How important is to architect your system before writing a single line of code?



How important is to architect your system before writing a single line of code?

Have you ever cooked? I am sure you would have tried that at least once in your lifetime. Your experience with cooking must have taught you that it needs a lot of concentration and preparations. You need to make sure you have all the ingredients and components in place. Now think about Coding. Aren’t cooking and coding similar? If you look for an expected output, you need to dutifully follow a set of instructions, and there’s no room for error.

Any project that needs software development goes through a number of phases- concept, flow diagrams, design, development, and testing. However, there is one crucial point amongst these that can make or break the success of the project, and that’s Architecture Planning. Architecture Planning involves all those processes that your front and back-end tasks should collaborate on during all phases of software development. This ensures stability and scalability of your project from the start.

Architecture vs Design

Quite often Architecture of a system is confused with Design. Design is the structure of your software, that consists of elements like problem domain, consistency of coding processes and so on. Architecture, however, involves more of rules and requirements. Planning your system architecture involves adhering to a set of constraints specific to the system, like decisions related to structuring of code, and anything that requires something specific to be triggered.

Designing the system comes a step prior to Architecture of the system. The purpose of Design is to get an understanding of how to structure the system and what will it consist of. In common language, Design is your body, and Architecture your skeleton.

Why should you architect your system?

Decently architected systems always have strategic advantage over common issues of the software development cycle. That apart, a proper architecture of the system is cheaper than a patched together system when it comes to dealing with changes and upgrades. The consistency that comes along with Architecture allows managers to pull or push resources from/to different sections of the project with minimal training.

A solid architecture has proved to reduce the cost of development in the long run, ensuring your system doesn’t crack at seams when you add the next set of requirements.

When you architect a system, you draw a solution to the problem in a specific context. The solution answers to a real need and solves the problem in hand. It helps you understand constraints, and must-haves, and acts as a trade off for concerns like resilience, security, data integrity, throughput, scalability, performance, and of course the costs involved.

Jumping straight into coding without assessing the Architecture of your system is pretty much like building a house without a blueprint. Making changes during Iteration phase not only saves money, but also time and effort.

A software application begins from a rough idea. Through brainstorming, life is blown into the idea. Sketching the existing framework of system and proposed changes helps the creator to add fuel to the idea, and work without too many glitches.

Creating an architecture, as you would know doesn’t happen overnight. Because you cannot “refactor” the Architecture, you need to give it ample time and commitment, or else it would need to be rewritten from scratch.

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