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Software Architecture

Software architecture provides an explanation of how your systems behave on a structural level. The systems that you use have a collection of components that were designed to accomplish a specific task or set of tasks. Software architecture provides the foundation to which all the software a company has can be changed, built, or retired.

Software architecture impacts the quality, performance, maintenance, and success of a system based on the design. Without looking at software architecture on a regular basis, a business is opening themselves up to long-term consequences and problems that could put their systems are at risk of breakdown, hacking, or poor performance.

In modern systems, there are common patterns within the software architecture, called architectural systems for software. In most cases, there are a few different architectural systems used to make a complete system, especially for systems that have been built over years and years or work or those that have been built by different developers.

Software Architecture Example

The best software architecture examples are readily available online. This is because the easiest way to create software architecture is to use existing templates. This can save development teams hours and hours of work by using built-in systems that they then modify and change.

Of course, this has easily identifiable problems when it comes to security.

A software architecture example can only go so far, however. It takes a professional to work with the software architecture to get it developed properly and safely. Even more difficult, by all accounts, is the maintenance of software architecture as programs and systems are built and retired. While avoiding the general lifecycle of applications and software isn’t possible, ensuring that the architecture remains strong is possible – and profitable.

Software Architecture Guide

Software Architecture and Design

Software architecture and design are quite different, even though they don’t always appear that way from the outside. The line between the two is often blurry.

Software architecture serves as the blueprint for the system by giving an overview of how the system works and managing the complexity of it. This helps with the coordination of different parts and allows for them to be tracked both during the development process and after it. It helps to ensure that software meets all requirements for operation and still has the quality attributes that are necessary, such as security and performance goals.

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Software architecture also involves determining how the software development will continue, as that needs to fit into the existing architecture without weakening it. Software architecture looks at important elements like structural elements and their interfaces, the behavior and collaboration of those elements, compositions of the elements within the larger system, how the architectural decisions help meet business objectives, and whether the styles will guide the organization.


On the other hand, software design provides a design plan that will describe a system, how the different elements of that system fit together, how they work together, and whether they will fulfill the requirements of the system. The design plan acts as a blueprint only during the development process, guiding specific tasks such as coding, integration, testing, and integrating. It also helps to negotiate system requirements and set expectations within the entire team (and sometimes customers).

The major difference is that software architecture and design do the same things, though software architecture is a bit more stringent and impactful on the overall system.

Software Architecture Tools

Software architecture tools are crucial for software and application developers to build and design the basic software structure and go deeper to provide insights and information about a system’s software architecture. They help to depict how a typical system will interact with existing pieces, new software, users, external systems, data sources, and more.

Refactoring, a process of restructuring existing code without changing its external functionality, is often employed during modernization and migrating applications to cloud. Lack of legacy knowledge and software architecture documentation elongates this process, often resulting in developers taking wrong turns and introducing defects in production. Products like CAST Imaging can cut that time in half. It reverse-engineers all database structures, code components, and interdependencies in complex software systems, down to the tiniest details, creating accurate, interactive architecture blueprints.

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Software Architecture Principles

Software architecture principles dictate the process of converting and building software. They are put in place to help with flexibility, scalability, reusability, and security. These principles are used to ensure that a solution meets business expectations and is technically safe.

“Even the best architecture, most perfectly suited for the job, will be essentially useless if the people who need to use it do not know what it is, cannot understand it well enough to apply it, or (worst of all) misunderstand it and apply it incorrectly. All of the effort, analysis, hard work, and insightful design on the part of the architecture team will have been wasted.”
Documenting Software Architectures: Views and Beyond, Paul Clements, et. al

Not asking the right questions about your software architecture can lead to serious decay over time not to mention outages and performance issues.

  • Stop critical single points of failure.
  • SOA repositories are typically built on a wide range of technologies.
  • Give your architects and developers practical guidance.
  • Make service reuse a reality.
  • Deploy a system that automates the enforcement of these guidelines.

To prevent application decay, delivery teams must put in place a software intelligence platform. CAST structural analysis engine, the Application Intelligence Platform, look at how software components interact then creates a visual representation to provides insight to developers or new team members that help them better understand, support, and continue to develop the application.

  • Interactive exploration - An end-user application to graphically display and explore the structure of an application and its code interdependencies, according to the information gathered during code analysis and stored in the AIP Knowledgebase
  • Change Simulation - Impact analysis capabilities to simulate the impact of a modification to an object
  • Automated Documentation - HTML report feature to create technical documentation
  • Highlight database model and ensure adherence between back-end and database layers
  • Search any component and position it on a current graphical view, on a transaction
  • View source code and all details about any application component
  • Extract high-level software architectures showing all the technologies, frameworks, and databases in the application