Architecture Patterns?

Do software products follow patterns? Why is it important to think about them?


Human beings have a knack for finding patterns. Given clouds we tend to find shapes and faces in them, we connect the stars with imaginary lines to define autonomic shapes etc. Seeing patterns is a natural function of the human brain intended to help us learn.

Software products are no different.

Design problems arise during the software development process when there is a need to make decisions about the software architecture, design, and implementation.

Examples of design problems may include

  • Choosing the appropriate software components and technologies,
  • Selecting the most suitable algorithms and data structures,
  • Optimising performance
  • Ensuring maintainability and scalability
  • Balancing competing requirements.

Unfortunately, these discussions are extremely common and difficult to address given that software systems are in a constant state of evolution. The subsequent decisions have to be made by balancing trade-offs between different factors, such as performance, scalability, security, maintainability, and usability.

Patterns to the Rescue

Fortunately, for us, these design concerns have become repetitive over time and there are well established constructs that either solve them or provide a conversation ground for. These are called Architecture Patterns.

In a nutshell, An architecture patters is a general, reusable solution to a recurring design concern in software architecture. It provides a standard template for solving a particular architectural concern, and it can be applied across different systems and contexts.

Architecture patterns are usually higher-level than Design patterns (Future Post, most likely), which focus on individual software components and their interactions. They help to ensure that software systems are designed with consistency, maintainability, and scalability in mind.

By using architecture patterns, software architects can avoid reinventing the wheel for common design challenges and instead rely on proven solutions.

Some examples of architecture patterns include:

  • Layered architecture
  • Client-server architecture
  • Microservices architecture
  • Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture
  • Event-driven architecture

Layered Architecture

also known as n-tier architecture, is a widely used architecture pattern in software engineering. It divides a software system into multiple layers, where each layer represents a different level of abstraction or functionality. The layers are stacked on top of each other, and each layer only communicates with the adjacent layers, making it easy to modify or replace individual layers without affecting the entire system. This architecture pattern provides a clear separation of concerns and facilitates the implementation of complex systems. The most common layers are the presentation layer, business logic layer, and data storage layer.

Client-Server Architecture:

is a distributed architecture pattern where a client (user interface) interacts with a server to perform a specific function. The client sends requests to the server, and the server processes the requests and sends the results back to the client. This architecture pattern is commonly used in web applications and other network-based systems, where the client can be a web browser or a mobile app, and the server can be a web server or a database server. The main advantage of client-server architecture is its scalability and flexibility, as it allows multiple clients to access the same server concurrently.

Microservices Architecture

is a modern architecture pattern that structures a software system as a collection of small, independent services, each with its own functionality and data storage. Each service communicates with other services using APIs and protocols, making it easy to modify or replace individual services without affecting the entire system. Microservices architecture promotes flexibility, scalability, and resilience in software systems, making it ideal for large, complex applications with changing requirements.

Model-View-Controller (MVC) Architecture

pattern for building user interfaces, web applications, and other interactive systems. It divides the application into three components: the model, the view, and the controller. The model represents the application's data and business logic, the view represents the user interface, and the controller manages the communication between the model and the view. This architecture pattern promotes separation of concerns and modularity, making it easy to modify or replace individual components without affecting the entire system.

Event-Driven Architecture

is a distributed architecture pattern where software components communicate with each other through events, such as messages, signals, or notifications. The components are decoupled and only communicate with each other through events, which are generated and consumed asynchronously. This architecture pattern promotes scalability, flexibility, and responsiveness in software systems, making it ideal for complex, event-driven systems such as real-time applications, streaming services, and messaging systems.

How to Decide ?

Selecting the appropriate architecture pattern for a software system depends on a variety of factors, including the system's requirements, constraints, and expected behaviours. Here are some steps you can follow to help you choose the best architecture pattern for your project:

Requirements and constraints

Understanding the system's requirements is essential in selecting an appropriate architecture pattern. Identify the system's functional requirements, such as the features, use cases, and workflows, as well as non-functional requirements such as performance, scalability, security, and maintainability.

Domain and problem complexity

Consider the complexity of the problem domain and the overall architecture. For example, a microservices architecture may be suitable for a large, complex, and distributed system, while a simpler monolithic architecture might be more suitable for a small project.

Team expertise

Evaluate your team's experience and familiarity with the potential architecture patterns. A pattern that your team is already comfortable with may lead to faster development and fewer mistakes.

Integration with existing systems

Consider how the new system will integrate with other systems and components, and select a pattern that will facilitate smooth integration

Scalability and performance

Evaluate how well the architecture pattern will support the expected load, growth, and performance requirements of the system.


Ensure the selected pattern allows for easy and thorough testing of the system's components.


Architecture patterns are general, reusable solutions to recurring design problems at the system level. They provide a blueprint for organising and structuring software systems and their components, such as modules, layers, and services. Architecture patterns provide guidance on how to design and implement software systems with specific characteristics and qualities, such as scalability, performance, security, and maintainability.