Software architects create high-level design alternatives based on their programming experience. An architect has thought through all the characteristics of a software, just like an architect that builds a house. A design that a normal person sees is just the walls and windows but a detailed design that is engrossed from the outsider are also available with the architect. Additionally, the architect may sometimes initiate technical standards, incorporating coding standards, tools, or platforms.
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Here are the few significant tips & techniques for software architects suggested by a few experts.
“Initiate by thinking about the software characteristics ideally before thinking about tangible solutions and technical building blocks.
Before considering deployment strategy, decide on the structure and behavior of the software system and characterize aspects of the building blocks based on functional and non-functional requirements. You should also take into consideration technical and organizational limitations that you will discover along the way.
Gather the knowledge about the system and grow architectural design gradually. Do not define final architecture at the early stage of development, because the first shot will most probably be wrong. Define requirements like performance, scalability, portability, and other non-functional aspects carefully. They can make design and implementation more complicated and sometimes conflict with each other. Document and discuss all non-functional requirements with stakeholders to identify the most vital quality attributes and make trade-offs where necessary.
Design the system to run on a variety of processes. Use microservices to decompose a complex application into small and independently deployable processes. It will help you to recognize all the variations and graduations between a unified process and microservices. As a result, you will be able to examine every building block of the system and whether you would need to segregate them into separate processes.”
- Sam Cohen, CEO at Goldtreeway.com
Focus on adaptability
“When talking about software architecture, it makes sense to target on adaptability, as this is what can truly make a project robust and successful. Adaptability is the degree to which software adapts to change without migration code or other similar tools. Thus, the architecture design decisions you make must be based on adaptability best practices.
Besides adaptability, some of the essential aspects of maintainable software are performance and modularity. The first one can be measured by how clean the code is written, while the second is related to how decoupled and well-documented the code is.
There is a simple suggestion to ensure adaptability in your applications: code review and pair programming. Both of these methods are based on one developer checking the other's work for any errors. The only difference is that code review takes place when the software (or a part of it) has been written, while pair programming happens in real-time. Either way, these two principles are very helpful when creating maintainable software products.”
- Vladlen Shulepov, CEO at Riseapps
Analyse and choose right alternatives
“Don’t fall back to your similar old design every time. Select from architecturally take some time to really analyze that you are choosing the right building blocks that are really the best fit for the final solution. Too often I come across a system where it is clear the original architects made the familiar choice rather than looking at possible alternatives. The “familiar” choices that are sub-optimal at the beginning often devolve into bigger bottlenecks in the future. One of the most frequent examples that I have observed is how architects go right to their default favourite relational database without thinking about the data that will go into that database. I have seen designs where NOSQL or Graph databases would have been a much better fit.”
- Christopher Osborn, Founder at VectorOne
Optimize the design
“According to the requirements and conditions of software, the optimized design and architecture differ. It may be interesting for you to know that surprisingly it is so common that even with enough information about software requirements, the best initial design and architecture will not remain the best after passing the few initial phases of the application. Why!? Because in almost 95% percent of the situation the features that the product owner wants are not what can help its business in reality.
Usually, after the few first initial versions, the main requirements will shine and in most cases in order to migrate to those features and/or add them, architectures need to change the initial design and this is something inside the application development lifetime. For solving and detecting them faster, nowadays many companies choose a more modern way of software development management which called Agile with continuous delivery and continuous integrations.”
- Soheil Salarimanesh, CEO and CTO at ButikRea
Well inputs and documentation
“Robust, and successful software products require user focus and input. Maintainability is built from the initial coding forward and based on adherence to good ’standards’ practice - based on the applicable standards from code commenting in the initial software to hardware backup and emergency power systems - don’t miss or overlook details.
Good software is about good practices and good documentation - it is all in the details. Details matter. Read and follow instructions. Take good notes. And, don’t accept something less. Don’t focus on getting it done. Take the time to get it right instead. Don’t forget a good change management plan. And, then have it checked over by a trusted peer or reviewer.”
- Gregory Carson from Carson Patents
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“The success of software architecture depends on communicating to make sure the design is the right fit for the needs and that the code is organized well and can be understood easily. While messy code can still produce results, it is much more difficult for developers to work in and can cause major headaches.”
- James Boatwright, CEO at Code Galaxy
“Expect to make mistakes. No project or plan is ever perfect the first time, especially software programs. In the beginning, you are unaware of what problems or challenges may present, so allow room for those problems to occur. Start with your big generic picture and work towards the center.”
- Laura Fuentes, Operator at Infinity Dish