Managing architectural decision models with dependency relations, integrity constraints, and production rules

Olaf Zimmermann, Jana Koehler, Frank Leymann, Ronny Polley, Nelly Schuster
2009 Journal of Systems and Software  
Software architects consider capturing and sharing architectural decisions increasingly important; many tacit dependencies exist in this architectural knowledge. Architectural decision modeling makes these dependencies explicit and serves as a foundation for knowledge management tools. In practice, however, text templates and informal rich pictures rather than models are used to capture the knowledge; a formal definition of model entities and their relations is missing in the current state of
more » ... e art. In this paper, we propose such a formal definition of architectural decision models as directed acyclic graphs with several types of nodes and edges. In our models, architectural decision topic groups, issues, alternatives, and outcomes form trees of nodes connected by edges expressing containment and refinement, decomposition, and triggers dependencies, as well as logical relations such as (in)compatibility of alternatives. The formalization can be used to verify integrity constraints and to organize the decision making process; production rules and dependency patterns can be defined. A reusable architectural decision model supporting service-oriented architecture design demonstrates how we use these concepts. We also present tool support and give a quantitative evaluation.
doi:10.1016/j.jss.2009.01.039 fatcat:oboz6k6eybfcjl6abhwrbcplyy