Formalizing architectural rules with ontologies - An industrial evaluation

Authors Sandra Schröder
Georg Buchgeher
Title Formalizing architectural rules with ontologies - An industrial evaluation
Booktitle Proceedings of the 2019 26th Asia-Pacific Software Engineering Conference (APSEC 2019)
Type in proceedings
Publisher IEEE
ISBN 978-1-7281-4648-5
DOI 10.1109/APSEC48747.2019.00017
Month December
Year 2019
Pages 55-62
SCCH ID# 19072

Architecture conformance checking is an important means for quality control to assess that the system implementation adheres to its defined software architecture. Ideally, this process is automated to support continuous quality control. Many different approaches exist for automated conformance checking. However, these approaches are often limited in terms of supported concepts for describing and analyzing software architectures. We have developed an ontology-based approach that seeks to overcome the limited expressiveness of existing approaches. As a frontend of the formalism, we provide a Controlled Natural Language. In this paper, we present an industrial validation of the approach. For this, we collected architectural rules from three industrial projects. In total, we discovered 56 architectural rules in the projects. We successfully formalized 80% of those architectural rules. Additionally, we discussed the formalization with the corresponding software architect of each project. We found that the original intention of each architectural rule is properly reflected in the formalization. The results of the study show that projects could greatly benefit from applying an ontology-based approach, since it helps to precisely define and preserve concepts throughout the development process.