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Chapter: Software Architectures : Documenting the Architecture

Architecture Description Language(ADL)

Software Architecture: ADL Perspective

Architecture Description Language

Software Architecture: ADL Perspective

      The ADL community generally agrees that Software Architecture is a set of components and the connections among them.





Why Architecture Description Languages?

Architectural descriptions were often informal and ad hoc. As a result:

Ø Architectural designs were not always properly understood as it was highly ambiguous.

Ø The constraints assumed (i.e. the architectural constraints) in the initial design were not enforced (sometimes) as the system evolves.

Ø Very few tools available to help the architectural designers.

To address these problems, ADLs were introduced.

What is ADL ???

Ø Architecture description languages (ADLs) are formal languages that can be used to represent the architecture of a software system.

Relation of ADL’s to other notations  and Tools

 Elements of ADL


     Primitive building blocks


     Mechanisms of combining components


     Rules for referring to the combination of components and connectors

Important Properties of ADL

      Compositioncomposition of independent components and connections

      Abstractionneed to describe design elements clearly and explicitly

      Reusability ability to reuse components, connectors in different architectural descriptions

      Configuration ability to understand and change the architectural structure

      Heterogeneityability to combine multiple, heterogeneous architectural descriptions

      Analysis  - possible to perform rich and varied analysis of architectural description

      The positives

      ADLs represent a formal way of representing architecture

      ADLs are intended to be both human and machine readable

      ADLs support describing a system at a higher level than previously possible

      ADLs permit analysis of architectures – completeness, consistency, ambiguity, and performance

      ADLs can support automatic generation of software systems

      The negatives

      There is not universal agreement on what ADLs should represent, particularly as regards the behavior of the architecture

      Representations currently in use are relatively difficult to parse and are not supported by commercial tools

      Most ADL work today has been undertaken with academic rather than commercial goals in mind

      Most ADLs tend to be very vertically optimized toward a particular kind of analysis

Types Of ADLs


Ø Rapide

Ø Wright

Ø Unicon

Ø Aesop

Ø MetaH

Ø Lileanna


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