A requirement-driven approach for modelling software architectures

Makoondlall, Yajna (2020) A requirement-driven approach for modelling software architectures. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


Throughout the software development lifecycle (SDLC) there are many pitfalls which software engineers have to face. Regardless of the methodology adopted, classic methodologies such as waterfall or more modern ones such as agile or scrum, defects can be injected in any phase of the SDLC. The main avenue to detect and remove defects is through Quality Assurance (QA) activities. The planned activities to detect, fix and remove defects occur later on and there is less effort spent in the initial phases of the SDLC to either detect, remove or prevent the injection of defects. In fact, the cost of detecting and fixing a defect in the later phases of the SDLC such as development, deployment, maintenance and support is much higher than detecting and fixing defects in the initial phases of the SDLC. The software architecture of the application also has an incidence on defect injection whereby the software architecture can be regarded asthe fundamental structures of a software system. The impact of detecting and fixing defects later on is exacerbated for software architecture which are distributed, such as service-oriented architectures or microservices. Thus, the aim of this research is to develop a semi-automated framework to translate requirements into design with the aim of reducing the introduction of defects from the early phases of the SDLC. Part of the objectives of this work is to conceptualize a design for architectural paradigms such as object-oriented and service-oriented programming. The proposed framework uses a series of techniques from Natural Language Processing (NLP) and a blend of techniques from intelligent learning systems such as ontologies and neural networks to partially automate the translation of requirements into a design. The novelty focuses on moulding the design into an architecture which is better adapted for distributed systems. The framework is evaluated with a case study where the design and architecture from the framework is compared to a design and architecture which was drawn by a software architect. In addition, the evaluation using a case study aims to demonstrate the use of the framework and how each individual design and architecture artefacts fair.

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