Empirical Study on the Effect of a Software Architecture Representation’s Abstraction Level on the Architecture-Level Software Understanding

Empirical Study on the Effect of a Software Architecture Representation’s Abstraction Level on the Architecture-Level Software Understanding

Abstract

Architectural component models represent high level designs and are frequently used as a central view of architectural descriptions of software systems. Using the architectural component model it is possible to perceive the interactions between the system's major parts and to understand the overall system's structure. In this paper we present a study that examines the effect of the level of abstraction of the software architecture representation on the architecture-level understandability of a software system. Three architectural representations of the same software system that differ in the level of abstraction (and hence in the number of components used in the architecture) are studied. Our results show that an architecture at the abstraction level that is sufficient to adequately maps the system's relevant functionalities to the corresponding architectural components (i.e., each component in the architecture corresponds to one system's relevant functionality) significantly improves the architecture-level understanding of the software system, as compared to two other architectures that have a low and a high number of elements and hence tangles or scatters the system's relevant functionalities into several architectural components.

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Authors
  • Stevanetic, Srdjan
  • Zdun, Uwe
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Projects
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Shortfacts
Category
Paper in Conference Proceedings or in Workshop Proceedings (Short Paper in Proceedings)
Event Title
International Conference on Quality Software 2014 (QSIC)
Divisions
Software Architecture
Subjects
Software Engineering
Event Location
Dallas, USA
Event Type
Conference
Event Dates
October 2–3, 2014
Date
October 2014
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