Software architecture can be an Alien-ish concept to people who aren't tech-savvy. Most of your clients are those people, and it's your job to explain to them how the software works. However, software architecture is solely designed for programmers.
It explains the high-level structures of any software to the programmer to help them design a relevant and user-friendly application.
Hence, designing software architecture is still relevant and practiced throughout the software development industry.
What is a Software Architecture?
In simple terms, designing software architecture is like creating a blueprint before building a house.
Like a blueprint helps identify the layout, design, passages, levels, rooms, and their sizes for a building, a software architecture helps determine the structure, functions, and operations of any software.
The software architectural elements comprise the operations that must be carried out during the development process. Hence, it would help keep a programmer on the right track at all times.
Otherwise, without a clear idea of how the software would work, a programmer could end up making costly mistakes.
Why is Software Architecture Important?
Along with explaining how the software would be built, designing a software architecture also helps communicate ideas to all the stakeholders, including clients and a development team.
Here are three paramount importance of designing a software architecture.
1. Communication with stakeholders
You can use software architecture to help explain the end product and its functions to clients, designers, and marketers.
A common abstraction of a system or software can become a basis for mutual understanding, negotiation, consensus, and communication between the stakeholders.
2. Early design decisions
It helps identify the design of software and issues that may come along. This information helps to tackle early design decisions.
Most crucial decisions are made during a pre-development phase. Hence, having a clear idea in your head will help you make better decisions regarding the overall system, development process, duration, software deployment difficulties, and maintenance.
Software architecture represents a system's earliest set of design decisions. These early decisions are the most difficult to correct and the hardest to change later in the development process. They have the most far-reaching effects.
3. Copying the idea into an application
Software architecture becomes a base for all the ideas that may come after.
Although it constitutes a relatively small, intellectually graspable model for how a system is structured and how its elements work together, the same architecture can be applied to other methods such as large-scale production or software duplication for other purposes.
What Benefits Do You Get From Designing Software Architecture?
Designing a software architecture has many benefits. Addressing multiple issues that may come along the development process is one and the most important of them.
Likewise, there are many benefits to implement software architecture.
1. Identify Software Issues
The security flaw is one of the most significant issues that haunts every software developer. These security flaws often come up when a client is using the software.
This can be a big letdown!
The well-conceived architecture will identify possible security flaws with the design by catching bugs in the early stage. This may help stakeholders to move forward with confidence.
You could also assess the chance of attack, potential threat elements, and weaknesses in the application.
2. Gives a Heads Up to the Development Team
The flawed analysis often results in building software with flaws.
Hence, software architecture helps analyze the final design, implementation, and behavior before the system is built.
It also verifies that the application meets the stakeholder's requirement and helps save time building a prototype.
Analyzing the design offers few more benefits.
a. Software specification
It helps to identify the requirements of the system and the limitations within which the system will operate, develop, or evolve.
Software specification will enable feasibility study, requirement analysis, requirements specification, and requirements validation.
b. Software design and implementation
It gives headway to interface design, component design, and database design.
c. Software validation
Programmers and quality teams can compare software architecture to find flaws such as validation issues.
3. Everything is Scalable
Indeed! When you have a plan in hand, everything becomes scalable to a minute level.
Software architecture offers complete scalability of software development. Every step involved from designing software until launching it, such as productivity, practicability, and bugs, will be available for study and discussion.
Moreover, it helps to scale how an application will perform in different devices with similar or higher capacities.
You could measure scalability in two different ways.
It implies scaling up the system by deploying the software on a computer with a higher capacity than it is currently deployed on, such as a faster CPU, more memory, more rapid and larger hard disk, a speedier memory bus, etc.
It measures up the software by adding more computers that have about the same capacity as the current computers the system is running on.
4. Make Design Decision
Software architecture provides design ideas. Each element in the software architecture is laid out to help decide the end product.
A software architect helps see the bigger picture, as it offers the complete software development lifecycle.
Anyone with minimal knowledge of the software can track the entire evolvement of the software architecture.
5. Proper Risk Management
Software architecture helps to mitigate risks in the development process. It facilitates communication with stakeholders at each step. Communicating helps to solve any possible errors or mismanagement to prevent hazards in the future.
Architecture can communicate design decisions before the system is implemented when they are still relatively easy to adapt. Hence, saving you from potential losses such as increased production cost, poor quality software, and exceeding deadlines.
Software architecture gives headway for risk management that can help identify risk and eliminate these possible threats.
- Reduce the impact of risk
- Reduce the probability or likelihood of risk
- Risk monitoring
- Giving a precise description of risk events that can occur in the project
- Defining risk probability that would explain what are the chances for that risk to occur
- Determining how much loss at particular risk can cause
- Determining the liability potential of risk
6. Cost Reduction
Cost-saving is the most significant benefit of deploying software architecture!
With software architecture, you need not build any demo or prototype to present to the stakeholders.
It helps to design technically sound software that minimizes the operational and development costs.
The software architecture can be reused or recycled to develop multiple applications.
Designing a software architecture doesn't need to be lengthy and costly. You can avoid using planning tools like UML, 4+1 model, ADR, and C4 and use a simple chart with diagrams. However, the idea should be clear and understandable.
Using planning tools helps get things done quickly; therefore, software architects rely on these tools to provide you with detailed software architecture.
Software architecture will remain relevant until we keep developing software; hence, you should start taking advantage of this as soon as you can.
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