A Concern-Oriented Approach to Software Architecture

A major cause of many complications in the field of software architectures is the lack of appropriate abstractions for separating, combining and encapsulating concerns of various kinds in architectural descriptions.

Architectures of most complex software-intensive systems involve concerns that inherently crosscut the natural boundaries of the elements composing the architecture descriptions. Crosscutting concerns intersect the common modularity of systems as prescribed by their architecture descriptions, by traversing both the components and connectors, i.e., the relationships among the components. Crosscutting concerns are critical aspects of many architectural problems. However, architectural descriptions written in special-purpose languages (ADLs) like Wright, Darwin, Rapide and Acme should support descriptions of multiple structures, which include diagrams, models and views, that intentionally address different kinds of concerns. ADLs should show how various concerns affect each other in architectural designs; they should also allow one to identify, analyze and elaborate architectural concerns that cut across several software components, such as transactions, security, load balancing, synchronization, reuse, customization, scalability, etc.; they should, but they do not.

This dissertation presents a new approach to software architecture that is suitable for supporting concern-oriented development and documentation of architectures for software-intensive systems. This approach allows for creating and documenting a multidimensional software structure that is referred to as concern-oriented software architecture; it provides new mechanisms for encapsulating individual concerns into independent architectural constructs. The ultimate goal of this new approach is to provide support for achieving design by concerns all through the development and description of software architectures. Moving towards this goal, we present a particular concern-oriented architectural framework called Perspectival Concern-Spaces (PCS). The PCS Framework offers a flexible and extensible means a) for supporting advanced separation of concerns in architectural design, and in the construction and evolution of software-intensive systems; and b) for filling the gap between architectural descriptions and modern software development artifacts.

To show the feasibility of the proposed approach, we provide new modeling techniques that are used to describe and apply an aspect-oriented architectural pattern, called the On-demand Remodularization pattern. We give several examples of how the PCS Framework can be used to integrate concern-oriented architectural documentations with mainstream software development artifacts.


    Record created on 2005-09-20, modified on 2016-08-08

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