The analysis of architectural languages for the needs of practitioners
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Architectural languages (ALs) have attracted much attention as the modeling notations for specifying and reasoning about important design decisions. In this study, 124 different existing ALs have been analyzed for a set of requirements that are crucial for practitioners. These requirements are concerned with language definition, language features, and tool support. Some of the important findings obtained from the analysis are as follows: (1) performance is the top popular nonfunctional requirement supported by ALs; (2) no ALs offer both textual and visual notation sets, one of which could be used independently; (3) process algebras are the top preferred formal method by formal ALs; (4) the physical, deployment, and operational viewpoints are rarely supported by ALs; (5) the top preferred extension mechanism of the extensible ALs is XML for syntax extension; (6) Java is the top preferred programming language in generating software code; (7) the exhaustive model checking is the top preferred automated analysis method; (8) the logic-based formal techniques are so popular in specifying system requirements; (9) among the analysis properties considered, consistency is the top supported property for the automated checking; and (10) most ALs do not provide any discussion platform (eg, forums). Hence, these findings can be used by the new AL developers in addressing the needs of practitioners and bridging the gaps in the field. Practitioners can also use the findings to find out about the existing ALs and compare them to choose the one(s) that suits their needs best.