Henderson, Peter and De Silva, Nishadi
System architecture induces document architecture.
In, The 20th International Conference on Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering (SEKE 2008), San Francisco,
01 - 03 Jul 2008.
The documentation of an architecture is as important as the architecture itself. Tasked with communicating the structure and behaviour of a system and its constituent components to various stakeholders, the documentation is not trivial to produce. It becomes even harder in open, modular systems where components can be replaced and reused in each progressive build. How should documenta-tion for such systems be produced and how can it be made to easily evolve along with the system it describes? We propose that there is a close mapping between the system architecture and its documentation. We describe a rela-tional model for the architecture of open systems, paying close attention to the property that certain components can be reused or replaced. We then use ideas from storytelling and a discourse theory called Rhetorical Structure Theory (RST) to propose a narrative-based approach to architec-ture documentation; giving both a generic narrative tem-plate for component descriptions and a RST-based rela-tional model for the document architecture. We show how the two models (system and documentation) map onto each other and use this mapping to demonstrate how document fragments can be stored, automatically extracted and col-lated to closely reflect the system’s architecture.
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