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Formal Connectors

Robert Allen and David Garlan.

Technical report, CMU-CS-94-115, Carnegie Mellon University, School of Computer Science, March 1994.

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As software systems become more complex the overall system structure -- or software architecture -- becomes a central design problem. An important step towards an engineering discipline of software is a formal basis for describing and analyzing these designs. In this paper we present a theory for one aspect of architectural description: the interactions between components. The key idea is to define architectural connectors as explicit semantic entities. These are specified as a collection of protocols that characterize each of the participant roles in an interaction and how these roles interact. We illustrate how this scheme can be used to define a variety of common architectural connectors. We further provide a formal semantics and show how this leads to a system in which architectural compatibility can be checked in a way analogous to type checking in programming languages.

Keywords: Formal Methods, Software Architecture.  
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