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Nicholas Nguyen
Nicholas Nguyen

Software Architecture Design Tool VERIFIED


But when communication tools come to mind, an organization often jumps first to the trusty slide deck. Slide presentations can help convey the overall goal for evolving architectures one project at a time, all while managing the key stakeholders through the deck's glossy storytelling. But slides meet their limits when it comes to mapping the many logical structures that make up cloud infrastructure and its many network topologies, security zones, CI/CD pipelines, and service dependencies.




Software Architecture Design Tool



The "Click to connect and clone" option makes building out repetitive shapes a breeze, and the wide range of ways to import and export make for a great tool for quick drafts or deep design work. Diagrams.net also offers the option to export as a URL, making an image publicly available in an instant.


While widely used for mind mapping and other non-technical architecture designs, Lucidchart has a number of technology-focused architecture diagram options available in its library. A quick search will find everything from database diagramming using UML notation to Kubernetes deployments like the one above with a pre-defined template using GCP cloud architecture.


Gliffy is another modern online solution for architecture diagrams that cater to software engineers. It has similar icons to choose from when compared to Lucidcharts or Diagrams.net, but I was particularly appreciative of its sleek two-dimensional images. It may have one of the more complete libraries for cloud architects with icons for container orchestration systems and specific icons for Azure, GCP, and AWS architecture diagrams to map out your entire hybrid cloud architecture.


Many Mac users would think me remiss if I didn't mention OmniGraffle. It provides an architecture diagramming software that looks and feels native to the operating systems and has taken design seriously since its release in 2001. Adoption may be limited, as it is a macOS-only purchase, but it is an architectural diagramming software well-loved by many.


No matter what you use for a tool, the Kubernetes project provides an unofficial set of icons to create diagrams of Kubernetes architectures like this example example. The icons are available in the Kubernetes community repository. Download them and use them everywhere Kubernetes architecture is designed.


Whether you are an architect of clouds, storage, or applications, images are the way by which you share your ideas and vision. These architectural diagrams of complex systems reflect multiple views of the complex reality of IT infrastructure. All of the tools listed here will give you a great way to start designing images that tell the story of system architecture.


The C4 model (or C4 notation) is a technique created by software architect Simon Brown for modeling the architecture of software systems. Relying on older modeling techniques like Unified Modeling Language (UML) and Entity Relations Diagrams (ERD), C4 breaks a system into architectural building blocks to help explain relationships between things like containers and components.


As a software architect, the future or current state of architecture and design need to be well-documented to align key stakeholders (developers, architects, security team, business team, product team, etc.). Architecture modeling and related tools provide the efficiency to create different views of architecture based on stakeholders needs and choosing the right tool is an essential ingredient for this purpose. This article outlines the standards and top 10 tools you should know for software architecture and design diagrams creation.


The second step is to choose the right architecture and modeling tool in the context of the organization and the associated program context. There are a variety of choices (no prescriptive choice) and these are the top 10 tools you should know for software architecture and design diagrams (added few more to the list):


Microsoft Visio is one of the most popular software to create the diagram. However, it costs money, which may not be of interest to small organizations or startups. The following online tools let you create a layout without installing any software.


Unlike other diagramming tools that produce static images, Terrastruct lets you express the complexity of your software designs. You can layer your diagram by the level of abstraction, as well as define scenarios to describe every edge case.


Gliffy is a fantastic drawing tool, which helps you create multiple types of a diagram like Flow Chart, Org Chart, Venn Diagram, Wireframe, Mindmap, Network design, etc. The user interface is similar to Draw.io. However, I see more shapes in color, which is very handy and looks attractive.


You'll get templates and powerful design tools that make creating plans easy. Add walls, add architectural features such as alcoves, windows, doors, and more easily. You can set the size of any wall simply by typing its dimensions.


You can draw your architecture design using any scale selected from the standard architectural, mechanical engineering and metric scales. The drawing area will show rulers and a grid in real world coordinates to help you design. You'll also be able to change the scale of the drawing mid-drawing. You don't have to worry about picking the wrong scale and having to start over. You can even define your own scale if is not among the standard scales offered.


It also depends on what stage of the development process we hit an impasse due to the hasty decisions taken during the initial design phases. So, before we even touch the code and get our hands dirty, we have to make the underlying architecture right.


One of the best ways to become familiar with software architecture is by designing your own web applications. This will force you to think through all the different aspects of your application, from load balancing, message queueing, stream processing, caching and more.


Software architecture visualization tools are essential to successful application development. Through graphical code rendering, visualization gives developers a common blueprint to build from: a clearly defined breakdown of modules and documentation of software functionality.


Too often, code and documentation are managed through multiple, varied tooling sets. Without a single tool for both code and documentation management, software teams risk wasting time and resources trying to coordinate aspects of the project. They also could create unreliable, inflexible and hard-to-debug code.


When development teams use a single software architecture visualization tool to design and document projects, they gain predictability and assurance. Visualization tools create a coherent overview, and help identify and quickly resolve code issues and development challenges. Moreover, they prevent duplicating development efforts. Architecture visualization can enhance programming skills on the development team, and promote cross-learning between individual programmers and other roles, such as DevOps teams.


The following software architecture visualization tools -- in no particular order -- reflect a range of options, including both paid subscription and open source tooling. They include Enterprise Architect, Microsoft Visio, Lucidchart, Visual Paradigm, Draw.io, Graphviz and Mermaid. Here are the key features of each, as well as pros and cons that software teams should consider.


Developers can extend Enterprise Architect's features through a model-driven approach and Unified Modeling Language (UML) profiles. It also offers a platform for modeling, visualization, and design based on UML. This tool is suitable for large-scale enterprise environments, but it's also useful for individual or private projects.


Part of Lucidchart's appeal rests in its ease-of-use and intuitive functionality. Programmers who work in complex software environments will like the fact that Lucidchart connects with a diverse set of platforms and tooling, such as Atlassian, Salesforce and AWS.


Visual Paradigm enables DevOps teams and individual programmers to efficiently model the overall development process. It provides code engineering features and supports current modeling languages and standards, including Service-oriented architecture Modeling Language and Business Process Modeling Language. Developers can use the template designer to create system documentation or to design class diagrams.


Visual Paradigm automatically ensures that all project versions remain in sync when any classes in the architecture are updated. It also offers support for process analysis and database design. And while the architecture visualization tool works for diverse projects, it offers effective resources for building large-scale systems.


Draw.io's diagramming features are easy to use. However, the free version lacks the robustness of other software architecture visualization tools. While good for individual developers, it may not be the best choice for enterprise use.


Mermaid.js, simply called Mermaid, is based on Javascript, making it similar to other open source modeling tools (like Graphviz). With Mermaid, software teams can simplify documentation and create models that follow Markdown and ASCII-style documentation formats. The tool creates diagrams and supports different output styles while emphasizing Version control for its users.


The Mermaid Live Editor at the Mermaid.js project site generates diagrams and shows the tool's functions and command syntax, before installing. Developers can download and share final creations as image files that have been sketched quickly and efficiently. Keep in mind, however, that even though you can write Mermaid diagrams in a basic text editor, it's much more prudent to use an editor with plugins specifically designed to review output.


Diagramming software architecture provides several benefits to communicating complexity. Clear system designs give engineering teams an enhanced understanding of the architecture and plan for future development whilst identifying potential issues. 041b061a72


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