I am back
At the OOP 2015 conference which ended last friday I was in charge of the architecture track. In my own talks I covered internal & external quality as welll as ways to ruin a project by (wrong) architecting. The latter tutorial introduces failure patterns for harming software development from the perspective of architects. Unfortunately, there are uncountable ways for failure, but only few for success.
A software system may be considered as a living organism. If the organism is not robust enough, even small illnesses may cause large damage. Architecture is basically the infrastructure necessary for metabolism, neural transmission or structural integrity (such as the bones). If parts are damaged, e.g., organs, we may either put in new or artificial organs, or maybe only repair a small part.
The software organism is created in an evolutionary process with biological patterns and is subject to design erosion during its whole lifecycle. Obviously, it is important to check the organism regularly to identify potential health problems as soon as possible. With Architecture Tomographs these checks can be fast and intense. In some cases design erosion or cancer dissemination is high enough to make the system impossible to repair. In these situations we may better create a new organism. However, for less harmful kinds of design erosion we may refactor using patterns. In this context, external quality is every property we can observe from outside such as speed, reliability, ... Internal qualities comprise heart rate, blood pressure, insuline level, bone strength, ....
Of course, the model has its limitations, but for me it turned out to be really useful.
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