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A Survey of Architecture Description Languages

  • Author(s): Paul C. Clements
  • Publish Date:
  • Publisher: Software Engineering Institute
  • Type: White Paper
  • Topics: Software Architecture
  • Description: This paper summarizes a taxonomic survey of ADLs that is in progress. This paper summarizes a taxonomic survey of ADLs that is in progress. Preliminary results allow conclusions to be drawn about what constitutes an ADL, and how contemporary ADLs differ.

Abstract

Architecture Description Languages (ADLs) are emerging as viable tools for formally representing the architectures of systems. While growing in number, they vary widely in terms of the abstractions they support and analysis capabilities they provide. Further, many languages not originally designed as ADLs serve reasonably well at representing and analyzing software architectures. This paper summarizes a taxonomic survey of ADLs that is in progress. The survey characterizes ADLs in terms of (a) the classes of systems they support; (b) the inherent properties of the languages themselves; and (c) the process and technology support they provide to represent, refine, analyze, and build systems from an architecture. Preliminary results allow us to draw conclusions about what constitutes an ADL, and how contemporary ADLs differ from each other.