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Beyond Definition/Use: Architectural Interconnection

Robert Allen and David Garlan.

In Proceedings of the ACM Interface Definition Language Workshop, Vol. 29(8), SIGPLAN Notices, August 1994.

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Large software systems require decompositional mechanisms in order to make them tractable. Traditionally, MILs and IDLs have played this role by providing notations based on definition/use bindings. In this paper we argue that current MIL/IDLs based on definition/use have some serious drawbacks. A significant problem is that they fail to distinguish between 'implementation' and 'interaction' relationships between modules. We propose an alternative model in which components interact along well-defined lines of communication - or connectors. Connectors are defined as protocols that capture the expected patterns of communication between modules. We show how this leads to a scheme that is much more expressive for architectural relationships, that allows the formal definition of module interaction, and that supports its own form of automated checks and formal reasoning.

Keywords: Software Architecture, Wright.  
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