The software architecture of a program or computing system is the structure or structures of the system, which comprise software components, the externally visible properties of those components, and the relationships between them. The term also refers to documentation of a system’s software architecture. Documenting software architecture facilitates communication between stakeholders, documents early decisions about high-level design, and allows reuse of design components and patterns between projects.
As a discipline with no clear rules on the right way to build a system, designing software architecture is still a mix of art and science. The “art” aspect of software architecture is because a commercial software system supports some aspect of a business or a mission. How a system supports key business drivers is described via scenarios as nonfunctional requirements of a system, also known as quality attributes, determine how a system will behave. Every system is unique due to the nature of the business drivers it supports, as such the degree of quality attributes exhibited by a system such as fault-tolerance, backward compatibility, extensibility, reliability, maintainability, availability, security, usability, and such other – utilities will vary with each implementation.
To bring a software architecture user’s perspective into the software architecture, it can be said that software architecture gives the direction to take steps and do the tasks involved in each such user’s speciality area and interest e. g. the stake holders of software systems, the software developer, the software system operational support group, the software maintenance specialists, the tester and also the business end user. In this sense software architecture is really the amalgamation of the multiple perspectives a system always embodies. The fact that those several different perspectives can be put together into a software architecture stands as the vindication of the need and justification of creation of software architecture before the software development in a project attains maturity.