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Software Architecture The definition and fundamentals

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What is Software Architecture?

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the set of significant decisions about the organization of a software system Many definitions, Multiple perspectives a coherent set of abstract patterns, or principles, guiding the design of each aspect of a large software system... A configurable skeleton of any kind of software beast on which you hang implementation An iterative framework between software components required to meet the stated objectives of the business A style that is proven scientifically & adopted by the engineering discipline

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Software Architecture is the blueprint of the system, its components & their relationships, with defined principles & constraints to comply with.

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Do we have a standardized definition?

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IEEE - Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, New Jersey, US ISO - International Organization for Standardization, Geneva, Switzerland IEC - International Electrotechnical Commission, London, UK There are three international standards organizations, which define technical standards & specificiations for Software Architecture

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ISO/IEC/IEEE 42010 - Systems and software engineering An international standard for architecture descriptions of systems and software. Let’s understand the definition defined by 42010 standard…

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Software architecture is the fundamental organization of a system, embodied in its components, their relationships to each other and the environment, and the principles governing its design and evolution. Reference: ISO/IEC/IEEE 42010 Standard

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Let’s break the definition further by understanding the fundamental organization, which defines how the components making up a software architecture are organized

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F4FF81 Fundamental Organization of a System - A simple view to communicate the logical layers of software architecture Micro-services Application Search App Reverse Proxy Front-end driven Experience Tier Services Layer Endeca API Content API Rewards API Rewards App API Gateway Search Results My Account My Profile

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Another important aspect is to communicate the relationship between components of the software architecture

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F4FF81 Components & their relationships - To understand how components are interacting with each other Source:

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The last part is to understand the environment or context in which the software architecture is being formulated

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Environment Business Social Technical Architecture gets created in the context of the environment, which comprises of business needs (meeting requirements), social needs (meeting communication requirements) and technology needs (meeting non-functional requirements).

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So, key part is to understand that architecture itself is not good or bad – need to understand the context behind creating the software architecture, before we determine the effectiveness of the architecture.

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Let’s look at few industry examples depicting software architecture

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F4FF81 Netflix - Personalization & Recommendation Architecture Source:

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Before we conclude the definition and basics of software architecture, it is essential to understand that when you start a new project, don’t try to define all views of architecture in initial days - use incremental approach to work towards it

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You can start with simple view of architecture using system context diagram during initial phase and detail it out in future iterations

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Customer Relationship System Customer Identity Store Reservation System Analytics Rewards Backoffice Clients For hotel reservation Rewards & loyalties Customer Identity Data For searching hotel properties Travel Agents Personalization System Context Diagram – to communicate high-level view of architecture Search System Customer communicatio ns & interactions Recommendations Engine For user behavioral tracking For customized experience For product recommendations Hotel Reservation System

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Now, that we understand the basics of defining software architecture, refer to following standard to understand the depth of it ISO/IEC/IEEE 42010 - Systems and software engineering

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Alternatively, you can also refer to this book to understand all aspects of software architecture in detail (highly recommended) which is also aligned to 42010 standard Software Systems Architecture: Working With Stakeholders Using Viewpoints and Perspectives Book by Eoin Woods and Nick Rozanski Source:

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Thank You