Tim Murphy's .NET Software Architecture Blog

Architecture

Frankentechtures

Monsters are an exciting thing to see in a movie. They are not so thrilling in your application architecture. I recently came up with (or at least I think I came up with) a term for architectures that are put together with mismatching parts and in ways the software gods never intended: Frankenstein Architectures. A co-worker then evolved that to Frankentechture. Of course the designer of a framework or an application platform can’t envision every possible use of their creation. How do you know then ......

Everything Isn’t Fixed With Another Layer Of Abstraction

Many developers say with a sarcastic tone “You can fix any problem with another layer of abstraction”. The question is if there is any truth to this. While abstraction can increase reuse, flexibility and testability it comes with a cost of complexity in readability and maintainability. If a developer has to spend a week learning how all the pieces of an application are put together there better be a payoff. Always ask yourself “what do we gain” when adding a new factory or dependency injection? Is ......

Register For The Sept 2012 Chicago IT Architects Group

We are getting rolling again. This month I will be discussing Building Smart Phone Applications For The Enterprise. This is an area that I have been working with in my normal day-to-day work and think that more of us will be running across in the near future. Be sure to register and join us. Register here del.icio.us Tags: Mobile Development,Chicago Information Technology Architects Group,CITAG,Windows Phone,iPhone,Android ......

How Software Architecture Is Like Photography

I have found over the years that many of the IT people that I work with have photography as a hobby. Recently I stopped and realized how similar the skill of a good architect are similar to those used in photography. Below I explore what I see as common traits. First and most important to both endeavours is the ability to see both the big picture and the details. Photographers observer both the individual subject such as a bird and the surroundings that it is interacting with. A beautiful bird alone ......

What Is A Software Architect’s Job Today?

It was 2001 when a project manager first put my job title as architect on a statement of work. A lot has changed over the last twelve years. The concepts around what an architect is has evolved. In the early days I would have said that they just rebranded the role of the system analyst. Now we have a multitude of architect titles: application, solution, IT, data, enterprise. Whatever the title the goals are the same. An architect takes the business needs and maps them to the solutions that are needed ......

October 2012 Chicago IT Architects Registration Open

This month Tom Benton will be presenting The Platform and Architecture of Windows Store apps in Windows 8. This is a subject that was requested by attendees over the last few months. Tom has been presenting this topic in Redmond recently and this should be a great discussion. As usual we are interested in hearing what topics that community would like to see presented. Leave any ideas in the comments of this post. If you have a topic you are interested in presenting please contact me through this ......

Yet Another “Why Waterfall Doesn’t Work” Post

Lately I have been plunged back into an extreme waterfall project and it is eating away at my soul. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t really believe in a soul and I have never done a text book agile project, but the longer I’m on this project the more I feel like I’m in an infinite loop. Document. Review. Document. Review. At some point we may do some coding. The biggest problem with waterfall projects is that you can always add more detail to design documents. I have actually seen some documentation which ......

What Software Architects Can Learn From Baseball Teams

My friend Larry Calrkin did a whole series on Architecture by Baseball, but after going to a recent White Sox game I got to thinking about the how baseball mirrors my experience. For me it boils down to specialization, team work and leadership. Every team member has their specialty. Infielders have great reactions and throwing accuracy. Outfielders can cover distance quickly and throw long distances. There are starting pitchers who have great control and endurance and closers who throw nasty pitches ......

May 2013 Chicago IT Architects Group Registration Open

Who hasn’t heard of SharePoint? Since I first started working with it around 2001 it has become the hammer answer for every nail problem. As a product it has grown and evolved over the years and hopefully most of us how learned how best to apply it. This month Michael Blumenthal will address the issues around when to use and when not to use SharePoint 2013 and well as what the latest features are. Be sure to come and join us and bring your questions about the product and implementing it in your environment. ......

April 2013 Chicago IT Architects Group Recap

Amongst all the rain and cold weather this spring in the Chicago area we continue to try to bring great software architecture focused content to you. The weather is starting to get warmer so I want to thank those who came out to join us. This month Norman Murrin has returned and this time he was covering Django CMS. While the concept of a CMS is common Django isn’t necessarily a platform that people are familiar with which gave this topic an appeal of novelty. Norm was able to give real life examples ......

April 2013 Chicago IT Architects Group Meeting

The train keeps rolling. We have made it to spring. Baseball opening day has come and gone and we are starting to get into the heart of conference season in the IT community. Here at the Chicago IT Architects Group we are continuing to roll on as well. This month Norman Murrin of PSC Group is back to present Django CMS and how it can be used to implement flexible and dynamic web sites. Be sure to sign up and join us. Register here. del.icio.us Tags: Django,CMS,Norman Murrin,Chicago Information Technology ......

March 2013 Chicago IT Architects Group Wrap-up

The group got to know their neighbors a lot better this month with only half the normal room size and a pretty good turn out. Given that, I would really like to say thank you to everyone who came out on this cold evening before the first day of spring. Eric D. Boyd gave a great interactive presentation on a variety of aspects around Windows Azure. With his experience he was machine-gunned with questions and handled it like a champ. Everyone was so interested in the subject that people stayed until ......

