allocated budgets for which they have to account for. This is generally time consuming and it becomes a managing problem for the IT architect and the company  as it is here where budget draws a limit on the efforts of the IT architect and the possibilities of solving potential issues.

3. Lack of Personnel

IT architecture is always undertaking different projects to recognize issues and finding solutions. Being that, there is always a need for new for personnel (with new ideas and concepts) which entitles more financial resources and justification to the organization.  Without enough team members, projects can be extended for longer periods resulting in a problem for both the IT department and the organization in the long run.

Another issue an organization might face is the resource allocation of it’s personnel. If there is no interest in a particular subject, productivity might become very low which will affect team flow and budget performance.

4. Communication

Lack of communication with the internal IT team and stakeholders can become a huge barrier when achieving development and organizational goals.  Finding a solution without effectively communicating an issue to the upper level of the organization creates problems and restricts the organization’s development.

These are the main issues we’ve experienced over the years. Comment below and share the main issues you have encountered that relate to software architecture.

 

administrator April 16, 2018 0 Comments
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What are the Main Software Architecture Issues and Challenges

Software architecture was born with the inception of software engineering.  In the 60’s when systems where “small” there wasn’t a necessity to understand designs and communicate them to others. But even though these systems were somewhat basic, they rapidly grew and their complexity required a more structured design.

This is when architectural level descriptions started to be written only as design aids, but later, these descriptions created for maintenance purposes where also preserved. Software architecture started gaining visibility in the 80’s even though the very first book about software architecture was only published in the 90’s.

In other articles about software architecture we’ve talked about how people underestimate the importance of software architecture and even today we consider this practice an emerging discipline which still will take time to mature.

Since software development engages with many factors, such us code language, approachability, chosen tools, prioritization, team cohesion (decision making), stakeholders and more, it’s really difficult to choose which exactly is the order and approach for each matter. Some IT engineers even claim there is never a 100% chance to get everything right when software programming. From this statement we can deduct that this practice entitles many challenges. This is why we decided to make a list of the top issues an IT architect might face while working:

1. A Company’s Maturity

Many organizations try to undertake the IT architecture program when they are not mature enough to do so.  Big mistake… some immature organizations without a clear direction start creating code thinking the IT team will do miracles and fix or re-design everything and completely change their direction while actually doing the job resulting on weak architecture technology incurring in huge problems for architect managers and teams alike.

2. No Budget Allocation

Typically, IT architects have no allocated budgets for which they have to account for. This is generally time consuming and it becomes a managing problem for the IT architect and the company  as it is here where budget draws a limit on the efforts of the IT architect and the possibilities of solving potential issues.

3. Lack of Personnel

IT architecture is always undertaking different projects to recognize issues and finding solutions. Being that, there is always a need for new for personnel (with new ideas and concepts) which entitles more financial resources and justification to the organization.  Without enough team members, projects can be extended for longer periods resulting in a problem for both the IT department and the organization in the long run.

Another issue an organization might face is the resource allocation of it’s personnel. If there is no interest in a particular subject, productivity might become very low which will affect team flow and budget performance.

4. Communication

Lack of communication with the internal IT team and stakeholders can become a huge barrier when achieving development and organizational goals.  Finding a solution without effectively communicating an issue to the upper level of the organization creates problems and restricts the organization’s development.

These are the main issues we’ve experienced over the years. Comment below and share the main issues you have encountered that relate to software architecture.

 

administrator April 16, 2018 0 Comments
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What is software architecture?

Software architecture is the process of creating a high level structure for any software project. This should be based around the requirements of what we want the system to do, resulting in the guidelines meant to be used in the actual development process.


During our years of experience with our software architecture consulting service, we have witnessed how people underestimate the importance of Software Architecture. Some don’t even know what it is or how it can benefit them to clearly define their software architecture requirements before developing new software.

Let’s say a developer is like a builder. Can a builder start constructing without an architect? Well, in theory this is possible but in the long run the house or building will not have a proper foundation to support an earthquake or any other structural change if expansion is required. Solid foundations for the software project will warrant that the project will be scalable and powerful.

So, in order to understand the key forces that are framing architectural decisions at the moment that will have an effect in future decisions for scalable projects, we need to talk about user demand, business demand, the concept of support to work with different work styles and workflows, and most importantly the improvement of adaptability of software design. Here are some key concepts to understand the different approaches of software architecture:

  • Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) or user empowerment: Is driven by vendors, products and technologies. It always represents a business activity with a specific outcome and a given aim. Since it is intended for the end user, it has to be intuitive and has to be concerned with correct behavior, good performance and flexibility. Making it easy for the customer to interact with the application instead of misleading with poor user experience like many do. Understanding of scenarios and the process of making them as simple as possible will deliver an excellent user experience.
  • Market Maturity: Take advantage of available technology when designing a new software solution since these languages and frameworks are already proven solutions to common problems. By doing this, we can focus our time and effort in what is really important, building the value added functionality to your software project.
  • FURPS: This acronym stands for Functionality, Usability (UX), Reliability, Performance and Supportability.  More specifically, when talking about FURPS, we should think about capability, reusability, security, performance, etc. All of these are important aspects to take into consideration when thinking about software architecture. Since the technology world is constantly evolving, it is important to keep an eye on new trends, composition models, increase in network bandwidth, hardware performance, cloud-based computing and any other operation you can automate within the software.

The current philosophy on software architecture is evolution and unfortunately, information is sometimes limited at the beginning of the project. Therefore, the software design will need to be adjusted as more information becomes available and the software solution is tested in a production-like environment.

Here are some questions to keep in mind when thinking about software architecture:

  • What are the fundamental components of software architecture that could create a great impact if you get them wrong?
  • Which components of the software architecture are most likely to change, or its final decision can be postponed until later on in the project with a minimal or no impact?
  • What are your main theories and how will you validate them?
  • What events or situations may force you to adjust your software architecture?

To wrap it up, it is important to start with a basic software architecture to get a general understanding of then gradually refine your initial design as you obtain more information. It is important to probe all major stakeholders that will use the software solution in order to make sure requirements are aligned with user needs and prevent any major potential problems from arising in the future.

administrator January 25, 2018 0 Comments
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