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Fundamentals of Software Architecture by Neal Ford, Mark Richards

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Chapter 3. Modularity

First, we want to untangle some common terms used and overused in discussions about architecture surrounding modularity and provide definitions for use throughout the book.

95% of the words [about software architecture] are spent extolling the benefits of ‘modularity’ and that little, if anything, is said about how to achieve it.

Glenford J. Myers (1978)

Different platforms offer different reuse mechanisms for code, but all support some way of grouping related code together into modules. While this concept is universal in software architecture, it has proven slippery to define. A casual Internet search yields dozens of definitions, with no consistency (and some contradictions). As you can see from the quote above, this isn’t a new problem. However, because no recognized definition exists, we must jump into the fray and provide our own definitions, for the sake of consistency throughout the book.

Understanding modularity and it’s many incarnations in the development platform of choice is critical for architects. Many of the tools we have to analyze architecture (such as metrics, fitness functions, and visualizations) rely on these modularity concepts. Modularity is an organizing principle. If an architect designs a system without paying attention to how the pieces wire together, they end up creating a system that presents myriad difficulties. To use a physics analogy, software systems model complex systems, which tend towards entropy (or disorder). Energy ...

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