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It is argued that architecture comprehension and regression testing of a software system are the most expensive maintenance activities. This is mainly due to the fact that architectural choices are either not explicit, at every stage of the software development process, or not preserved from one stage to another. In this paper, we present an Architectural Constraint Language (ACL) as a means to formally describe architectural choices at all the stages. This language is based on the UMLs Object Constraint Language and on a set of MOF-compliant metamodels. We also present a prototype which validates the proposed approach. It allows the evaluation of ACL expressions at two stages and ensures, by using a transformation mechanism, that the constraints stated at one stage are subsequently preserved.
Date of Conference: 2005