Software is increasingly prevalent in our daily lives. It seems like every person you talk to has an app on their phone, or uses one frequently at work. The amount of time people spend using apps is rising rapidly as well – there are now even chat bots that perform various tasks for users!
This growing popularity is creating a need for more software architects. Architectural design is the field of study that focuses on how software gets built, organized, and operated. As such, it’s important to know what tools and techniques software architects use to create successful applications.
Software architecture includes things like understanding the differences between centralized, decentralized, and cloud-based systems, deciding which type of system is best for your project, and figuring out how to organize all components into unique groups (or modules).
It also means making sure each part of the application communicates effectively with other parts, and is easily modifiable down the road. All these factors depend heavily on good architectural theory, so staying up to date on current trends can help you keep your skills fresh.
But before you start studying hard concepts, there are some basic ones we should go over first. These are called “entry level theories,” because they will give you the basics to understand technology and software.
In this article, we will discuss two entry level theories that relate to software architecture: information modeling and classification.
Over the past two decades, there have been several different schools of thought when it comes to how to architect software. Some say that an overarching framework is not needed for good software architectures, while others believe that using one can help ensure consistency across your applications.
There are also those who argue whether or not having an overall structure for your application makes things easier in the long run. A growing number of experts suggest looking at both sides of this argument to see which fits you best.
What isn’t debated is the importance of deciding what your software will be used for before picking its architectural styles.
By defining the use cases ahead of time, you'll know what features your app should include, and you’ll be able to pick more appropriate design patterns for each task.
As with any type of organization, there are certain tools that you should have in your toolbox to ensure success as an architect. These organizational skills can help you manage your projects, keep track of everything, and get things done efficiently.
As we discussed earlier, creating an architectural framework is one of the first steps in becoming a successful architect. With this understanding, it becomes easier to identify what types of software architects exist.
There are two main categories: system architects and application architects. A system architect designs overall systems such as networking equipment or operating systems, while an application architect focuses more on individual applications.
This doesn’t mean that they don't work together- it's just that one may focus more on designing large-scale technology, whereas the other concentrates more on smaller components.
There are several different theories about what makes up an effective software architecture, but most agree that having separate modules or components is important. This way, you can add new features or shift resources around without needing to redo everything at one place.
What differs among these architectures is how many layers of this separation there should be in the system. Some have only two layers — user interface and core code (or lower layer) — while others have three or more.
These additional layers typically include things like business logic, backend services, and database management systems. All of these parts interact with each other and build off of each other to create fluid functionality.
As with any profession, there are certain things that you needed to be trained in to do your job properly. For example, if you’re a dentist, you need to have formal training in dental medicine before you can actually perform oral surgeries or prescribe medications. If you want to work as an accountant, you must complete additional courses such as finance and business studies.
If you’re looking to become an architect, you will first need to earn a degree or certification from an accredited institution. After graduating, you will need to spend some time practicing by creating designs of actual buildings or sites before getting professional design jobs.
Architects typically have several touchpoints in their field. These include designing buildings, programs (layers) for computer applications, interactive interfaces (e.g., websites), mobile apps, and so on. Some people focus more on one type of interface while others develop skills across many different ones.
This is similar to how professionals are in other fields. For instance, someone who has completed medical school can also choose to pursue opportunities in either dentistry or internal medicine. Or, they may decide to go into specialty areas like pediatrics, family practice, or orthodontics.
In his book The Discipline of Programming, David Bressler writes that early programming languages were not designed with an underlying formal structure or logic. Computers could only perform simple mathematical equations, for example, so programmers would have to come up with their own systems to organize their programs.
Software back then was mostly made out of routines- repetitive tasks that had to be performed often. Programs would have functions such as “add”, “subtract”, and “multiply”, which users would combine together into one large function.
This style of software design is very common in today’s software, but it wasn’t always the case. At the time, there weren’t many ways to make organized, logical software designs.
But this didn’t stop people from developing them! By thinking outside the box, program creators came up with various organizational styles that we know and love… like object oriented programming (OOP) and dynamic scripting language features such as those found in PHP, Python, and others.
These concepts still exist today, and are some of the most popular architectural styles. OOP has become almost universal, while dynamic scripting languages continue to grow in popularity.
The first step in improving your own software design is analyzing the current state of affairs and what you want to change. This article will help with that!
Software architectures have three major components: functionality, platform, and structure.
Functionality refers to how well the software works- things like creating documents or browsing through websites are examples. Platforms refer to the toolset used to create the software (MacOS, Windows, Linux) and what operating systems the software can run on. Structure includes all of the different files and folders within the program- these include menus, logos, and other graphical elements.
When looking at the functional side of software, there are several areas to focus on. These include features such as document editing, image manipulation, and web browser navigation. Make sure your software has enough of these and that they are easily accessible via user interface.
The aesthetic side of the software should be considered as well. Is it elegant? Does it look professional? Are users able to tell it from off-the-shelf programs? Comparing similar apps across various platforms can also give insight into whether the developers took care in their code.
With regards to the platform, make sure the software is compatible with the given computer systems. A lot of people use Microsoft Office so making sure this software is fully compatible comes up quite frequently.
A key part of creating successful software is choosing an appropriate architectural style for it. This article will discuss some fundamental concepts in this area, as well as look at several examples.
One important factor when deciding upon an architectural style for your project is determining how much control you want over the finished product. Does every detail matter to you or can you accept some things about your software that you may not have designed?
If the latter applies then go with an open source design approach! Many great companies use free and/or publicly available software to build their products, which they then enhance by adding their own features and branding.
By doing so, they give up direct control of the final product, but benefit from all the work put into developing the platform that others create new features on.
The next step in software architectural development is implementation, or as some like to refer to it as “building the house” from scratch. This means taking all components of your software and putting them together into one place!
This seems very straightforward, but there are several things that can get in the way.