Classifying Software Architecture Quality Research

Classifying Software Architecture Quality Research
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  Classifying software architecture quality research Mario Piattini 1 , Coral Calero 1 , Hernán Astudillo 2 1Department of Computer Science, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha  Paseo de la Universidad, 4, 13071, Ciudad Real, Spain 2Departmento de Informática Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María  Avda. España 1680, Valparaíso, Chile {Mario.Piattini, Coral.Calero} Abstract  In this paper, and following other proposals, we  present a model for classifying the research works done on the software architecture field. We also present some examples of classification. The final objective is not only to have a global vision about the research in this area but also to know where works is lacking. 1. Introduction In last decade, research in software architecture (SA) has had an enormous growth Garlan (1995) Medvidovic et al (1998) A systematic approach to the existing literature would be extremely useful, insofar as it expresses appropriately the complexity of the subject domain (SA itself) and the reasons why people go this literature. Following other works such as Calero et al (2004), Piattini et al (2004) and Kotonya et al (2003) we  propose a multi-dimensional framework to help classifying the main research efforts on SA, allowing to identify gaps and overlaps in the discipline’s research. Section two presents a set of dimensions proposed for classification of software architecture research and some examples of software architectures classification, and the last section presents conclusions and future work. 2. Dimensions in software architecture research In order to classify software architecture research in detail, we propose to distinguish six different dimensions. In fact, we can analyze the different proposals on software architecture considering:  The object of study, i.e. the focus of the research (e.g. computations, deployables, specifications, etc),  The research goal, i.e. what is the aim of the  proposal (e.g. describing, evaluating, etc.),  The context of study, i.e. the area in which the software architecture is used (e.g. space, control systems, etc.),  The followed research method (e.g. experiments, surveys, literature analysis, etc.).  The type of proposal (e.g. methodologies, guidelines, patterns, metrics, etc.).  The research artifact (e.g. book, article, report, etc) In table 1 we summarize the six dimensions and some of their possible alternatives. Table 1. Summary of SA research classification dimensions Table 2 exemplifies our approach by classifying several well-known works in the field. The advantage of this classification is double. On one hand, for researchers , it identifies areas that need further research and gives a guide for avoiding the duplication of existing work, and for clienss , it explicits what is available and can be used. On the other hand, the many stakeholders of the SA process (end-users, analysts, quality assurance staff, systems administrators, developers, peer architects,  project managers, etc. Astudillo et al (1998)) can know specifically what knowledge is available that may be useful. Object of study   process   methodology, method, technique  , product  computation, deployable, software, specification   Research goal   describing, assessing, evaluating, measuring, improving  Context of study  avionics, command and control, embedded systems, electronic commerce, finance, healthcare, real-time, simulation, telecommunications, utilities, management information systems, web, etc.   Research method   literature analysis, concept implementation, mathematical proof, simulation, meta-analysis, action research, experiments, etc.  Type of proposal   modeling language, method, heuristics, guidelines,  patterns, metrics, tool, approach, etc.  Validation of the proposal   analisys, case study, evaluation, experience, example, some example, persuation, no mention}  Research artifact    book, conference/workshop article, journal article, Proceedings of the 5th Working IEEE/IFIP Conference on Software Architecture (WICSA’05) 0-7695-2548-2/05 $20.00 © 2005   IEEE  Object of study Research Goal Context of Study Research method Type of proposal Researchitem A survey on Soft-ware Architecture Analysis Methods. Dobrica et al (2002) methods -SA analysis- describe and evaluateGeneral survey guidelines-related to the use of the most suitable methods for SA analysis-  journal articleMoving towards quality attribute driven software ar-chitecture recons-truction. Stoermer et al (2003) method -SAreconstruction- describe general, case study in automotive body components conceptimplementation approach conference articleArchitecture-basedspecification-time software evolution. Medvidovic (1999) architecturespecification describe General action research guidelinesfor software evolution at architecturespecification-time thesis PhD Table 2. Examples of SA classification 3. Conclusions Current research on SA is disperse and very difficult to evaluate and integrate, because of the lack of a systematic framework. In this paper we have elaborated a first proposal in this sense, and used it to classify some relevant research efforts. We hope this classification helps to better understand the different contributions in SA research. The framework that is  proposed must be further refined and validated, for example, the Context of Study research dimension does not yet included some important domains directly related to software engineering such as Management Information Systems and Web development. Although we have not finished yet, we can anticipate some conclusions that can be derived from this analysis: 1) Most studied works did not follow rigorously a research method 2) Most of the research efforts are focused on quality characteristics of software and, no on the quality of software architecture. 3) Little work has been done towards measurement of SA. 4) Many of the works use the empirical validation, which is a positive and necessary aspect This kind of study could help to identify major opportunities for future research in SA. Addressing these areas will perhaps lead to better SA, thus leading to higher quality systems. Acknowledgements This research is part of the CALIPO project (TIC2003-07804-C05-03). MCyT (Spain). References [1] Astudillo, H. and Hammer, S. (1998). Understanding Architecture: What we do and why we do it. OOPSLA´98 Workshop on Architecture as Methods. Vancouver, BC, Canada.[2] Calero, C., Ruiz, J. and Piattini, M. (2004). A Web Metrics Survey Using WQM. ICWE 2004. LNCS 3140. 147-160[3] Dobrica, L. and Niemelä, E., (2002). A survey on Software Architecture Analysis Methods. IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, Vol 28, Nº 7, pp. 638-653. [4] Garlan, D., (1995). Research Directions in Software Architecture. ACM Computing Survey, Vol 27, Nº 2, pp. 257-261.[5] Kotonya, G., Sommerville, I. and Hall, S. (2003). Towards A Classification Model for Component-Based Software Engineering Research. Proc. 29th EUROMICRO Conference. IEEE Computer Society. 1-10 [6] Medvidovic, N., Architecture-Based Specification-Time Software Evolution, (1999). PhD thesis, University of California, Irvine. [7] Medvidovic, N. and Taylor, R. N. (1998). Separating Fact form Fiction in Software Architecture. International Workshop on SA. Florida. 105-108 [8] Piattini, M., Genero, M., Poels, G. and Nelson, J., (2004), Towards a Framework for Conceptual Modeling Quality, in Conceptual Model Metrics, Imperial College Press. [9] Stoermer, C., O'Brien, L. and Verhoef, C. (2003). Moving Towards Quality Attribute Driven Software Architecture Reconstruction. 10th Working Conference on Reverse Engineering. Proceedings of the 5th Working IEEE/IFIP Conference on Software Architecture (WICSA’05) 0-7695-2548-2/05 $20.00 © 2005   IEEE
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