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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Tool-based capture and exploration of software architectural design decisions Lee, Larix

Abstract

Developing software-intensive systems involves making many design decisions, some of which are decisions that govern the architecture of the system. Since changes to these architectural decisions affect many parts of the system being developed, design decisions pertaining to the system architecture should be documented and the knowledge the decisions contain should be explored. Many researchers and industry practitioners in the software architecture and maintenance communities have identified this need for design decision documentation as well as exploration. They have proposed design knowledge, rationale and decision representation models, suggested requirements, and determined uses and challenges to overcome when utilizing software architectural design decisions. Summarizing and integrating the various works of these researchers and industry practitioners would better represent the current state of research in exploring architectural knowledge and documenting design decisions, thereby creating a common foundation for new discoveries to be built. I present a new system-based tool that I developed called ADDEX, which attempts to unify the current discoveries, models, requirements, and guidelines for design decisions. In addition to integrating the various works together, the ADDEX tool is a system designed to take a holistic approach to decision capture and exploration by explicitly supporting customized decision capture processes for software development organizations. The tool also provides visualization support to promote a better understanding of the software architecture through several decision visualization aspects. I used ADDEX to acquire and display industry decision sets to demonstrate the ability of the tool-based solution to capture and explore software architectural design decisions. Combined with industry feedback, the decision sets help evaluate the tool and verify that ADDEX met the requirements and guidelines described by the various researchers and industry practitioners on which the integrated solution is based. Feedback from industry provides insight into decision capturing and the practical use of decision visualization.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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