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Software architectures are considered the key means to manage the complexity of large-scale systems from the high abstraction levels and system-wide perspectives. The traditional software design methodologies and the emerging architecture design methods still fall short of coping with the architectural complexity and difficulty in practice. The recent research on the architecture design decisions mostly focuses on its representation, providing little support for the architecture design task itself. In this paper we propose a decision-oriented architecture design approach ABC/DD, based on the decision-abstraction and issue-decomposition principles specific to the architecture level design of software. The approach models software architecture from the perspective of design decisions, and accomplishes the architecture design from eliciting architecturally significant design issues to exploiting and making decisions on the solutions for these issues. We illustrate the application of the approach with two real-life large-scale software-intensive projects, showing that the decision-oriented approach accommodates the characteristics and demands of the architecture level, and facilitates the design of architecture and the capture of the essential decisions for large complex systems.
Date of Conference: 2-4 June 2009