Many people hear about software architecture but don’t really know what it means or why it can be helpful. However, when working on a software project, it is primordial to dedicate time to get a good software architecture. It’s the base of all the projects. At least this is how we see it at Apiumtech and that's why we have one of the best software architects that is part of our team.
What Is Software Architecture?
When we talk about the architecture of a software, we talk about a plan that describes a set of aspects and decisions that are important to a software. This implies taking into consideration all kinds of requirements (performance, security, etc.), the organization of the system, how the system parts communicate with each other, whether there are some external dependencies, what the guidelines and implementation technologies are, what risks to take into consideration, and much more.
Going back to what I said, the architecture of a software includes important decisions. If you make a change to one of the software’s aspects or decisions, will there be a huge impact and will it be very hard to change? The answer will probably be yes.
Why Is Software Architecture Important?
Here are the three main reasons why a good software architecture is so important when it comes to development.
1. A Basis for Communication
Software architecture is a sort of plan of the system and is primordial for the understanding, the negotiation, and the communication between all the stakeholders (user-side, customer, management, etc.). It makes it easier to understand the whole system and makes the decision-making process more efficient.
2. The Earliest Decisions
The first decisions are made at this stage. Those early decisions have a huge importance on the rest of the project and become very difficult to change the more we advance in the process.
3. Transferability of the Model
Software architecture defines the model of the software and how it will function. Having it makes it possible to reuse this model for other software. Code can be reused as well as the requirements. All the experience we get while doing the architecture is also transferred. This means that we know and can reuse the consequences of the early decisions we took on the first place.
In other words, the architecture will define the problems you might encounter when it comes to implementation. It also shows the organizational structure and makes it much easier to take decisions and manage all sort of change. It also permits us to get a better estimate of the time and cost of a project.
More about the benefits of software architecture.
What Is a Good Software Architecture?
It’s very difficult to determine what good software architecture is. There is no real right answer to this question. What we can say is that it makes products cheaper to develop and to maintain. In general, the facets of a good architecture are all interrelated and depend on each other. For example:
- The software architecture should be strong and easy to maintain when we find bugs.
- We should have domain concepts that nearly all the members will understand.
- It should be flexible, extensible, and usable on the long term.
- You should make it possible to adapt to requirements.
- You need high-capacity scalability.
- You shouldn’t find repetition in the code.
- Refactoring should be easy.
- It should respond positively to change; when adding features, performance should not decrease.
Many people believe that only by looking at the final product can you know that you have a good software architecture. That is definitely not true. However, looking at the product, you can find “signs” of a good one. Again, this does not mean that if the following points are seen in the software, you automatically have a great software architecture! Now that we made this clear, what are the indicators that could show your software has good architecture?
- The software is user-friendly.
- The solution is flexible and users adapt it quite easily.
- The software is scalable and is able to support any type of growth (i.e., more users).
- The software works the way the end user works.
- The software has high performance and runs fast.
- It’s easy to modify or add functionalities.
- You can easily run tests on the software.
- Maintainability is made easy.
- The software is strong and reliable.
Hopefully, this article has helped you understand the importance of a good software architecture and why we are so obsessed with having a good one! It’s always important to think about the long term, building software to make it functional right now and allow it to support any sort of growth and change.