Chapter 6. Building Evolvable Architectures

Until now, we’ve addressed the three primary aspects of evolutionary architecture—fitness functions, incremental change, and appropriate coupling—separately. Now we have enough context to tie them together.

Many of the concepts we discussed aren’t new ideas, but rather viewed through a new lens. For example, testing has existed for years, but not with the fitness function emphasis on architectural verification. Continuous Delivery defined the idea of deployment pipelines. Evolutionary architecture shows architects the real utility of that capability.

Many organizations pursue Continuous Delivery practices as a way to increase engineering efficiency for software development, a worthy goal in itself. However, we’re taking the next step, using those capabilities to create something more sophisticated—architectures that evolve with the real world.

So how can developers take advantage of these techniques on projects, both existing and new?


Architects can operationalize these techniques for building an evolutionary architecture in three steps:

1. Identify Dimensions Affected by Evolution

First, architects must identify which dimensions of the architecture they want to protect as it evolves. This always includes technical architecture, and usually things like data design, security, scalability, and the other “-ilities” architects have deemed important. This must involve other interested teams within the organization, including business, ...

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