Architectural tactics are the building blocks of software architecture. They describe solutions for addressing specific quality concerns, and are prevalent across many software systems. Once a decision is made to utilize a tactic, the developer must generate a concrete plan for implementing the tactic in the code. Unfortunately, this is a non-trivial task even for experienced developers. Developers often resort to using search engines, crowd-sourcing websites, or discussion forums to find sample code snippets to implement a tactic. A fundamental problem of finding implementation for architectural patterns/tactics is the mismatch between the high-level intent reflected in the descriptions of these patterns ,and low-level implementation details of them. To reduce this mismatch, we created a novel Tactic Search Engine called ArchEngine (ARCHitecture search ENGINE). ArchEngine can replace this manual Internet-based search process and help developers to reuse proper architectural knowledge and accurately implement tactics and patterns from a wide range of open source systems. ArchEngine helps developers find implementation examples of tactic for a given technical context. It uses information retrieval and program analysis techniques to retrieve applications that implement these design concepts. Furthermore, the search engine lists the code snippets where the patterns/tactics are located. Our case study with 21 professional software developers shows that ArchEngine is more effective than other search engines (e.g. SourceForge and Koders) in helping programmers to quickly find implementations of architectural tactics/patterns.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Search engines--Programming; Software architecture

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Software Engineering (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Software Engineering (GCCIS)


Mehdi Mirakhorli

Advisor/Committee Member

Meiyappan Nagappan

Advisor/Committee Member

Stephanie Ludi


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at TK5105.884 .M84 2016


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