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Using Style to Understand Descriptions of Software Architecture

Gregory Abowd, Robert Allen and David Garlan.


In Proceedings of SIGSOFT'93: Foundations of Software Engineering, Vol. 18(5):9-20 of Software Engineering Notes, ACM Press, December 1993.

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Abstract
The software architecture of most systems is described informally and diagrammatically. In order for these descriptions to be meaningful at all, figures are understood by interpreting the boxes and lines in specific, conventionalized ways. The imprecision of these interpretations has a number of limitations. In this paper we consider these convetionalized interpretations as architectural styles and provide a formal framework for their uniform definition. In addition to providing a template for precisely defining new architectural styles, this framework allows for the proof that the notational constraints on a style are sufficient to guarantee the meanings of all described systems and provides a unified semantic base through which different stylistic interpretations can be compared.

Keywords: Architectural Style, Software Architecture.  
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