Software Architecture Patterns
Have you ever thought about how large-scale complex applications that get developed don’t make a mess while functioning?
Well, to build a high-performing web app, the project manager and the business person choose the most suitable software architecture pattern that provides all the required quality attributes and functionalities.
But what does software architecture mean? What are the types of software architecture patterns? And how to choose the correct one?
What is the Software Architecture Pattern?
Software architecture acts as the blueprint for software development. It can be an outline through which one can express and define the structural schema of the software system and how elements will interact with one another.
At the time of software development, developers encounter similar issues while writing source code for any project throughout their careers. So, an architectural pattern becomes a reusable solution for a common set of problems in software development, addressing issues like high availability, performance, and risk minimization.
Although an architectural pattern is portrayed as a software system image, it is not software architecture where it is more like a concept that solves and describes some cohesive software elements. Hence, architectural patterns are often defined as, “well described and readily available”.
Types of Software Architecture Patterns
Having a good architecture pattern lays the foundation for the way a developer will have to deal with scalability, reliability, fault tolerance, and performance issues in the future.
However, with so many architectural patterns out there, it can be difficult to dig each to find the one. To help, we have enlisted the most popular software architecture pattern choices in the market.
- Layered (N-tier) pattern
- Model-view-controller pattern
- Client-server pattern
- Event-driven pattern
- Pipe and Filter Pattern
- Microkernel pattern
- Service Oriented Architecture
- Micro Services architecture
- Peer-to-Peer Pattern
- Cloud-native architecture
Layered (N-tier) pattern
This pattern can be used to structure programs that can be decomposed into groups of subtasks, each of which is at a particular level of abstraction. In the layered architecture, components get organized into horizontal layers where every layer has to perform a certain role in the application. Although there’s no specification or limits on the total number of layers that should be present in the pattern, a layered architecture generally has four layers which are presentation, business, persistence, and database.
While the testability and ease of development rating are relatively high in layered patterns, agility, scalability, deployment, and performance can be quite difficult and time-consuming.
Model-view-controller (MVC) pattern
This pattern, also known as MVC pattern, divides an interactive application in to 3 parts as,
Model — contains the core functionality and data
View — displays the information to the user (more than one view may be defined)
Controller — handles the input from the user
This is done to separate internal representations of information from the ways information is presented to, and accepted from, the user. It decouples components and allows efficient code reuse.
This design patter is highly used in web application development where many frameworks such as Django, Rails, Laravel are already build with MVC patter.
The two main components of the client-server pattern are the client (user) and the server (service provider). The server layer here pays attention to requests from the client’s components to process the requests and send responses back. Both servers and client components are connected by request/response connectors where the server component may provide services to multiple client components.
To process all the requests from different clients at the same time, the server uses a master-slave pattern. So, when requests are received by the Master, it creates different slaves to complete the requests individually, and resume the request listening. The server can be further categorized into stateless or stateful.
It is a software development architecture pattern that focuses on data describing “events” or “actions”. Events in simple terms refer to actions, i.e. when something happens in the application system, an event has occurred. These events can be anything from an inventory update to an attempted security breach.
Event-Driven architecture is a design model connecting distributed systems for efficient communication. It makes it possible to transfer and receive information in real time. Besides, the concept of EDA works using the publish/subscribe or pub/sub communication model.
The pub/sub model is a flexible pattern for messaging enabling distributed components of the software to asynchronously interact with each other.
Pipe and Filter Pattern
This pattern can be used to structure systems which produce and process a stream of data. Each processing step is enclosed within a filter component. Data to be processed is passed through pipes. These pipes can be used for buffering or for synchronization purposes. This pattern can be used to structure systems which produce and process a stream of data. Each processing step is enclosed within a filter component. Data to be processed is passed through pipes. These pipes can be used for buffering or for synchronization purposes
While a single filter can produce data or take data from one or more ports to run concurrently, a pipe only has a single source for input and output to preserve data items and avoid altering data that’s passing through.
The microkernel is also known as a plug-in architecture pattern because of how its functionalities and abilities are added to the core operating system. It is best suited for software that has numerous integration points for external elements. It consists of two components, a core system and a plug-in. While the core includes special rules, business logic, or complex conditional processing, plugins are independent, stand-alone components that consist of custom codes, specialized processing, and additional features.
In short, the core and plugins of the microkernel architecture provide flexibility, isolation, and extensibility of custom processing logic and features.
Service Oriented Architecture
A Service-Oriented Architecture or SOA is a design pattern which is designed to build distributed systems that deliver services to other applications through the protocol. It is only a concept and not limited to any programming language or platform. Every SOA service consists of the code and data integrations needed to run a discrete, complete function for a business. It also supports loose coupling between services, so a developer can call the service with little to no idea of how it was integrated into the system.
Micro Services architecture
Microservices architecture (often shortened to microservices) refers to an architectural style for developing applications. Microservices allow a large application to be separated into smaller independent parts, with each part having its own realm of responsibility. Within a microservices architecture, each microservice is a single service built to accommodate an application feature and handle discrete tasks. Each microservice communicates with other services through simple interfaces to solve business problems.
In the microservices pattern, services communicate with each other through well-defined APIs. What makes microservices popular is the agility, smaller code base, scalability, data isolation, and fault isolation that come with it.
In simple terms, in a p2p architecture pattern, each node or workstation has the same responsibilities and capabilities. But, not all peers are equal. While edge peers only consume from the network, super peers have more resources to contribute to the network. In simple terms, in a p2p architecture pattern, each node or workstation has the same responsibilities and capabilities. But, not all peers are equal. While edge peers only consume from the network, super peers have more resources to contribute to the network.
A cloud-native architecture is one in which an application has been designed specifically for cloud deployment. Cloud native architecture is a design methodology that utilizes cloud services such as EC2, S3, Lambda from AWS, etc to allow dynamic and agile application development techniques that take a modular approach to building, running, and updating software through a suite of cloud-based microservices versus a monolithic application infrastructure.
Developing capabilities such as horizontal scalability and fault tolerance is tough to do from scratch, but these features are a key component of containerization platforms such as Docker; this is why many companies will move to a containerized platform as part of any migration to the cloud, and why the adoption of a container-based architecture is considered synonymous with being cloud-native.