Hitchhiker's Guide to Software Architecture and Everything Else - by Michael Stal

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Back in Town

If you wondered why I didn't post anything in the last weeks. End of February I had some nice days in La Palma. Then I went to the Netherlands. First to Amsterdam as a tourist. And after that I completed a personal underground project. In the last years I had secretly worked on my Ph.D. thesis with Prof. Dr. Jan Bosch being my esteemed promotor (Rjiksuniversiteit Groningen). The reading committee consisted of Prof. Doug Schmdt (Vanderbilt University), Prof. Hasselbring (University of Oldenburg) and Prof Engels (University of Paderborn). If you got curious: In the dissertation I addressed the issue of analyzing and understanding software architecture using patterns. As the core domain I investigated remoting middleware and SOA. This is basically what I did since the early Nineties when we wrote the first volume in the POSA book series. That time I had been the only expert (at least to my knowledge) who worked on that topic. In the dissertation I could prove that pattern systems help express domains such as remoting middleware and paradigms such as SOA idiomatically. This way, you can also leverage patterns to evolve these domains and paradigms as well as define best practices for application developers. Thus, patterns are not only applicable for forward engineering but also for backward engineering. In the RuG Groningen, it is allowed to provide a Ph.D. thesis that contains several articles which can be co-authored by other people if you can prove that the promovendus had contributed most (and significant) parts in the majority of the articles. All those articles must have been accepted by respected magazines (in my case IEEE, ACM, Springer) or conferences (in my case PLoP, EuroPLoP) which means they already participated in a review or shepherding process. This kind of approach is helpful for someone like me who must investigate and write a dissertation in addition to his regular work.
If you like to read the Ph.D., then obtain a PDF version from the university library. Since the defense ceremony was very impressing (in an old-fashioned and nice setting), you can also look at my flickr photo set. By the way, Groningen is a lovely town in the Netherlands. You should definitely visit it whenever you are in the area. In addition, all Dutch people I met are extremely nice. I am glad that everything is done although I am already missing the great co-operation with Jan. Now I am ready again for future blog postings.