Building Software That Speaks Business: DDD and Ports & Adapters Architectures

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Building Software That Speaks Business: DDD and Ports & Adapters Architectures

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Building Software That Speaks Business: DDD and Ports & Adapters Architectures

Read More

Software development often struggles with a disconnect between the technical aspects and the business domain. Domain-driven design (DDD) and Ports & Adapters (P&A) are two architectural styles that bridge this gap by emphasizing a shared understanding between developers and business stakeholders. This article discusses both approaches, highlighting their advantages and disadvantages to help you choose the right fit for your project.

Domain-Driven Design

DDD is a philosophy and a set of techniques designed to create software that reflects the core concepts and processes of a specific business domain. The core concept of DDD is a shared vocabulary used by both developers and domain experts. This fosters better communication and ensures the technical implementation accurately represents the business logic.

DDD employs several core concepts:

  • Bounded Contexts: The complex domain is divided into smaller, well-defined subdomains called bounded contexts. Each context has its own model focused on a specific aspect of the business.

  • Entities: These are objects with a distinct identity that can be uniquely distinguished. Entities encapsulate behaviour related to their state changes.

  • Value Objects: They represent immutable data with no identity. They describe properties without independent behaviour.

  • Aggregates: A group of entities and value objects that are treated as a single unit for consistency purposes.

Advantages of DDD:

  • Reduced Complexity: Bounded contexts help manage complexity by breaking down the domain into smaller, more manageable units.

  • Improved Communication: The ubiquitous language fosters better collaboration between developers and domain experts.

  • Maintainable Code: The focus on clear domain concepts leads to code that is easier to understand and maintain.

  • Flexibility: DDD allows for easier adaptation to evolving business needs by focusing on bounded contexts.

Disadvantages of DDD:

  • Learning Curve: DDD concepts require additional learning and investment for both developers and stakeholders.

  • Over-Engineering: Focusing on detailed domain models can lead to over-engineering in simpler projects.

  • Complexity in Distributed Systems: Implementing DDD concepts across distributed environments can add complexity.

Ports & Adapters: Decoupling the Domain Logic

The Ports & Adapters (P&A) architectural style complements DDD by providing a framework for decoupling the core domain logic from external dependencies like databases, user interfaces, or external services.

Here's how it works:

  • Ports: These are interfaces that define the domain logic's functionalities. They represent what the domain needs from external systems without specifying how it's delivered.

  • Adapters: These are concrete implementations of the ports that handle the interaction with external systems. They adapt the domain's requests to the specific protocols and formats of the external systems.

Advantages of P&A:

  • Testability: By isolating the domain logic, P&A allows for easier unit testing of the core functionalities.

  • Maintainability: Changes to external systems require modifications only to the adapters, keeping the domain logic untouched.

  • Flexibility: P&A allows for easy switching of external dependencies by swapping adapters without impacting the core domain.

Disadvantages of P&A:

  • Increased Complexity: Introducing ports and adapters adds an additional layer of abstraction to the architecture.

  • Over-Engineering: Similar to DDD, P&A might introduce unnecessary complexity in simpler projects.

DDD and P&A

DDD and P&A are often used in conjunction. DDD provides a framework for understanding and modelling the domain, while P&A helps in decoupling the domain logic for easier testing, maintenance, and adaptation.

When to consider DDD and P&A:

  • Complex business domains with evolving requirements.

  • Projects requiring high maintainability and testability.

  • Systems with potential for future integration with other systems.

Alternatives to Consider:

  • Layered Architecture: A traditional approach focusing on separating concerns like presentation, business logic, and data access. While simpler, it might struggle with tight coupling between layers in complex domains.

  • Event-Driven Architecture: Relies on asynchronous communication through events. Can be a good fit for systems with high volumes of data or distributed environments.


DDD and P&A are powerful architectural styles that empower developers to build software that is closely aligned with the business domain. They promote collaboration with stakeholders, improve maintainability, and enable flexible systems. However, their complexity might not be necessary for all projects. Evaluate your project's specific needs and choose the approach that best balances domain focus with maintainability and future growth.

Janith Dissanayake


IT Powered Business Solutions

We build professional software and AI solutions for complex business problems.

IT Powered Business Solutions

We build professional software and AI solutions for complex business problems.