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Monday, March 14, 2011

Architectural Design - Representing the System in Context and Defining Archetypes

As architectural design begins, the design should define the external entities that the software interacts with and nature of the interaction. Once the context is modeled and all external interfaces are described, the structure of the system is specified by the designer. It is done by defining and refining software components that implement the architecture.


Architectural context represents how the software interacts with entities external to its boundaries. A system context diagram accomplishes this requirement by representing the flow of information into and out of the system. At the architectural design level, a software architect uses an architectural context diagram to model the manner in which software interacts with entities external to its boundaries.

How do systems inter-operate with the target system?
Superordinate Systems
These systems use the target system as part of some higher level processing scheme.
Subordinate Systems
These systems are used by the target system and provide data or processing that are necessary to complete target system.
Peer-level Systems
These systems interact on a peer-to-peer basis.
These entities interact with the target system by producing or consuming information necessary for requisite processing.
Each of these external entities communicates with target systems through an interface.


Archetypes are the abstract building blocks of an architectural design. It is a class or pattern that represents a core abstraction that is critical to design of an architecture for the target system. Archetypes can be derived by examining analysis classes defined as part of analysis model.Target system architecture is composed of these archetypes which represent stable elements of the architecture. Some kind of archetypes are:
- Nodes
- Detector
- Indicator
- Controller

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