Automated Software Engineering - ASE'97
12th IEEE International Conference
November 1 - 5, 1997
Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe
Incline Village, Nevada; USA
Opportunities for Automation in Software Architecture
Dr. Paul C. Clements
Software Engineering Institute
Carnegie Mellon University
Architecture, particularly software architecture, is
currently a subject of significant resonance in the software
engineering literature. There are conferences devoted to
it, special issues of fashionable software engineering journals
dedicated to it, working groups and workshops
exploring it, and it can usually be found in the list of topic
areas in Calls for Participation for conferences similar to
What's all the fuss about?
This talk will provide an overview of the current field of
study known as software architecture, and point out where
we are simply re-visiting old concepts under a new name, and
where the field is making legitimately new progress. We will
explore the uses of software architecture, including its
utilization as each of the following:
Finally, we will discuss current trends and future possibilities
in bring automated support to bear in the creation, representation,
evaluation, evolution, and extraction of software architecture
in support of those goals.
- as a basis for stakeholder communication: Project team members,
managers, and customers all turn to the architecture as the
basis for understanding the system, its development,
and how it works during execution.
- as a project blueprint: The choice of architectural
components is institutionalized in the developing organization's
team structure, work assignments, management
units, schedule and work breakdown structures, integration
plans, test plans, and maintenance processes.
Once it is made, an architectural decision has an
extremely long lifetime and survives even outside of
the software that it describes.
- as a blueprint for product line development. An architecture
may be re-used on other systems for which it is
appropriate. If managed carefully, an entire product
family may be produced using a single architecture. In this
case, the importance of an appropriate
architecture is magnified across all the projects it will serve.
- as the first approach to achieving quality attributes: An
architecture can either allow or preclude the achievement
of most of a system's targeted quality attributes.
Modifiability, for example, depends extensively on the
system's modularization, which reflects the encapsulation
strategies. Reusability of components depends on
how strongly coupled they are with other components
in the system. Performance depends largely upon the
volume and complexity of the inter-component
communication and coordination, especially if the components
are physically distributed processes. Thus, an
architecture embodies decisions about quality priorities
and tradeoffs, and represents the earliest opportunity
for evaluating those decisions and tradeoffs.