Carnegie Mellon University
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Reconciling the Needs of Architectural Description with Object-Modeling Notations

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journal contribution
posted on 1981-01-01, 00:00 authored by David Garlan, Shang-Wen Cheng, Andrew J Kompanek
Complex software systems require expressive notations for representing their software architectures. Two competing paths have emerged. One is to use a specialized notation for architecture, an architecture description language (ADL). The other is to adapt a general-purpose modeling notation, such as UML. The latter has a number of benefits, including familiarity to developers, close mapping to implementations, and commercial tool support. However, it remains an open question as to how best to use object-oriented notations for architectural description, and, indeed, whether they are sufficiently expressive, as currently defined. In this paper we take a systematic look at these questions, examining the space of possible mappings from ADLs into UML. Specifically, we describe (a) the principal strategies for representing architectural structure in UML; (b) the benefits and limitations of each strategy; and (c) aspects of architectural description that are intrinsically difficult to model in UML using the strategies.


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