What is software architecture? See definition and application in the corporate world

What is software architecture? See definition and application in the corporate world

You may not know examples of software architecture, but you can be sure that this concept is more present in your routine than you imagine.

Every day, you probably use different applications, tools and online systems, whether on your desktop or on your cell phone. This is basic to most people’s routine.

However, what many are unaware of is that behind an application, there is a large organizational structure that is developed by software architecture .

In this content, we explain what software architecture is, how it works and how it is applied in the corporate world. In addition, you will also learn about the different types of software architecture, examples and main models. Enjoy reading!

What is software architecture?

Software architecture is an abstract concept, which refers to the organization of a system . It is responsible for defining the components that will be part of a project, their characteristics, functions and the way they should interact with each other and with other software.

What is the role of software architecture?

This area of ​​IT is responsible for the strategic analysis of the operational components that allow the creation of viable solutions for a technology . To do this, it takes into account aspects such as:

  • performance;
  • scalability;
  • interoperability;
  • compatibility;
  • performance.

With software architecture, you can understand the differences between languages , operating systems, and computing environments. That is, any technological component can be used to integrate an architectural solution.

This part is essential, as it optimizes the work of designers and developers, allowing an application to meet the basic standards necessary to function satisfactorily.

The projects developed by the software architect reduce the risks associated with the system. “In a nutshell, technologies make software functional and suitable for solving a business solution” , he adds.

Mary Shaw and David Garlan, pioneers in the area and responsible for one of the first books dedicated to software architecture, point out:

“In addition to the choice of algorithms and data structures, architecture involves: decisions about the structures that will form the system, control, communication protocols, synchronization and data access, assignment of functionality to system elements, physical distribution of elements, scalability and performance and other quality attributes”.

What is the origin of software architecture?

In the late 1960s, scientists began to research more about the concept and patterns of software architecture. The idea was to emphasize the importance of structuring a system before its development. However, it was only in the 1990s that studies in this area evolved.

At the time, the book Software Architecture: Perspectives on an Emerging Discipline was written by Shaw and Garlan, bringing the perspective of patterns, styles and architectural models as a basis for software development.

This leap in the history of software architecture was just the beginning. Later, the area evolved dramatically, after the creation of the first standard, better known as ISO/IEEE 1471-2000 , which means a fundamental organization architecture of a system.

Today, many actions in our daily lives are only possible due to the idealization and development of these technological solutions. This is true both in the work environment and on a personal level. Some of the main examples are e-mail, the intranet, online stores and cloud services .

How does software architecture applied to business work?

For companies, software architecture aims to meet a business-oriented vision. With this in mind, what a software architect does is:

  • develop the structure of the systems;
  • carry out strategic planning;
  • create architectural design standards;
  • taking care of the optimization and scalability of the business;
  • build solutions for applications.

5 benefits of software architecture for the corporate world

At this point, you may have already noticed that software architecture is indispensable for any company that wants to remain competitive in an increasingly digital market, isn’t it?

But, you may be wondering: “what are its benefits in practice?”

Well, among the main advantages that software architecture models provide for a company, we have:

  1. Reduction of risks for the business;
  2. Alignment of expectations between the different sectors of the company;
  3. Building flexible, high-quality applications;
  4. Possibility of integration with different languages ​​and systems;
  5. Higher level of security for developed applications.

In addition, unlike some areas, software architecture is indispensable in organizations, especially those that have technology as a premise in their business model.

An example of this are brands such as Nubank, Facebook, Uber, Slack and even Correios, which create different solutions based on agile development , digital transformation and scalable architectures .

Typically, these companies look for specific modeling, combining components based on an architectural vision that best suits the system. For this to happen, software architects must evaluate all implementation options for a system.

For professionals in the field, this part is known as architectural views , as they allow a general analysis of the system. Then, from there, they select the structures of the sets that will be part of the process for the best functioning of the application.

The types of software architecture views include:

  • logical vision;
  • process vision;
  • implementation vision;
  • use case view;
  • deployment vision.

What is a framework and what is its importance for software architecture?

Within a process of the main software architectures, the framework is the part of the development that unites the components within the infrastructure of a system or application , basically being its interface.

The biggest differential of using a framework is to guarantee that the developer has the possibility to adjust the project according to the requested customization. Therefore, more and more developers are looking for this type of tool.

For them, having access to pre-established parameters increases their productivity, enabling the work to be done more quickly and in a more structured way. Not to mention that tool management is also easier: it is not necessary to reinvent the wheel to put software on its feet.

However, before choosing any template, the software architect needs to put together the necessary structure to develop his idea.

Using the architecture view, it is possible to capture the main structural design decisions of the software, such as its components, forms, constraints and functional or alternative requirements.

Finally, this entire part is directed to the Software Architecture Document , which will store the visions, abstractions or simplifications of the created models and their characteristics.

This document should provide the overarching architecture overview of the system. Its purpose is to function as a means of communication between the architect and other project participants.

This step is important to increase the quality of the architectural models before moving on to the development part.

How to choose the architectural model for a software? 4 examples

After applying the architecture vision, we can move further into the software architect routine.

Considering the best way to structure a system, it will be essential to think about the next phase of the project, which is the definition of software architecture standards (remember that there are an infinite number of them). As Rafael Lobato highlights:

“There is no basic functioning of technology. There are endless ways to apply and meet the various existing problems” .

But, currently, there are some patterns that are most used for creating software solutions, which are also known as styles or types of software architecture. These are some of the main examples.

1. Layered pattern

The layer-based software architecture organizes a set system that can be deconstructed into different services, bringing an incremental development model. The most common cases for using this pattern are in e-commerce and desktop software.

2. Client-server architecture (Client-server pattern)

Style organized into services, combining client and server data. To achieve this, it is essential that the client provides a network to access information.

This scenario is one of the best known in people’s routine, as it is often used in banking applications and email.

3. MVC architecture (Model-view-controller pattern)

Distributed in three layers (Model, Vision and Control), this pattern is one of the most common for the online world, as it brings an interactive system model.

4. Microservices architecture (Microservices pattern)

Finally, this software architecture example uses multiple services and components to develop a favored modular structure.

Today, it is one of the preferred patterns of software developers and architects. This is because they enable the scalability and independence of the modules, which can even use different languages ​​and programming.

In addition to being one of the current favorite models, the microservices pattern is also one of the highlights of trends in the evolution of software architecture.

What to expect from the future of software architecture?

We’ve separated the main reasons to keep an eye on each of them.

Cloud Computing (cloud computing)

Cloud computing is a technological solution aimed at remote access to different online content. This means that it is no longer necessary to have a personal computer or a local server to access information.

In our daily lives, we use cloud computing to edit documents on Google Drive or to listen to a playlist on Spotify.

When using this technology, make sure the service you are developing requires a cloud:

  • public : the client is responsible for uploading the information to the provider;
  • private : model most appropriate for companies that offer internal control to employees;
  • hybrid : combination between public and private.

After all, each of these models has a different impact on the organization, including the cost and performance of the service.

Artificial intelligence

Developing software based on artificial intelligence is already a practice carried out in the IT market.

Currently, it is easier to program, in addition to a more intuitive interface, which meets business needs more quickly. Soon, this technological evolution should become even more accessible for the production of software and applications.


The practicality of microservices will create a system migration movement for companies that have a stronger IT area and greater productivity.

“The future of architecture, even though it is very difficult to predict, has a great chance of always looking for new technologies that optimize what already exists on the market” , highlights Lobato.


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