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Software technologies have become critical for the development and operations of all advanced products and services. Software is now the crucial component implementing the functionality in many products and services. Strong software development capabilities have thus become strategic: we need software engineering technologies for developing software more effectively. As software is becoming more pervasive and a lot of activities depend on it, software engineering technologies must also meet higher demands on the quality of the produced software. One growing concern is the ability to produce flexible software addressing ever increasing needs, in a context where software-based products and services have to evolve, specialise, and inter-connect to each others.
Mastering complexity is an important issue underpinning most of the above concerns. This is currently addressed in new approaches to software system design like Model Driven Architecture , which is striving at developing large software systems by defining and refining models, and Aspect-Oriented Software Development , which is researching techniques for modularising cross-cutting concerns in software design, like security and distribution.
Nowadays, systems tend no longer to be built from scratch but are rather constructed by combining and adapting existing systems, capitalising on previous work. However, this leads to an increased complexity and increase of costs in creating, deploying, managing and further evolving such systems.
As a consequence, we need more and more to have techniques for specifying what those systems are doing and to have architecture tools for making sure that the behaviour of the composed systems meet the requirements and expectations of the users.
New techniques based on properties like self-monitoring, self-healing and eventually self-adaptation, are promising ways to address the challenges of the future by improving flexibility, robustness, dependability, etc.
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