Books: Building a better foundation
- By Dan Romanchik
It is no secret that the percentage of app development projects that are successful is regrettably low. In 1999, the Standish Group reported that only 26% of all projects were successful, meaning that they were completed on time, on budget and included all the features specified.
The authors of "Software Architect Bootcamp" blame this lack of success on the dearth of sound thinking about software architecture. Without a good architectural foundation, projects lack the support they need and tend toward failure. The authors take companies to task for not thinking enough about their software architecture and for misusing the concept of software architecture.
One of the ways companies misuse the concept of software architecture is by using it as a marketing tool rather than as a technical blueprint. What is needed, Malveau and Mowbray note, is a more in-depth exploration of the technical issues that will give developers guidance.
The first part of the book explains different architectural models and how the paradigms are changing. Among the topics covered: OO architectures and the distributed computing paradigm.
The book also gives some good advice on the role of the software architect and their role in a project. In Chapter Six, for example, the authors list the "Seven Habits of Highly Successful Software Architects." One of the best bits of advice in this section is to "Keep an eye on the prize." Simply stated, this counsels software architects not to be distracted by small technical issues. Instead, they must stay focused on the big picture, and not allow the project to stray from its original vision.
Software architecture is a big topic, and a single book cannot cover it all. "Software Architect Bootcamp" gives it a good try, however, and does a great job of breaking down the problems and introducing the concepts of software architecture. If you have ambitions of being a software architect, this is a great place to start.
"Software Architect Bootcamp, 2nd Edition" by Raphael Malveau and Thomas J. Mowbray, Ph.D. ISBN 0-13-141227-2. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ., 2004.
Dan Romanchik is an engineering manager turned writer and Web developer. His current passion is amateur radio. You can read his amateur radio blog at www.blurty.com/~kb6nu.