Home > Articles > Software Development & Management > Management: Lifecycle, Project, Team

  • Print
  • + Share This
Like this article? We recommend

4: Invest Up Front in Software Architecture

Every morning, some developer goes to work with software requirements for a new application in hand and starts writing code. For those who do so without first developing software architecture, their programs are likely doomed to failure. Invest up front in your software architecture, and you'll be starting down the path to successful software development.

Developing architecture for an industrial-strength software system prior to its construction is as essential as having a blueprint for construction of a large building. The architecture becomes the blueprint or model for the design of your software system. We build models of complex systems because we can't comprehend any such system in its entirety. As the complexity of systems increases, so does the importance of good modeling techniques. There are many additional factors to a project's success, but starting with a software architecture backed by rigorous models is one essential factor.

In the face of increasingly complex systems, visualization and modeling become essential tools in defining software architecture. If you invest the time and effort up front to correctly define and communicate software architecture, you'll reap many benefits including these:

  • Accelerated development, by improved communication among various team members

  • Improved quality, by mapping business processes to software architecture

  • Increased visibility and predictability, by making critical design decisions explicit

Here are some tips on how and why to always start your software development project with software architecture.

Start with a minimum yet sufficient software architecture to define the logical and physical structure of your system. Table 2 summarizes some sample activities to be performed.

Software architecture is the top-level blueprint for designing a software system. Developing good software architecture requires knowledge of the system's end users, the business domain, and the production environment, including hardware and the other software programs with which the system will interface. Knowledge of programming languages and operating systems is crucial to developing good software architecture. As software systems grow more complex, more knowledge is required of the software architect. Object-oriented and component-based technologies may simplify individual programs, but the complexity typically remains at the architectural level, as more objects or components and their interaction must be understood.

Table 2 Software Architecture Activities

Activity

Architecture Level

Examples

Gather user requirements

Logical architecture

Generate use-case examples

Document sample user activities

Create class, state, sequence, and collaboration diagrams

Start design and production acceptance

Physical architecture

Define packages and components

Define deployment environment


There are no shortcuts to designing good software architecture. It all starts with a small number of software architects, perhaps one to three. If you have more than three architects working on a single program's software architecture, they probably are not working at the right level of detail. When software architecture delves too deeply into detailed design, it becomes impossible to see the whole architecture at a top level and properly design from it.

Most software applications are much more complex than the makers of GUI development tools would like you to believe. Every application should be built around a software architecture that defines the overall structure, main components, internal and external interfaces, and logic of the application. Applications that work together in a common subsystem should adhere to an architecture that defines the data flow and event triggers between applications. Finally, applications that run across your entire organization need to follow some set of minimal guidelines to assure interoperability and consistency between applications and maximize opportunities for reuse of components.

Software architecture should always be designed from the top down. If you're going to implement a multiple-tier software architecture across your IT organization, it's nice to do this before you have lots of components written that can only communicate with other applications on the same host. Start by developing your organization's overall application architecture. Next, define the system architecture for the major systems that will be deployed in your organization. Finally, each application in every system needs to have its own internal software architecture. All of these architectures should be developed before you develop any production code or invest in any purchased software packages. The notion of completing software architecture up front doesn't contradict the spiral model of software development that utilizes prototyping and iterative refinement of software. Rather, prototyping should be acknowledged as an essential step in defining many parts of your architecture.

Trying to design a global set of every reusable component you think you might ever need is a losing proposition. You only know which components will be useful with lots of real experience delivering systems. If you don't prototype, you don't know whether what you're building is feasible, useful, and tractable.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020