Coupling ontology with reference architectures to facilitate the instantiation process of software system architectures

Al-Bayati, ZJF 2019, Coupling ontology with reference architectures to facilitate the instantiation process of software system architectures , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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Abstract

A reference architecture can be defined as a generic architecture for a set of information systems that is used as a basis to a software system architecture. It provides the foundation for the design of concrete architectures in terms of architectural design guidelines and architectural elements. In addition, it can be used by many software developers and architects to design software system architectures’ instances that best fit their customers’ requirements.

Software system architectures play an essential role in defining the achievement of software systems. Therefore, it can be derived efficiently from a well-structured reference architecture. There is a lack of a well-defined methodology that instantiates the knowledge of the reference architecture to a clear and customised software system architecture. Consequently, the instantiation process of the software system architecture from the reference architecture is a difficult task because the reference architecture includes a huge amount of knowledge. This knowledge is not organised and not structured. In addition to that, there is no standard terminology used to describe the knowledge of the reference architecture.

To tackle this issue, a mixed method research approach has been adopted in this research. In order to achieve the aim and objectives of the research, a qualitative approach, utilising multiple case studies, has been adopted to collect the qualitative data, and a quantitative approach, utilising survey questionnaires, has been adopted to collect the quantitative data.

This thesis aims at facilitating the instantiation process of the software system architecture from the reference architecture by using an ontology. The ontology has been used as a tool to present the artefacts of a reference architecture in an organised and structured way.

General vocabularies have been defined based on understanding the domain and the literature and by using multiple case studies from the literature. These vocabularies have been utilised as a basis to construct an ontological model. The ontological model will be utilised to organise and structure the artefacts of the reference architecture. It aims at providing vocabularies to software architects and developers to reduce the misunderstanding between them. Furthermore, to enable clear communication between software architects and developers and to achieve the unique representation of concepts by avoiding redundancies.

User study has been adopted to evaluate the usability of the proposed methodology in term of the simplicity of the instantiation process of the software system architecture from the reference architecture. The results achieved in the evaluation study offered an evidence that the ontological model can positively affect the development of software system architectures. In addition to that, it can reduce the development time. Based on the final evaluation results, it can be concluded that our research has been successful in introducing the proposed methodology as a new idea to reduce complexity in the development process.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Al-Yasiri, A (Supervisor) and Meziane, F (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > School of Computing, Science and Engineering
Depositing User: Zaid Jafer Al-Bayati
Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2019 12:41
Last Modified: 03 Jan 2020 02:30
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/51215

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