Understanding Software Architecture Design Better
Application and software solution architecture is not a simple matter. As in the construction industry, the very notion of “architecture” implies the concept of the preliminary design of a future project from “foundation” to “roof” until its implementation in life. Therefore, before starting the development, the responsible engineer should create a whole concept consisting of the new software’s requirements, tools, and stages of implementation.
To design a harmonious environment for software realization in advance, the architect should have a wide range of knowledge and experience as well as inevitable mistakes under his belt, which he has managed to digest and draw conclusions for future successful projects. In addition, the architecture creates an image of the program to a point where all development team members can put together a clear idea of what exactly they are making.
When we talk about the software architecture design, we imply certain levels:
- The hardware used to create the project;
- The tools used to create the project;
- The environment used to create the project;
- Requirements for project implementation;
- Flexible changes throughout the development process;
- Documentation setup;
- The planned final result.
Why the Right Approach to Software Architecture is Important
The right approach to software architecture design should lead to clear and understandable results, which the team achieves most efficiently (speed and quality).
An outstanding architecture counts when it is fully compliant while being able to adjust to new requirements. A good architect will always have a plan point 0, which states that the plan may not be implemented precisely and allows the architecture to be flexible in the development environment.
Architecture is created for the convenience of its users, to provide a comfortable and organic environment that will help, not hinder, no matter who uses it.
Good architecture always considers performance and helps to make crucial decisions early on. Furthermore, having future software architecture in hand allows one to imagine its features and quality before it is implemented.
A decent architecture foresees that new functions must be added to the software in the future, which means that introducing any changes or additions is a matter of course. We are not talking here about troubleshooting.
Finally, a well-designed and mapped-out architecture will make it possible for people who are less technically savvy, such as the customers themselves or the customers of the software being developed, to understand and see the processes, tools, and environment.
Primary Attributes of Good Software Architecture Design
Good architecture is, first of all, profitable architecture. Its purpose is to simplify and make the development process transparent. Programs designed with a pre-planned, high-quality architecture are quickly built, easily scalable, promptly tested, and debugged. Software architecture provides a solid foundation on which developers can build the software. Several architectural decisions and tradeoffs affect the system’s quality, performance, maintainability, and overall success. Among the main characteristics of a well-thought-out and mapped software architecture design are:
- Clear strategy
- Optimized design
- Clear documentation
- Well-organized communication
Practical Tips for Software Architecture Design
Any difficulties tend to grow much faster than the program itself. If you don’t take care of everything beforehand, you can quickly part with control of the development process and then with money. Therefore, we recommend taking advantage of our advice before designing the software architecture.
Universal requirements for software architecture
The first and most universal advice is to write down explicit requirements. These requirements can be both functional and non-functional. SW architect gathers information about the required performance, scaling, UI/UX design, and implementation; writes down and discusses all the software’s non-functional features. Recording the customer’s demands for the product being developed is important. Sometimes in the negotiation process, there are frictions due to inflated expectations or conflicts of requirements and implementation. The architect can take these points into account beforehand, discuss them with the client and define a golden mean.
Time to reconsider
When the first draft of the software architecture is created, it may be very different from the final one. Therefore, the architect should allow the opportunity to modify the initial plan. One can decompose the big goals into small ones, roughly speaking, the path from big to small. Seeing the small goals, one can understand better what is necessary to implement them and what steps will be redundant.
Project “face” based on the client’s requests
A software architect is the one to highlight the main components and structure of the user interface.
Planning for “glitches”
At the software design architecture processing level, the architect must plan how to handle exceptional situations and failures. For example, the architect decides which part of the system validates the data and how recovery from failures, such as a server crash or any other error, will occur.
The reasoning behind the choice of technology
While the architect is writing the software architecture, he must clearly articulate how the software can be implemented and why he chose certain technologies and tools to avoid disputes in the team’s development process.
The team as an architectural component
In addition to being responsible for formulating technologies and tools, the architect must also formulate the use of human resources. Not only is the architect needed to distribute technical workloads, but also to build a complex logic of relationships between people and departments.
A tandem with a software tester
The architect must interact with the tester. Code has such an inherent criterion as testability; some codes are tested easier, and others are tested harder. Therefore, it is essential to understand what the tester will test, how he will test, and why this testing is possible.
Capturing typical solutions
An architect should always fix an effective architecture for developing generic solutions. It allows for the formulation of typical schemes to solve problems in future projects, which saves a lot of time and resources for development.
Tips for the Software Architect Employer
Avoid confusing the work of an architect with that of a subject matter expert
Both employers and clients need to see the difference between an architect and a subject matter expert. A subject matter expert knows how his or her field is set up. For example, if a system is being designed to automate document management in a company, the architect takes some fundamental knowledge from another expert, often a company representative. The architect formalizes this knowledge, but the subject matter expert is responsible for the problem-solving area.
Understand architectural constraints
Architecture is often put above everything as if the entire IT and business converge on it. However, there are many constraints on the architect. There are client requirements for the system, budget, and development resources for production. The architect can’t have free creativity. He needs to work hard and show complex knowledge.
An architect combines an area of expertise in programming, administration, project management, team management, and sales. That doesn’t mean he codes, sells, manages, etc. He only designs the architecture. But the very design of architecture requires knowledge from various fields, and the more complex these areas – the better the architect will cope with the task.
About the author:
Janet Polson is a graduate of George Washington University in International business. She is an unspoken expert in the study of science and philosophy. Janet is also a blogger, author of tech articles and she works as business analyst at Computools. Follow her on Twitter.