Towards improving architectural diagram consistency using system descriptors
Communication between practitioners is essential for the system’s quality in the DevOps context. To improve this communication, practitioners often use informal diagrams to represent the components of a system. However, as systems evolve, it is a challenge to synchronize diagrams with production environments consistently. Hence, the inconsistency of architectural diagrams can affect communication between practitioner and their understanding of systems. In this paper, we propose the use of system descriptors to improve deployment diagram consistency. We state two main hypotheses: (1) if an architectural diagram is generated from a valid system descriptor, then the diagram is consistent; (2) if a valid system descriptor is generated from an architectural diagram, then the diagram is consistent. We report a case study to explore our hypotheses. Furthermore, we constructed a system descriptor from the Netflix deployment diagram, and we applied our tool to generate a new architectural diagram. Finally, we compare the original and generated diagrams to evaluate our proposal. Our case study shows all Docker compose description elements can be graphically represented in the generated architectural diagram, and the generated diagram does not present inconsistent aspects of the original diagram. Thus, our preliminary results lead to further evaluation in controlled and empirical experiments to test our hypotheses.
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