Formalizing Architectural Connection

Authors: Robert Allen and David Garlan

Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Software Engineering, May 1994.

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As software systems become more complex the overall system structure, or software architecture, becomes a central design problem. An important step towards an engineering discipline of software is a formal basis for describing and analyzing these designs. In this paper we present a theory for one aspect of architectural description: the interactions between components. the key idea is to define architectural connectors as explicit semantic entities. These are specified as a collection of protocols that characterize each of the participant roles in an interaction and how these roles interact. We illustrate how this scheme can be used to define a variety of common architectural connectors. We provide a formal semantics and show how this leads to a sound deductive system in which architectural compatibility can be checked in a way analogous to type checking in programming languages.
Keywords: Software Architecture, Formal Description, Architectural Connector, Formal Semantics, Compatibility Checking

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