Importance of Software Architecture

Architecture is the blueprint of any physical structure. It defines the basic design principle or building style used for construction based on the need, cost, quality, time, scalability, security, reliability, and risk aversion. Similarly, Software Architecture simply defines the blueprint or the basic design style in which the software is built to satisfy the customer specifications, CQT (cost, quality, time factors of the project), conformity to a specific platform/language, reusability, maintainability, loosely coupled nature, security, scalability, reliability, and availability to support 100% uptime and mitigate risks.

Every software that is built, end up with a specific architecture based on the requirements and use cases that it is built upon. So, what is the big deal about understanding software architecture? Knowledge is power and equips you to take wise decisions. This basic life lesson applies in this case as well.

Understanding –

  • Which Programming language is most suited for the system that you are building in terms of performance, security and ease of use?
  • Which development framework would you use that provides the greatest system performance, security and developer productivity?
  • Which design patterns would you use that gives you the most code reuse and scalability?
  • Which testing frameworks, CI/CD and DevOps tools would you use that offers the most performance and maintainability on premise and cloud setups?
  • What kind of underlying infrastructure (on-premise, cloud, hybrid) is the most cost-effective, secured, available and gives you high performance?

is crucial for anyone who builds high performance, mission critical software systems. These are also the basic knowledge realms upon which a specific software architecture gets its life when a high-performance software system is built and thus becomes a reference point or in other words a reference model or architecture or pattern for the developer community. This leads to the point that high performance software systems are built on a combination of component architectures that goes into the overall software architecture. So, understanding the nuts and bolts of well-established software architectures is important at any time to reduce the rework, failure rate, bugs and diminished performance due to bad design.

Creation and representation of Software Architecture should not be an after the fact thing or realization. Meaning, there is least value in documenting the Software Architecture once the software is built and is in production use. Software Architecture decisions (see above in bold) need to be thought about and documented in adequate representational forms so that appropriate ‘approvals’ are attained from proven industry knowledge. There is a lot of experience and learning factor involved in this process. Foundational knowledge of these areas and constant self-learning is crucial for anyone who takes Software Development seriously for the betterment of the community. I recommend the academic community to improve and expand their curriculum annually including above principles which will equip students to make wise decisions right from the start!

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