The History of Software Architecture: In the Eye of the Practitioner

Henry Muccini, P. Lago, Karthik Vaidyanathan, Francesco Osborne, E.R. Poort

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Software architecture (SA) is celebrating 25 years. This is so if we consider the seminal papers establishing SA as a distinct discipline and scientific publications that have identified cornerstones of both research and practice, like architecture views, architecture description languages, and architecture evaluation. With the pervasive use of cloud provisioning, the dynamic integration of multi-party distributed services, and the steep increase in the digitalization of business and society, making sound design decisions encompasses an increasingly-large and complex problem space. The role of SA is essential as never before, so much so that no organization undertakes `serious' projects without the support of suitable architecture practices. But, how did SA practice evolve in the past 25 years? and What are the challenges ahead? There have been various attempts to summarize the state of research and practice of SA. Still, we miss the practitioners' view on the questions above. To fill this gap, we have first extracted the top-10 topics resulting from the analysis of 5,622 scientific papers. Then, we have used such topics to design an online survey filled out by 57 SA practitioners with 5 to 20+ years of experience. We present the results of the survey with a special focus on the SA topics that SA practitioners perceive, in the past, present and future, as the most impactful. We finally use the results to draw preliminary takeaways.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherVU Technical Report
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2018


  • Software architecture
  • Questionnaire survey
  • Systematic literature review

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