Towards supporting the software architecture life cycle

Authors Rainer Weinreich
Georg Buchgeher
Title Towards supporting the software architecture life cycle
Type article
Journal Journal of Systems and Software
Number 3
Volume 85
ISSN 0164-1212
Month March
Year 2012
Pages 546-561
SCCH ID# 1124

Software architecture is a central element during the whole software life cycle. Among other things, software architecture is used for communication and documentation, for design, for reasoning about important system properties, and as a blueprint for system implementation. This is expressed by the software architecture life cycle, which emphasizes architecture-related activities like architecture design, implementation, and analysis in the context of a software life cycle. While individual activities of the software architecture life cycle are supported very well, a seamless approach for supporting the whole life cycle is still missing. Such an approach requires the integration of disparate information, artifacts, and tools into one consistent information model and environment. In this article we present such an approach. It is based on a semi-formal architecture model, which is used in all activities of the architecture life cycle, and on a set of extensible and integrated tools supporting these activities. Such an integrated approach provides several benefits. Potentially redundant activities like the creation of multiple architecture descriptions are avoided, the captured information is always consistent and up-to-date, extensive tracing between different information is possible, and interleaving activities in incremental development and design are supported.