Exploring software architecture patterns

The architectural pattern acquires the design structures of different systems and software elements so that they can be reused. When writing software, developers will encounter the same problems repeatedly. These can be addressed by creating patterns that give engineers a reusable way to solve issues.

There are numerous software architecture patterns and various advantages in using them in software design. They can increase speed, productivity and efficiency, improving planning and development costs. Before starting software development, a suitable architecture is chosen that will give the required quality attributes and functionality.

Software flaws can have serious implications for businesses. The most likely reason for software failure can be the selection of wrong software architecture patterns. The architectural pattern is a concept that helps understand software architecture. An architectural pattern can address engineering concerns such as high availability, performance limitations and minimizing business risk. The success of the system relies on software architecture selection.

For those who wish to become experts in software architecture patterns, Baylor University offers an Online Master of Computer Science with a Software Engineering track. Students study software design with experienced faculty and develop innovative approaches to the challenges in this field. The technology industry continues to grow and there are many career opportunities for graduates to pursue.

Client-server pattern

This pattern structures the workloads or tasks of an application between a resource requester (client) and the service provider (server). The client is the application that performs actions or requests information, and the server is the program that performs actions in response. Clients are typically represented by front-end applications that run on the internet or mobile apps, and servers are usually back-end applications.

An example is when a user enters a social network. They enter the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) on the browser and hit enter. The browser acts as the client application and sends a request to the social network server, which reacts by sending the website content. These days, most applications use a client-server pattern. The central concept is clients requesting services or resources that the server performs. The servers and clients use the same system, but each has its own program. Therefore, they can be developed, hosted and executed independently. Email, file sharing, Twitter, Facebook, the Web, and mobile applications generally work with this system.

The client-server pattern has been in use for many years. It is best applied to an end-to-end process with information sources that all users need to access. Controlling, accessing and maintaining the information and applications is a large part of operating this system. A problem addressed by this system is the need for multiple users to connect to shared information and applications. The security issue is addressed because the data is centralized, making the system more secure.

Layered pattern

Designers and developers commonly use this pattern. It separates the system into layers and organizes components by related criteria. Within the application, each layer has a particular role and responsibility. The presentation layer would handle all browser communication logic and user interface. There are four layers: presentation, business, persistence and database. The layers allow the good practice of low coupling and high cohesion. Ideally, each module is assigned to just one layer, with upper layers able to use lower layers. With the layers of isolation, concept changes in one layer usually do not affect other layers. Changing the custom-written business layer to a business rules engine will not affect the other layers.

This model is one of the most cost-effective architecture patterns. This pattern closely matches most companies’ IT communication and organizational structures, so it is often used for business application development. It allows different teams to work together on different modules simultaneously. It is suitable for desktops, e-commerce and other applications, including groups of subtasks executed in a specific order. It suits a rudimentary application with a low user count and minimal requirement changes after going live.

Exploring software architecture patterns

Peer-to-peer pattern

Some uses of peer-to-peer (P2P) architecture are file sharing, instant messaging, voice communication, collaboration and high-performance computing. This model has no division between client and server in the systems network. There is a single system that acts as the server and client in a P2P pattern. Each system is called a peer and sends requests to other peers, and receives requests from peers, which are all part of the network. The P2P network does not require specialist knowledge to set up. This pattern is different from a client-server network where only the client sends a request, and the server processes it. 

There is no central server or network operating system to pay for or maintain, making this network economical. The system can manage peers leaving and large numbers of peers joining simultaneously. P2P networks can survive attacks well as there is no centralized server. Despite these advantages, the widespread use of mobile devices has made many companies change to other architectures.

Microservices pattern

This network combines design patterns to develop assorted services that work connectedly to make a larger application. It is easy to update applications when necessary because they are small. However, there is complexity, so architectural expertise is needed to ensure that everything works correctly.

The microservices pattern uses numerous design patterns: asynchronous messaging design, branch, API (application programming interface) gateway design, chain of responsibility and aggregator. The microservices architecture uses a separate distribution of units. As a result, the efficient delivery pipeline allows for easy distribution of microservices and application scalability. The distributed architecture means that the structure’s components can be decoupled and reached through remote access protocols. The distributed quality of the pattern gives it high scalability.

The independent distribution of microservices allows engineers to maintain and write each microservice independently, which can increase scalability and functionality. Each microservice is small, so it is easier to update and rewrite. Microservices architecture is most suited to web applications and websites with small components. It is also good for business data centers that have clear-cut confines. Complexities can bring challenges, particularly in the network layer. Considerable architectural expertise is required to carry out decoupling services to work independently.

Conclusion

Architectural patterns are essentially reusable solutions to common problems. In each pattern, the components are organized differently to solve specific software architecture problems. Before selecting the right pattern to meet business objectives, it is necessary to understand architecture patterns and the applications for which they are most appropriate. There are many reusable solutions when using software architecture patterns, such as scalability and security.