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

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

News from the Engineering Frontier

I have been to the Canary Islands for a month. Since then I have been totally busy in two projects. One of them is dealing with medical particle therapy solutions, while the other one consists of setting up a certification program for software architects within Siemens. I am in charge of this program. Last week I was giving a seminar on software architecture with 12 guys from Siemens. I had a really great time and hope the same holds for the participants.

It is time to post more on this blog. Yes, I feel guilty for being so lazy. But you know, I am in love with Work-Life-Balance. To be honest, I needed a timeout from all software engineering business for a while, instead focusing on sports activities and digital photography. Now, I am really motivated to enter the software architecture bandwagon again. Last monday, we (= Markus Voelter,Stefan Tilkov, Christian Weyer, and myself) started with a new podcast series on software architecture. This will be in german with some company sponsors. I will keep you informed about the details when things mature. I am wondering whether a software architecture podcast in english would make sense.

In the medical particle therapy project we have just defined a possible partitioning between system architecture and software architecture. Seems to be a major source of misunderstandings in many projects. Same for differentiating problem and solution domain. Engineers seem to be addicted to the solution domain drug. Instead of thinking hard about the problem domain we always try entering safe ground, in particular by addressing solutions very early. The problem is: how can we define a solution when we don't understand the problem? On the other side, bubbles don't crash, as we also know. We could endlessly define UML diagrams without ever dealing with implementation. As Bertrand once said: all you need is code. Thus, we need to ensure the feasability of our solution very early. How can we satisfy both goals? Needless to say, agile development is the right answer.

Of course, there are a lot of additional issues when addressing the boundary between system and software architecture. This will be subject to upcoming posts, All feedback and comments as always highly appreciated


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