Part Two: Creating an Architecture

Part Two: Creating an Architecture

Part One of this book introduced the Architecture Business Cycle (ABC) and laid the groundwork for the study of software architecture. In particular, it set out the influences at work when an architect begins building a system, and it pointed out that requirements for particular quality attributes such as performance or modifiability often originate from the organization's business goals. How then does an architect create an architecture? That is the focus of Part Two. Because the achievement of quality attributes is critical to the success of a system, we begin by discussing quality and how it is achieved with the contents of the architect's tool box.

Quality is often in the eye of the beholder (to paraphrase Booth Tarkington). What this means for the architect is that customers may dislike a design because their concept of quality differs from the architect's. Quality attribute scenarios are the means by which quality moves from the eye of the beholder to a more objective basis. In Chapter 4, we explore different types of quality that may be appropriate for an architecture. For six important attributes (availability, modifiability, performance, security, testability, and usability), we describe how to generate scenarios that can be used to characterize quality requirements. These scenarios demonstrate what quality means for a particular system, giving both the architect and the customer a basis for judging a design.

Knowing the quality requirements, of course, only provides a goal for the architect. In Chapter 5, we list the tools (tactics and patterns) in the architect's kit that are used to achieve the quality attributes. High availability, for example, depends on having some form of redundancy in either data or code, and this redundancy generates additional considerations for the architect (such as ensuring synchronization among the replicates).

In Chapter 6, we introduce our second case study?a system designed to support the air traffic control functions of the Federal Aviation Administration. This system was designed to achieve ultra-high availability requirements (less than five minutes downtime per year) and illustrates the tactics enumerated in Chapter 5.

Quality attribute scenarios and architectural tactics are some of the tools available for the creation of an architecture. In Chapter 7, we discuss how to apply these tools in designing an architecture and in building a skeletal system, and how the architecture is reflected in the organizational structure.

In Chapter 8, we present our third case study, of flight simulators. These systems were designed to achieve real-time performance and to be readily modified. We show how these goals were achieved.

Once an architecture has been designed, it must be documented. This is a matter of documenting first the relevant views and then the material that extends beyond any particular view. Chapter 9 details how to document an architecture.

Frequently, the architecture for a system is unavailable?because it was never documented, it has been lost, or the as-built system differs from the designed system. Chapter 10 discusses recovering the architecture for an existing system.

    Part Two: Creating an Architecture
    Part Four: Moving From One System to Many