Architecture or design is the first step in the development of software, hardware or complex systems, which consists of more than pure hardware or software.


The specifications for the architecture are defined by the requirements from the previous analysis . The steps for creating an architecture are composed of:

  • finding the components of the object of observation,
  • defining the interfaces between the components,
  • and the defining the tasks of the components, which are derived from the requirements of the analysis.

There are many architectural patterns for these steps, but they are highly dependent on the given domain. The results of these steps can serve as a starting point for a more detailed analysis of the considered component. Regarding software, the results of the architectural steps can be used as a starting point for a fine design, e.g. as a class diagram, and when it comes to hardware components, they can be used for creating a layout, as well as for the selection of components. These and other cross-component determinations are an inherent part of architectural activities. Also the integration and communication with the involved component developers should not be ignored. Their knowledge is often needed for profound decisions on the architectural level.

Documentation of Architecture

Architecture is generally documented in a model-based  way. The depiction of the requirements at the component level can however be made textually, model-based or with a combination of both types. It is important to ensure a consistent documentation from the analysis to the components. Only with such a profound documentation, it can be ensured that all requirements are taken into account in architecture. Furthermore, a consistent documentation makes it possible to guarantee the consistent traceability of safety-critical systems and it allows for an easier maintenance and expansion by using e.g. an impact analysis.



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