Beyond Definition/Use: Architectural Interconnection

Robert Allen, and David Garlan

Proceedings of the ACM Interface Definition Language Workshop, January, 1994.

Online links: Postscript PDF BIBTEX Citation

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.
Software architecture, Architectural specification, Wright, Architectural connection, Architectural modeling, Interface definition

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