What Is Software Architecture?

Software architecture outlines the logical organization and flow of information within a software system. It includes details on data structures, how information is processed, as well as principles that guide development of the system.

Domain Specificity: An architect must understand the problems a system will address and how its various elements interact. This knowledge allows them to select the most appropriate patterns and approaches for meeting those challenges. Furthermore, this understanding allows them to communicate effectively with business and technical representatives, building trust between them.

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Modifiability: A system’s capacity to alter its behavior in response to environmental changes (like new requirements or performance benchmarks) is a paramount concern when designing its architecture. Modifiability requires all elements of the system be able to perform their roles without interfering with one another or other elements, and any modifications should not have far-reaching effects on other elements.

Multidisciplinary Design Process: The design of a software system involves multiple stakeholders, each with their own set of needs and concerns. A successful architecture takes these into account and effectively addresses them all.

Early Design Decisions: The initial bindings of a software system have far-reaching effects that extend far beyond their individual importance when considering subsequent phases of development, deployment and support. Often architects make these initial choices without considering their potential impact on the architecture as a whole.

Layered Architecture: Layering an architecture allows layers to be isolated, decreasing the likelihood that changes in one layer will impact other layers and thus decreasing code refactoring efforts and technical debt accumulation. Such an architecture could be designed with multiple interfaces that are independent from each other and expandable independently.

Event-Driven Architecture: Programs must be able to process data when something occurs within the system, such as when a transaction is made or when a user engages with it. An event-driven architecture helps manage these events by assigning specific code a task that executes when certain types of data are processed.

Microservices: Microservice architectures are designed to avoid monolithic systems that are difficult to manage and resist change. A microservice architecture consists of small, separate programs that each perform a specific function.

SOLID Principle: Software architectures should adhere to the SOLID principle. A SOLID approach is an ideal way to avoid product strategy errors in a software system.

Domain Knowledge: Gaining an intimate familiarity with a given business domain and how to best address its problems is paramount for designing successful software architecture. This understanding allows the architect to select the most appropriate patterns and approaches to address those issues, as well as communicate effectively with both business and technical representatives, creating trust between both groups.

Leadership: An architect must have the capacity to voice concerns, encourage discussion of different viewpoints, and reach consensus. Doing so allows them to tackle complex architectural problems and lead teams in solving them.

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