The greatest determinant of software development that can stand out in a competitive product market is a robust foundation in the initial stages of development. But the creation of software that has a powerful foundation just doesn’t occur instantly. Instead, several considerations are put into the concern to ensure everything turns out to be right. The factors include proper decisions on rightful designs, a properly shared understanding between software designers and architects, and easily understandable code.
What is Software Architecture?
To start with, let’s understand what software architecture is. Simply, software architecture can be termed as a blueprint through which development experts lay down user expectations and have a shared understanding of system design before staring the whole software development process.
Software architecture has not stagnated to what it was in the initial stages. It is generally a consistent evolution of architectural trends and technical decisions. With software architecture, we can see notably exemplified habits such as manageability, quality, maintainability, usability, and scalability, among others.
It is, therefore, critical to establish a powerful software architecture background before getting ready for your first line of code. All these ensure the powerful and effective development of software products. It’s even more essential for backend and frontend developers to couple up in the earlier developmental stages so that the end structure is consistent and scalable to a greater extent.
The Evolution of Software Architecture
Long gone is the time when software architecture design considerations were accounted for before any other developmental phase. Initially, this was done because experts couldn’t make desirable changes at later developmental stages.
But everything has gradually taken a different turn, and we are now in an agile development journey. In this journey of development, we’ve seen the development cycle change by a great deal. What seemed to be the worries of experts at earlier stages has now been taken into account. The core idea here is that development has been broken down, and developers and designers can now work in incremental and iterative steps. All these introductions have now resulted in the building of software that is efficient and maintainable.
Usually, there are always different but related small functional modules in a microservices architecture. These functional modules are loosely linked to each other to ensure a generally functioning and maintainable software that meets the needs of dedicated users. With all these functional modules, everything is made easier hence enabling successful structural changes if the future calls for such. The main idea behind modern architectural styles, such as micro-services, was the incorporation of incremental approaches. As a result, the end outcome is the reduction of expenses while implementing structural changes at a later stage.
Importance of Software Architecture
The ease of maintaining software depends on the organization of its architecture. A well-organized software makes it easier to maintain its internal quality. The final product is an enhanced software that is lovable by every individual user. On the contrary, a poorly organized software architecture will always harden its maintainability. Consider the example below:
Consider a case where identical software products are launched into the market. But one of the product surpasses the other by a month in terms of launch periods. Additionally, the addition of new features is required after about three months. If the code used in developing the first launched software product is indecent and tangled, users will just use it with no knowledge of changing it. But the development team will have a hard time tracking and implementing changes associated with it. For the latter case, if the code used is neat and organized, users will use the software as well. But most importantly, the software development team will have an easy time tracking its scope and implementing the necessary changes.
The choices of an Enterprise Software Development Company
From the example above, the development team will set their focus on the first launched software regardless of the code. They’ll do so because it’s what matters at the time.
In the other instance, quality performance is properly prioritized even though a lot of time is required to develop a super-powerful maintainable software. With modular developments, time will be properly spent, and there will be proper facilitation in regular and frequent user updates. Generally, the appending of new features to the software with tangled and unorganized code will be tough and time-consuming. It will be so easy for the software with well-organized codes even though there is a delayed launch.
Principles of Software Architecture
Each software architecture must put into consideration some solid principles that are linked to the objectives of software architecture and development. When the below principles are followed to the latter, then the chances are that no more mistakes against product strategies can occur. The following are the principles:
- Single-Responsibility Principle
This principle sticks to the fact that each service in the microservice architecture should be confined to a single objective. In summary, every microservice should focus on a specific responsibility.
- Open-Closed Principle
According to this principle, the functionality of independent software modules should be expanded without any ease. That is, the expandability of any unique service should not, in one way or another, affect the general behavior of a given software.
- Liskov Substitution Principle
There should be effective communication between two stand-alone services when the need arises through API call. Furthermore, two services with similar contracts should be substitutive and work in place of the other without affecting the entire system.
- Interface Segregation Principle
The software should be broken into microservices with no form of redundancy. There should be a loose link between the smaller modules for client satisfaction. There should also be a reduction of anti-patterns within the code.
- Dependency Inversion Principle
There should be no form of dependency where high-level modules depend on the low-level ones. Both should be abstraction-dependable. Furthermore, the abstractions should lean on details and vice-versa. This principle aims to avoid the lower level modules from being affected when changes occur in the high-level ones.
Attributes for Good Software Architecture
The following attributes can determine what good software architecture is.
Functionality: This attribute defines the performance level of any given software against its intended purpose.
Reliability: the product can offer intended functionality with strict observance of given conditions.
Usability: defines the extent to which a software product can be used with ease.
Supportability: defines the flexibility of software from one platform to another without or with little changes.
Self-reliance: defines the ability of stand-alone services to work properly regardless of downtime that may occur.
Differentiating between Good Software and Bad Software Architecture
There are several factors critical for trimming down cruft in the process of development. Let us consider the following factors:
Architecture structure relies on the type of architectural design. A good example is a layered structure kind of architecture. Usually, the development team is the determinant of designs aligned to design.
The success criteria of the product under development depends on the characteristics of the architecture. The characteristics are general and don’t just focus on a unique or single aspect.
Architecture decisions set standards to be adhered to once the development process begins. The decisions determine what should be done and what should not be done by the development team during the development process.
The design principles and architectural decisions cannot be separated because of a thin boundary between them. For design principles, several directives are put across and should be adhered to in comparison to architecture decision instructions. The guidelines are a spotlight on the process of UX design.
The Traits of a Good Software Architect
It is essential to understand and go for a good software architect. Below are some of the traits of such an architect.
- Makes decisions based on the architecture
- Conceptualizes, understands and analyzes the architecture
- Updates on the latest software development trends.
Making Architectural Decisions
- Conceptualizing and analyzing the architecture
- Keeping an account of the latest software development trends
- Linking the expectations with reality in present and future
Considerations for Software Architecture Development
Before coming up with excellent software, a dedicated software architect needs to provide a clear definition of the problem at hand. The software architect should put into considerations all the user needs. They should put some of the following factors into consideration:
- The needs and focus area of end-users. These include software performance, reliability, usability, and availability, among others.
- System administrator requirements include administrative tools, among others.
- The marketer needs such as cost, competitive features, among many more.
- The developer needs, which are not limited to project requirements but also a powerful basic design approach.
- Lastly, project manager expectations are also critical. These include schedule, budget, consistency, among many more.
Conclusively, a steady, basic, and good software architecture is key when it comes to maintaining software quality just after development. It is key in developing microservices critical for effortless and economic management. Even though such software may experience some craft, the development team can identify problems arising more easily and effortlessly.
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