In 2017 I started my PhD in the area of Blockchain-oriented Software Engineering. My focus is on software architectures of systems using blockchain components. Current approaches are either too general (those famous "Do I need a Blockchain?" flowcharts) or too specific (suggesting custom blockchain implementations down to the blocksize and consensus algorithm).
My goal is to create a pragmatic process that helps software engineers and enterprise architects to decide for each element of a system if it would benefit from decentralization (e.g. using blockchain technology) or if it should better be implemented using centralized components (e.g. cloud servers) in order to reduce operational costs. The result is a hybrid decentralized app (DApp) with the right balance between centralized and blockchain components while still fulfilling quality attributes such as data privacy and cost.
Photo composition from aerial shots showing both a summer and winter landscape as a metaphor for hybrid systems
My approach for building decentralized applications is called HYDRA – Hybrid DApp Requirements and Architectural process. The idea is basically to use existing and well-known Software Engineering activities, such as identifying actors and goals with use-case diagrams, model processes with activity and data flow diagrams, but doing this with a certain blockchain focus in mind. The goal is to collect blockchain-relevant information during the requirements engineering phase, e.g. data and value flows within the planned system, personal data to protect or strict business processes to monitor, and use these insights to make informed and structured decisions for the architectural design.
Overview of the HYDRA approach
The approach is work in progress as we are currently evaluating and improving the concept in our research projects BlockcENtive and BIMcontracts. Some parts are explained in more detail in the publications mentioned below and might be presented on this page in the future :)
If you are interested in trying out the HYDRA process for building a commercial product or experimenting with blockchain technology within your company, feel free to contact me and we can discuss possible collaborations, e.g. building prototypes or planning research projects.
Here are some of my publications related to blockchain technology. A complete overview can be found on my DBLP profile.
Engineering Software Architectures of Blockchain-Oriented Applications
, Florian Wessling and Volker Gruhn, IEEE International Conference on Software Architecture Companion (ICSA 2018), Seattle, WA, USA, 10.1109/ICSA-C.2018.00019
How Much Blockchain Do You Need? Towards a Concept for Building Hybrid DApp Architectures
, Florian Wessling, Christopher Ehmke, Marc Hesenius and Volker Gruhn, IEEE/ACM 1st International Workshop on Emerging Trends in Software Engineering for Blockchain (WETSEB 2018), ICSE 2018, 10.1145/3194113.3194121
Proof-of-Property - A Lightweight and Scalable Blockchain Protocol
, Christopher Ehmke, Florian Wessling and Christoph M. Friedrich, IEEE/ACM 1st International Workshop on Emerging Trends in Software Engineering for Blockchain (WETSEB 2018), ICSE 2018, 10.1145/3194113.3194122
A Decentralized Architecture and Simple Consensus Algorithm for Autonomous Agents
, Ole Meyer, Marc Hesenius, Stefan Gries, Florian Wessling and Volker Gruhn, Proceedings of the 12th European Conference on Software Architecture: Companion Proceedings (ECSA 2018), Madrid, Spain, 10.1145/3241403.3241413
Using Blockchain Technology to Ensure Trustful Information Flow Monitoring in CPS
, Stefan Gries, Ole Meyer, Florian Wessling, Marc Hesenius and Volker Gruhn, IEEE International Conference on Software Architecture Companion (ICSA 2019), Hamburg, Germany, 10.1109/ICSA-C.2018.00014
Towards Blockchain Tactics: Building Hybrid Decentralized Software Architectures
, Florian Wessling, Christopher Ehmke, Ole Meyer and Volker Gruhn, IEEE International Conference on Software Architecture Companion (ICSA 2019), Hamburg, Germany, 10.1109/ICSA-C.2019.00048
Properties of Decentralized Consensus Technology – Why not every Blockchain is a Blockchain
, Florian Blum, Christopher Ehmke and Volker Gruhn, Published on Research Gate, 10.13140/RG.2.2.35506.45765
Building Hybrid DApps using Blockchain Tactics - The Meta-Transaction Example, Florian Blum, Benedikt Severin, Michael Hettmer, Philipp Hückinghaus and Volker Gruhn, IEEE International Conference on Blockchain and Cryptocurrency (ICBC 2020), Toronto, Canada