February 2013 Chicago IT Architect Group Summary

2013 continues to roll on. This month our meeting landed on one of the coldest day of this winter. We were lucky enough to have our co-founder Carl Franklin presenting on Google Cloud Platform. We are seeing more requests all the time presentations on clouds development and Carl delivered. His history is traditionally in the Microsoft platform, but lately he has moved to Google technologies. I think this gives him a great architectural viewpoint and the ability to give real life comparisons. Even ......

Learn A New Programming Language Every Year?

I heard someone mention the other day that they have forgotten more programming languages than most developers have learned and it made me remember all the suggestions to learn a new language every year. I have probably even made this suggestion before. As I thought about it I realized that it isn’t important for it to be a language that your learn, it is just important that you learn something new. Experiment with a new platform, study data theory, join the enemy’s camp and understand their point ......

First Chicago IT Architects Meeting Of 2013

It seems we all survived the end of the world. Welcome to 2013. The Chicago IT Architects Group is kicking off the year with our first meeting on January 15th. Shankar Ramanchandran will be discussing NoSQL In Cloudy Skies. Be sure to come out and join us and get to know the other people in the Chicago area that work in the IT architecture space. Please register at the link below so that we can get you through building security and order enough food. See you there. http://citag.eventbrite.com del.icio.us ......

November 2012 Chicago IT Architects Group Meeting Recap

So the year is coming to an end. A hearty few came out two days before Thanksgiving to discuss adopting agile in the enterprise. While Norm Murrin claimed to be nervous about talking in front of a group your wouldn’t have known by his presentation. He really made a topic that has always been hard to relate very personal. This lead to some great discussion. I came out of looking for ways to investigate agile further. His presentation can be found here. This was our last meeting for the year. We are ......

Building Enterprise Smartphone App – Part 4: Application Development Considerations

This is the final part in a series of posts based on a talk I gave recently at the Chicago Information Technology Architects Group. Feel free to leave feedback. Application Development Considerations Now we get to the actual building of your solutions. What are the skills and resources that will be needed in order to develop a smartphone application in the enterprise? Language Knowledge One of the first things you need to consider when you are deciding which platform language do you either have the ......

Building Enterprise Smartphone App – Part 3: Key Concerns

This is part 3 in a series of posts based on a talk I gave recently at the Chicago Information Technology Architects Group. Feel free to leave feedback. Keys Concerns Of Smartphones In The Enterprise These are the factors that you need to be aware of and address in order to build successful enterprise smartphone applications. Most of them have nothing to do with the application itself as you will see here. Managing Devices Managing devices is a factor that is going to effect how much your company ......

Chicago IT Architect Group August 2011 Recap

We had a full house this month with a lot of interest in the SOLID principle. SOLID is one of those topics that should be basic study in all of our schools. Of course along with a large crowd comes a lot of discussion. There were debates as to how much each individual principle has merit and how to properly apply it. This is the lively discussion that really makes me enjoy organizing these presentations. Visit Michael Kappel’s web site here. del.icio.us Tags: Chicago Information Technology Architects ......

Building Enterprise Smartphone App – Part 2: Platforms and Features

This is part 2 in a series of posts based on a talk I gave recently at the Chicago Information Technology Architects Group. Feel free to leave feedback. In the previous post I discussed what reasons a company might have for creating a smartphone application. In this installment I will cover some of history and state of the different platforms as well as features that can be leveraged for building enterprise smartphone applications. Platforms Before you start choosing a platform to develop your solutions ......

March 2011 Chicago Information Technology Architects Group Meeting

How did we get to March already? My how time flies when you are having fun. We had a spirited discussion on Enterprise Architecture at the February meeting. Well lets keep the fun rolling. The hottest technology right now is anything to do with mobile computing. We had an arm wrestling match to decide who was going to present on Mobile Architecture. Come see the winner (actually the guy who had time to put the presentation together) on March 15th at the Chicago Information Technology Architects meeting. ......

Building Enterprise Smartphone App – Part 1: Why Build Smart Phone Apps

This is part 1 in a series of post based on a talk I gave recently at the Chicago Information Technology Architects Group. Feel free to leave feedback. Intro Most of us already carry smartphones. We play games on them. We keep up with what is going on with our friends and our favorite teams. We take pictures of our kids at their events. But the question is if that is all they are good for. Many companies have aspects of their business that lend themselves to being performed by mobile devices. Some ......

November 2012 Chicago IT Architects Group Meeting Announcement

The year is quickly coming to an end. This is the most exciting part of the year with technology manufacturers in overdrive trying to release as many products for Christmas as possible. Our group is trying to do our part to bring order to the madness with one last presentation for the year. Norman Murrin will be speaking on November 20th on Adopting Agile Processes in the Enterprise. Be sure to join us by registering at the link below. Register del.icio.us Tags: Chicago Information Technology Architects ......

October 2012 Chicago IT Architects Group Meeting Recap

It seemed very ironic that the day we have a presentation on the architecture of building applications for Windows 8 the Surface tablet is opened for pre-order. Tom Benton started the evening enlightening the attendees on the user experience for those who had not seen it yet. He even passed around his table from last year’s Build conference for everyone to play with. This was followed with a tour of the capabilities and structures that make up a Windows Store App on Windows 8. Taking it to its conclusion, ......

