Date of Original Version




Abstract or Description

Complex software systems require expressive notations for representing their software architectures. Two competing paths have emerged. One is to use a specialized notation for architecture, an architecture description language (ADL). The other is to adapt a general-purpose modeling notation, such as UML. The latter has a number of benefits, including familiarity to developers, close mapping to implementations, and commercial tool support. However, it remains an open question as to how best to use object-oriented notations for architectural description, and, indeed, whether they are sufficiently expressive, as currently defined. In this paper we take a systematic look at these questions, examining the space of possible mappings from ADLs into UML. Specifically, we describe (a) the principal strategies for representing architectural structure in UML; (b) the benefits and limitations of each strategy; and (c) aspects of architectural description that are intrinsically difficult to model in UML using the strategies.





Published In

Science of Computer Programming, 44, 1, 23-49.