I attended the inaugural Australian Architecture Forum on Friday and I must say it was brilliant. What they were able to pack into a single day was breath taking, from arriving at 8am and catching up with old friends and colleagues through to that well earned beer at 6pm it was non stop information. The sessions were mixed between keynote style presentation, breakout presentations and round table discussion sessions which added to what you could get out of the day.
The Keynote was by Dr Donald Ferguson: The key message delivered here was around Web 2.0 and the ability for an end user to assemble an application. The Web 2.0 concept is still built on SOA but as a technology it has been commercialised eg orchestration = mash-up. End result of this is that the number of applications in an enterprise is going to grow and these application are generally going to be changed more frequently than the current application.
One other point that Don made was the redundancy of technology caused by the lack of integration. A laptop has a lot of redundancy, if you have a phone you have a CPU, if you have an iPod you have a hard disk, if you have a GPS you have a screen why can’t we only have one of each?
First Breakout Session was by Andrew Dingley from Object Consulting, on an architecture process he developed at St George bank. He took the use cases and then defined them as services, he then then defining the technical services that made up those functional services as sequence diagrams. Visually these worked, he used Enterprise Architect and functionally it gave good traceability from the requirement through to the design.
The First Round Table Session was on Dynamic Languages in the Enterprise: When we got to the meaty end of the discussion around how does a ruby application live in an enterprise environment teh story fell down. Integrating ruby application with other systems and services doesn’t work at the moment, you need to use something like JRuby to be able to access the java service that provide integration (I assume you could use IronRuby as well).
The Second Round Table Session was about Software Factories: This was an interesting session as it gave me a chance to validate my understanding of what a software factory is. A software factory seems to be two things: it encapsulates the business (domain) and also the enterprise architecture within a set of guidance. The software factory can if you are fairly standardised on technology be something like the Microsoft Guidance Automation Toolkit or to the other end it would be a set of documentation. Domain Specific Languages seem to be an important mechanism to use, if you are building a factory.
The Lunchtime Presentation was from the IASA: This was an interesting presentation introducing the International Association of Software Architects (IASA), probably the best thing to do is to quote from their web site:
The association is committed to improving the quality of the IT architecture industry by developing and delivering standards, education programs and developing accreditation programs and services that optimize the development of architecture profession. IASA membership consists of approximately 5,000 members located in over 40 countries.
Breakout Session Two was on legacy code: Unfortunately this was a very low level presentation looking at code examples and the like, would have been good to have addressed the topic at the architecture level. I think you could find most of the content in the book Working Effectively with Legacy Code. One interesting point was that Legacy Code is code without automated tests.
Round Table Three was on the Role of the Architect in Agile Projects: I have made a comment on this topic in a previous post on How to Predict the Future, I think this position still stands. The message seemed to be that architect should to the minimal design, suggestion was to time box. The architect should then roll up his sleeves and get in and code and design work should be at the keyboard in code or on the whiteboard. An interesting analogy was that designing in agile is like designing a garden, it is living and you can easily change it, don’t know how my enterprise architects are going to respond to that one.
The Final Round Table was on Security: Rocky Heckman from Microsoft is well know for his expertise on security and this was no exception. The key at the architecture level is Threat Modeling and Microsoft have a good tool in the Threat Analysis & Modeling Tool. An interesting bit of trivia is that Microsoft Security worked featured in Popular Science 10 Worse Jobs.
Phew, writing about the days has exhausted me again. I hope you can glean from this how great the day was, it was definitely time well spent. I hope they run this again as planned because I will be there with bells on.