Let’s compare the development of programs with the process of building a bridge. The analysis of the requirements will be similar to the choice of places where the bridge will begin and end, as well as determining the type of load that it must withstand. Further, the bridge architect must decide whether the bridge will be a suspension, cantilever, or some other type that meets the requirements. In other words – determine the architecture of the bridge. Software developers are faced with a similar choice.
Architecture Selection Goals
A clear understanding and a wise choice of software architecture is very important for all applications and is mandatory when a large number of people are involved in the mobile app development process.
The reason for this is the need to split the entire application into parts (modules) with their subsequent assembly. The choice of architecture provides the required modularity. Developers entrusted with creating the architecture are usually the most experienced IT engineers in the development team.
There may be several suitable architectures for a particular software development project, from which you must choose the best. It is usually difficult to satisfy all requirements since an architecture can fulfill one of the requirements and fail to fulfill the other. For this reason, requirements must be prioritized. Consider this example of a list of the main architecture goals:
- extension: facilitate the addition of new properties
- changes: facilitate change of requirements.
- simplicity: ease of understanding; ease of implementation.
- efficiency: achieving a high speed of execution and (or) compilation;
- small size: object code and (or) source code.
Extensibility and Simplicity
Extensibility (or scalability) defines the extent to which architecture should support the addition of new features to an application. Most often, the better the architecture is adapted to expand, the more complex the structure is, and the more time it takes to develop.
Scalability usually requires the introduction of higher abstractions in the process. For example, developing a video game, we may wish that the architecture will be supported not only by this game but by any video game in general. Versatility offers many advantages, but its implementation is time-consuming. One of the important tasks when choosing the degree of universality is to determine the class of possible extensions.
Change-oriented development has other goals, even though it implies applying the same design techniques as for scalability. In this case, we want to design the architecture in such a way that it allows changing requirements.
A simple architecture that allows for expansion and change is rare, and it takes a lot of effort to create one. However, creating an enterprise mobile application, remember that simplicity is the goal of design in all circumstances.
3-Tier Architecture for Mobile App Development
A three-level architecture represents the division of app functionality into segments, as in multi-layer architecture. The difference is that these segments can be located on different servers. Such separation of software components allows optimizing the load on both the network and the operational power of the device.
3-tier architecture has three levels:
- Presentation: static or dynamically generated content displayed on the user interface.
- Logic: includes data preparation level for dynamically generated content and application server level.
- Data: responsible for the presentation of data and persistence (corresponds to the entity set in the analytical model)
Isolation of levels from each other allows (with the correct deployment of the architecture) quick and simple means to reconfigure the system in case of failures or during the update of one of the levels. Compared with client-server or file-server architecture, the following advantages of a three-level architecture can be distinguished:
- high security
- high reliability
- low requirements for network speed
- low requirements for productivity and technical characteristics (of the mobile phone)
- cheaper to build functionality and update software.
Why Choose 3-Tier Architecture
There are lots of advantageous features that the three-level architecture has and which favorably distinguish it from other architecture types. For instance, its IP app server can be launched in one or several instances on one or several devices, which allows using the operational power as efficiently and safely as the IP owner wishes.
Also, the traffic between the application server and the DBMS can be large; however, it is always the traffic on the local network, and their bandwidth is quite large and cheap. In an extreme case, you can always run a joint venture and a DBMS on the same device, which will automatically reduce network traffic to zero. If you are developing a mobile app on a tight budget, a three-level scheme may be a perfect choice.
Three-level architecture has extensive scalability. One same system can work both on one stand-alone computer/mobile device, running the DBMS and programs on it, and on a network consisting of the only factor, hundreds and thousands of parties preventing infinite scalability is the requirement to maintain a single database. In addition, unlike the 2.5-layer scheme, there is no need to change the whole system when you want to make a change or an update – just install a new joint venture with the required function.
As a rule, when developing standard apps, several different architectural patterns are used. It is especially recommended to combine architectural styles when building enterprise applications, as this makes it possible to effectively separate functionality when applying a multilayer architectural template. This makes it possible to separate business logic from data access logic.
Three or more tier application deployments may be dictated by company security requirements. In this case, the presentation level can be placed in the border network located between the external and internal network of the company.
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