The Meaning of Software Architecture

The Meaning of Software Architecture

Post Date : 2023-07-31T10:19:02+07:00

Modified Date : 2023-07-31T10:19:02+07:00

Category: systemdesign software-architecture

Tags: software-architecture

What makes up a software architecture?


Software Architecture of a program or computing system is the structure of structures of the system, which comprise software elements, the externally visible properties of those elements, and the relationships between them.

Nowadays, software development methodologies focus on developing highly adaptive software, can be easily changed over time, resulting in less of a need for rigid, upfront planning. However, software architecture still consists of early design decisions that can be difficult to change later.

Software architecture is an abstraction

Software architecture focuses on the public aspects of the elements, and how they interact with each other.

Software architecture is about the important stuff

Software architecture consists of important design decisions that shape the system. Some of them are hardest to change. But in modern software development, the architecture should anticipate change, and be designed in such a way to maximize the potential of adapting and evolving to this change. It is called “evolutionary architecture”.

Why is software architecture important?

Sometimes a developer just wants to jump right in and start coding.

Software architecture is a foundation of the software. It has a profound effect on the quality of what is built on top.

Software architecture is a series of decisions. Some earliest decisions come from designing the architecture, and these carry a high degree of importance because they affect the decisions that come after it.

All software system have an architecture even they don’t formally document the architecture.

Software architecture provides a number of benefits when done properly, which greatly increase the chances that the software system will success.

Defining a solution to meet requirements

There are 4 types of requirements:

  1. Funtional requirements
  2. Non-functional requirements
  3. Technical requirements
  4. Operational requirements

Each type of requirements must be identified and understood by working closely with stakeholders, domain experts, business analysts, end users.

And a software quality must be identified with the measurable goals of quatity attributes.


Enabling and inhibiting quality attributes

Software Architecture either enables quality attributes or inhibits them.

Quality attributes must be measurable and testable properties of the system. They are non-functional requirements, sometimes the design can focus on certain quality attributes, they maybe conflict with each other. Some of quality attributes: maintainability, interoperability, security and performance.

A software architecture, when designed properly, sets out to achieve agreed-upon and validated requirements related to quality attributes.

Giving you the ability to predict software system qualities

When you look at a software architecture and its documentation, you can predict the software system’s qualities.

By thinking about them up front, and using modeling and analysis techniques, we can ensure that the software architecture can meet its non-functional requirements.

Easing communication among stakeholders

Software architecture and its documentation allow you to communicate the software architecture and explain it to others.

It can form the basis for discussions related to aspects of the project, such as costs and duration.

A software architecture is abstract enough that many stakeholders, with little or no guidance, should be able to reason about the software system.

It is particularly useful for large, complex systems that would otherwise be too difficult to fully understand.

As requirements and other early decisions are made for the software system, a formal software architecture plays an important role and facilitates negotiations and discussions.

Managing change

Software architecture allows you to manage and understand what it would take to make a particular change.

Providing a reusable model

Once a software architecture is completed, documented, understood, and used in a successful implementation, it can be reused.

When a software architecture is reused, it is the architecture itself, and not just the software product, that becomes an asset to the organization.

Imposing implementation constraints

A software architecture introduces constraints on implementation and restricts design choices.

This reduces the complexity of a software system and prevents developers from making incorrect decisions.

Software architecture, when done properly, enables developers to accomplish their objectives and prevents them from implementing things incorrectly.

Improving cost and effort estimates

Two major approaches to project management estimation are as follows:

  • Top-down approach: This starts with the final deliverables and goals and breaks them down into smaller packages of work.

  • Bottom-up approach: This starts with specific tasks first, and groups them together into packages of work.

It can be helpful when project managers, the software architect, and the developers work together to provide estimates.

A software system with accurate requirements that are reflected in the software architecture can avoid costly rework that would be necessary if key requirements were missed.

Serves as training for team members

The system’s architecture and its documentation serve as training for the developers on the team.

Software architecture is not a silver bullet

“There is no single development, in either technology or management technique, which by itself promises even one order-of-magnitude improvement within a decade in productivity, in reliability, in simplicity”

Each architectural approach has pros and cons that must be weighed and evaluated.

Who are the consumers of software architectures?


What is the software architect role?

Certainly, software systems can be developed without a software architect. When no one is specifically given the software architect title, someone on the team may end up making architectural decisions. Such an individual is sometimes called an accidental architect.

Occasionally, when there is no software architect, the architectural design results from a collaboration between multiple developers.

Software architects are technical leaders

Software architects are technical leaders of a software project and should be committed to the project no matter what challenges arise.

They provide technical guidance to management, customers, and developers.

Software architect is ultimately responsible for :

  • The software architecture and its design
  • The architecture documentation for a software system.
  • Technical guidance to management, customers, and developers
  • A liaison between technical and non-technical resources.

Software architects perform a number of duties


There are numerous skills right, but you don’t have to fulfill all of them for being a good Software Architect.

You can mainly focus on the important skills of this role. So what’s the most important sills of this role. We should rely on the purpose and the consumers of software architecture.