Estandar 1471 ieee

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STANDARDS

Software Architecture: Introducing IEEE Standard 1471
Mark W. Maier, Aerospace Corporation David Emery, MITRE Corporation Rich Hilliard, ConsentCache Inc.

product lines, and product families in which software plays a substantial role in development, operation, or evolution.

WHAT IS AN ARCHITECTURE?
Although defining architecture in the context of computing might seem like asimple task, it became one of the most contentious issues in developing the standard. This is not surprising considering that, despite approximately 5,000 years of practice, the civil architecture community has had little more success in precisely defining a building’s architecture. The difficulty with this subject, which was the last issue resolved in the balloting process, is that it requiredelaborating on the concept that an architecture is a very complex property of a system rather than a thing itself.

Civil architecture influence

A

lthough architecture has become a popular term in the computing community, its use is inconsistent, often bearing little resemblance to the concept’s origins in civil engineering. Architecture is used in various contexts to mean the instruction setof a central processor unit, the highest-level software modules in a large software system, or the overall structure of a business’s information technology systems. In some contexts, the architecture is both the process and the outcome of specifying the overall structure, components, and interrelationships of a computer or a network. Other organizations speak of buying or acquiring an architecture.Architecture also describes a product line’s shared attributes or features. Despite these inconsistencies, there is a growing body of recognized practice in architecture as applied to computer systems. In 2000, the Computer Society approved IEEE Standard 1471, which documents a consensus on good architectural description practices. The decision process that led to IEEE 1471’s approvaldemonstrates how standards can address conceptual issues and emphasizes the difficulties associated with resolving these kinds of issues in the standards development process.

Five core concepts and relationships provide the foundation for the approved IEEE 1471 version:

IEEE 1471 uses civil architecture as a metaphor for the design of softwareintensive systems. The architect develops a limitedrepresentation of a building’s

IEEE Standard 1471 identifies sound practices to establish a framework and vocabulary for software architecture concepts.
• Every system has an architecture, but an architecture is not a system. • An architecture and an architecture description are not the same thing. • Architecture standards, descriptions, and development processes can differ and be developed separately.• Architecture descriptions are inherently multiviewed. • Separating the concept of an object’s view from its specification is an effective way to write architecture description standards. IEEE 1471 focuses on both softwareintensive systems and more general systems, such as information systems, embedded systems, systems-of-systems, physical structure, works with the client to understand thebuilding’s potential use and the client’s resources for constructing the building, and determines the constraints that both the site and local laws place on what can be built. The architect is the client’s trusted agent in coordinating all aspects of a building project, including the integration of structural, business, legal, and aesthetic concerns. While the architect’s role is broad, it does notextend to all of the building project’s details. The architect’s domain is the essential core, the aspects of the project that define usage, value, cost, and risk to within the client’s tolerances. The architect’s role is to help the client make the key decisions of when and how to go forward with the building program, and to define
April 2001

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Standards

Views and viewpoints

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