Archive for November 2008
I’ve spent the last two days in an Architectural Design Session during which we naturally used the whiteboard. Looking around the room now I can see a variety of diagrams – all of which were incredibly useful at the time they were drawn. Most of them still make sense. But I know that if I came back in to the room this time next year I would struggle to understand them. Which leads me to wonder what the half life of a diagram is. I wonder if more formal diagrams half a longer half life, but take more effort to create. If this is right, it suggests that whiteboard diagrams need to be converted into more formal representation if they are sufficiently important. An alternative would be a lighter weight set of informal diagramming techniques. This may be time for me to read The Back of a Napkin – although I figure for that to be effective we all need to read it.
With a new week underway, I thought I should post my thoughts about Oredev 2008 last week. There was a real mix – of technology, people and sessions – that helped to create a great atmosphere. It was a large conference, but it never felt impersonal. The hospitality of our hosts (special thanks to the guys at Dotway) cannot be overstated. All added up to an enjoyable and useful week. Like Holmesy I find that Glenn’s post and Tim’s post match my reaction pretty well. I’d also suggest you take a look at this video for our view of Oredev.
At Oredev last week, Holmesy and I had an interesting chat with Charles Nutter about Ruby, JRuby, IronRuby and, well, all things Ruby. Marc’s posted some video of it here. One of the topics we discussed after the bit we filmed is when you should use a dynamic language versus a static language. I’ve heard a variety of opinions on this topic before, so I was interested to hear Charles’ suggestion that you should build your frameworks in a static language and your applications in a dynamic language – at least I think that’s what he said. Great to get different thoughts and perspectives on this topic.
Earlier today, Marc and I spoke at Oredev about Software plus Services and what it means to architecture. Marc’s take on the session is here. Of course, we couldn’t have done a session like this without mentioning Windows Azure, but we also mentioned .NET, LiveMesh and UX technologies like Silverlight. Going through the preparation for the session and giving the session itself reminded us just how exciting a time this is to be an architect. The choice and flexibility offered by Software plus Services means that we really can find what we call “Goldilocks Architecture” : the right architecture for the current problem in the current context. It also means having sufficient agility to be able to achieve such an architecture without a bespoke effort for every single project – think federation, building blocks and the like. It means having sufficient architectural agility to being able to modify the architecture when the problem or the context changes. Any thoughts you have on the topics we discussed or the session itself would be great to hear.
For those of you who who would like to learn more about some of the tech we mentioned, the PDC site is a pretty good starting place.
Here’s the deck we presented (minus a couple of extremely impressive animations):
Big Front Up Design – The use of an aggressive, confrontational style in design and architectural discussions.
In the posts I should have written earlier category, I’m heading to Malmo next week for Oredev. Marc and I were invited to speak on the architecture track, we gratefully accepted and details of our session are here. If you haven’t already looked at the schedule for this year’s conference, I’d suggest taking a peek. I’m looking forward to learning a lot. Let me know if you’re going to be there, too.
The video from the TechNet Event that was held on October 1st at which the National Rail Enquiries Proof of Concept was shown is now online. You can watch it here – click the National Rail Enquiries link beneath the video player. On my screen the video is a little small to get the full UI experience, but the commentary from Jason Webb and Stuart Harris is well worth it. While you’re there, check out some of the other videos. And if you’d like a second opinion, Mark Roddis shares his thoughts here and here (right at the end of this post) about the presentation.