Architecture-driven problem decomposition

Rapanotti, L.; Hall, J.G.; Jackson, M. and Nuseibeh, B. (2004). Architecture-driven problem decomposition. In: 12th IEEE International Conference on Requirements Engineering (RE 2004), 6-11 Sep 2004, Kyoto, Japan.




Jackson's Problem Frames provide a means of analysing and decomposing problems. They emphasise the world outside of the computer helping the developer to focus on the problem domain instead of drifting into inventing solutions. The intention is to delay consideration of the solution space until a good understanding of the problem is gained.
In contrast, early consideration of a solution architecture is common practice in software development. Software is usually developed by including existing components and/or reusing existing frameworks and architectures. This has the advantage of shortening development time though reuse, and increasing the robustness of a system through the application of tried and tested solutions.
In this paper, we show how these two views can be reconciled and demonstrate how a choice of architecture can facilitate problem analysis, decomposition and subsequent recomposition, within the Problem Frames framework. In particular, we introduce Architectural Frames - combinations of architectural styles and Problem Frames - and illustrate their use by applying them to two problems from the literature.

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