Software Architecture: It Might Not Be What You Think It Is
As you know, high-quality software should have such properties as flexibility, scalability, security, reusability, and implementation. But how can all this be achieved in practice? This is where the development of software architecture will help, which is understood as the process of turning all the above characteristics into a structured solution that meets both technical and business requirements. In academic language, software architecture can be called a set of internal software structures, and these structures are visible from different points of view and include:
- Connections of these components
- Possible interactions between components
- Externally accessible properties of these components
Moreover, the component in this case is an arbitrary structural element of the software, which can be distinguished by defining the interaction interface between this component and everything that surrounds this component.
Characteristics of Software Architecture
So, the characteristics of the software will help to understand the requirements for the software and determine the existing expectations regarding this software, both at the functional and technical levels. Therefore, when a Product Owner argues that it is important to be competitive in the tough conditions of a rapidly changing market, then one can directly talk about the need for rapid adaptation of the business model. Thus, the software must be easy to expand functionality, be easy to maintain, consist of blocks, etc. What does all this mean for the software architect? Yes, at least the fact that the main characteristics of the software should be:
- quality of work
- increased fault tolerance
All this is obvious, but at the same time, you are being told that the budget of the project is limited. And here, for you as an architect, another equally important parameter comes into play – feasibility. And this is where all the talent of a software architect comes in. However, the matter is not limited to this, because there are a lot of quality characteristics.
What Problems Does Software Architecture Solve?
When you decide to use software architecture services, you have a very logical question. Are you wondering what the main tasks are solved at the level of application architecture development? And are they really that important to you as a customer? Now we will analyze everything in detail.
- Improving and increasing the productivity of processes. Typical customer expectations from the implementation of the application are a reduction of time spent on performing various actions; acceleration of various operations; process automation; various improvements that come from scalability—the ability of a system, network, or process to handle an increase in workload (increase its performance) when resources, usually hardware, are added.
- Cost reduction. One of the goals of development may be to reduce the costs required when performing any actions. This can be done both by increasing the productivity of processes and by accelerating the execution of operations.
- Improvement of operations. Operational activities are usually associated with the performance of routine standard operations (for example, the work of a cashier in a store, the receipt of utility bills, etc.). By automating (simplifying, speeding up) such operational activities, you can reduce costs or increase system performance.
- Improving management efficiency. An architectural solution may be aimed at improving management efficiency, for example, by automating the workflow in an enterprise (transition from paper documents to electronic ones with tracking the history of changes, notifications, etc.).
- Reducing risks. Any activity is associated with certain risks. One of the goals of developing an application may be to reduce them. For example, the double signature rule for financial transactions (when a financial transaction created by one employee must be checked by another employee and put his signature).
- Increase user productivity. Users can be understood as both employees of the company itself (in this case, increasing productivity can be attributed to the goals affecting processes), and customers of the company who will use the developed software (the more comfortable the customers, the less likely they will go to competitors).
- Increasing the possibility and transparency of interaction. Many enterprises use several systems between which it is necessary to exchange information. Software development can be aimed at automating and simplifying this exchange (making it more “transparent”, and simple for end users).
- Reducing the cost of “support” of the life cycle. The processes associated with the life cycle of the food cycle can also be the goal of automation since the reduction in costs incurred in the process of the life cycle of the food product will lead to additional profit.
- Improved security performance. Application security is becoming more and more important every year. More “secure” applications are more competitive than their peers.
- Improved manageability. Manageability refers to the impact on various processes occurring in the application without the intervention of the developer.
Summing up, it is safe to say that software architecture is one of the most important components of the successful development of any software. It is the process of transforming requirements for functionality and technical complexity into a structured solution that meets all the requirements of modern business. A high-quality architecture guarantees a significant improvement in the productivity of processes, a real reduction in costs, and an increase in the level of manageability, and these are far from all the advantages. All in all, a true master of software quality architects is now taking on a new role in today’s society, to quote a Forbes article.
The best option is to choose a software architecture that fully meets the requirements of the project and contributes to the achievement of the project goal. For example, you can use a database architecture for projects with a lot of data, and a scale-out architecture for projects with a lot of users. In general, with the correct and wise approach to this issue, you will be able to achieve considerable success in software development.