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Understanding Software Architecture & Its Patterns

calender 04 May 2022

“Software architecture is more than a denomination, a logically design architecture gives a glimpse of all the steps involved in building a software. It also helps in understanding the needs of the customers more precisely.”

understanding-software-architecture-and-its-patterns

Software architecture is a design that provides a glimpse of all the steps involved in building a software. It reveals the complete structure of the software,assembly of components in it, and what process they’ll follow to interact with one another while hiding the implementation.

This whole process helps the software development team to understand the requirements of the customers and clearly communicate how the software is going to be built.

Creating a software architecture is a process of selecting, tailoring, and combining patterns. A software architect should know how to instantiate a pattern, how to make it apt according to the specific context and the constraints of the problem.

Different Software Architecture Patterns:

1. Microkernel Pattern

The microkernel architectural pattern is also known as a plug-in architectural pattern. This pattern is most commonly used at a time when software teams develop systems with interchangeable components.

Microkernel pattern is being implemented on software systems that are capable enough to adapt to the changing system needs. It distinguishes a minimal functional core from extended functionality and customer-specific parts. It also works as a socket for plugging in these extensions and coordinating their collaboration.

This pattern is the perfect example of a natural paradigm used for executing product-based applications. And a product-based application is one that is packaged and made available for download in versions as a typical third-party product.

Through the microkernel architecture pattern you can add extra application attributes as plug-ins to the core application, providing extensibility along with feature separation and isolation.

The pattern has two kinds of architecture components:

  • A core system
  • Plug-in modules

Both independent plug-in modules and the basic core systems divide the application logic and provide extensibility, flexibility, and isolation of application features and custom processing logic. And the core system of the microkernel architecture pattern traditionally contains only the minimal functionality required to make the system operational.

Advantages

  • Flexibility and extensibility
  • Can add plug-ins while the application is running
  • Good portability
  • Ease of deployment
  • Quick response to a constantly changing environment
  • Plug-in modules can be tested in isolation and can be easily mocked by the core system to demonstrate or prototype a particular feature with little or no change to the core system.

Best for

  • Workflow applications
  • Task and job scheduling applications

2. Microservices Pattern

Writing an application as a set of microservices implies that you are writing different applications that are bound to work together. Each microservice is busy in managing its own set of responsibilities, further, teams have the choice to develop them independently of other microservices. Communication is the only requirement that makes them rely on each other. When microservices communicate with each other, it is essential to make sure that data sent between them remains backwards-compatible. 

Advantages

  • It is easy to write, maintain, and deploy each microservice separately
  • Easy to scale, as you can scale only the microservices that need to be scaled
  • Rewriting pieces of the application becomes easy because they’re smaller and less coupled to other parts
  • New team members quickly become productive
  • The application is easy to understand and modify
  • Highly maintainable and testable – enables rapid and frequent development and deployment
  • Independently deployable – enables a team to deploy their service without having to coordinate with other teams

Best for

  • Websites with small components
  • Corporate data centers with well-defined boundaries
  • Rapidly developing new businesses and web applications
  • Development teams that are spread out, often across the globe

3. Layered Architecture Pattern

This architecture pattern falls in the category of the most common type of pattern. In layered architecture patterns the components of n-tiered patterns are assembled in horizontal layers. This conventional method of designing and developing a software is meant to be self-independent. This means that all the components are interconnected but do not depend on each other. Each layer has been assigned its peculiar role within the application. For instance, the role of the presentation layer is to manage all user interface and browser communication logic, while a business layer would be responsible for implementing certain business rules associated with the request.

One of the prominent features of the layered architecture pattern is its ability to separate concerns among components. Components within a specific layer deal only with logic that pertains to that layer.

Advantages

  • High testability because components belong to specific layers in the architecture, other layers can be mocked or stubbed, making this pattern relatively easy to test.
  • Ease of development because this pattern is well known and is not overly complex to implement
  • Maintainable
  • Easy to assign separate roles
  • Easy to update and enhance layers separately

Best for

  • Standard line-of-business apps that do more than just CRUD operations
  • New applications that need to be built quickly
  • Teams with inexperienced developers who don’t understand other architectures yet
  • Applications requiring strict maintainability and testability standards

4. Event-based Pattern

This pattern is used to develop high scalable systems, it consists of single-purpose event processing components that monitor events and operate them asynchronously. This architecture pattern is event-driven and builds a central unit that can accept all data and assign it to the separate modules that handle the particular type.

Advantages

  • Easy to adapt to complex and chaotic environments
  • Easy to scale
  • Are easily extendable when new event types appear

Best for

  • Asynchronous systems with asynchronous data flow
  • User interfaces

Space-based Pattern

The purpose of the space-based pattern is to resolve scalability and concurrency issues. This pattern also proves useful in the case of those applications that have variable and unpredictable concurrent user volumes. It becomes easy to achieve high scalability, once you remove the central database constraints and use replicated in-memory data grids instead.

The reason behind designing a space-based architecture is to keep away from functional collapse under high load by dividing both the processing and the storage between multiple servers.

Advantages

  • Responds quickly to a constantly changing environment.
  • Although space-based architectures are generally not decoupled and distributed, they are dynamic, and sophisticated cloud-based tools allow for applications to easily be “pushed” out to servers, simplifying deployment.
  • High performance is achieved through the in-memory data access and caching mechanisms built into this pattern.
  • High scalability comes from the fact that there is little or no dependency on a centralized database, therefore essentially removing this limiting bottleneck from the scalability equation.

Best for

  • High-volume data like click streams and user logs
  • Low-value data that can be lost occasionally without big consequences
  • Social networks

That’s all!

Architecture patterns play an important role in regulating the destiny of the software, so choose what suits you the most!

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