Chicago IT Architects Group August Summary

We’re back! Last night we had our first meeting in several months. Carl Franklin presented on Google Platform As A Service: AppEngine. As I spend most of my time in the Microsoft arena it was interesting to see another take on cloud services. This was also enhanced by the fact that Carl had spent a lot of time doing Microsoft platform development prior to his current stint with the Google products. He was able to compare and contrast the to environments which is very helpful as we go to make recommendations ......

Creating Corporate Windows Phone Applications

Most developers write Windows Phone applications for their own gratification and their own wallets. While most of the time I would put myself in the same camp, I am also a consultant. This means that I have corporate clients who want corporate solutions. I recently got a request for a system rebuild that includes a Windows Phone component. This brought up the questions of what are the important aspects to consider when building for this situation. Let’s break it down in to the points that are important ......

February 2011 Chicago Information Technology Architects Group Meeting

We are back! After the holidays and a false start in January we are ready to get 2011 rolling. We are going to kick things off with Chris Geraghty giving us an overview of Enterpirse Architecture. He will be covering EA methods, its role in technology and business change as well as a number of tips for implementing EA. We are looking at mobile architectures for a future topic. If there are any topics you would like to see or would like to present feel free to contact me. Please join us by registering ......

3 Reasons You Need To Know Something About Every Technology

I make my living as a consultant and a general technologist. I credit my success to the fact that I have never been afraid to pick up any product, language or platform needed to get the job done. While Microsoft technologies I my mainstay, I have done work on mainframe and UNIX platforms and have worked with a wide variety of database engines. Each one has it’s use and most times it is less expensive to find a way to communicate with an existing system than to replace it. So what are the main benefits ......

TechEd 2012: A Little Cloud And Too Little Windows Phone

It is Monday afternoon and the last couple of sessions have been disappointing. I started out in the Nokia: Learning to Tile session. I guess I should have read the summary more closely because it turned out to be more of a Nokia/WP7 history and sales pitch. “I’m outa here!” I made a quick venue change and now we are learning about Private Cloud Architecture. The topic and the material were very informative. The speaker even had a couple of quotable statements. The first quote was “You can trust ......

Why Do Computer Scientists Need To Understand Software Developers

I saw a tweet asking why do we educate computer scientists to get developers and compared this to structural engineers and stone masons. I believe this is a good question with a flawed premise. The flaw is in thinking that a developer’s job is as simple and limited in variations as that of a mason. Almost every problem attacked by a developer requires that they bend their tools and materials in a new way. This requires that everyone on a team communicate and at least on some level understand each ......

January 2012 Chicago Information Technology Architects Group Presentation

This post is really late considering that there is less than a week before the event. Fortunately this is because 2012 is starting out with tons of work to be done. Not a bad problem to have. This month we will have Ruben Rotteveel discussing Advancements in Messaging Technologies. Be sure to register to joins us. http://citag.eventbrite.com del.icio.us Tags: Chicago Information Technology Architects Group,CITAG,Ruben Rotteveel,Messaging ......

Discovering Your Project

The discovery phase of any project is both exciting and critical to the project’s success. There are several key points that you need to keep in mind as you navigate this process. The first thing you need to understand is who the players in the project are and what their motivations are for the project. Leaving out a key stakeholder in the resulting product is one of the easiest ways to doom your project to fail. The better the quality of the input you have at this early phase the better chance you ......

Leveraging Microsoft Patterns and Practices

I want to bring the Patterns and Practices group to the attention of those who have not already been exposed. I have been a fan of the P&P team since they came out with the original Application Blocks which eventually turned into the Enterprise Library. Their main purpose is to assemble guidance and tools that make it easier for all of us to build amazing solutions. I would simply suggest you spend some time exploring the information and code libraries that they have produced. Free resources ......

Change Control Processes

The evolution of an IT department is always something interesting to observe. The is especially the case when they move from small departmental IT groups to corporate level oversight. It is usually painful for the people involved to give-up their ability to modify servers on the fly and conform to rigorous testing and documentation. Having the keys to your environments taken away can really feel like getting stabbed in the back especially when the new deployment team is still working out there processes. ......

October 2011 Chicago Information Technology Architecture Meeting

It is the last quarter of the year. So we are trying to get as much content to you as possible. This month Joe Hummel will be presenting on functional programming. While this is not a new concept I believe it is one that most people have not been exposed to. I am really excited about having Joe bring us this topic. Please come out and join us. Register here. del.icio.us Tags: CITAG,Chicago Information Technology Architects Group,Functional Programming,Joe Hummel ......

September 2011 Chicago IT Arch Group Wrap-up

Matt Hidinger gave a high energy presentation around Onion Architecture for this month’s meeting. It was great seeing the history of this architectural approach including its connection to Jeffrey Palermo. Of course drinking from a fire hose takes a while to digest. Get the code and slides here. Please join us for our next meeting and get involved in the Chicago Information Architecture community. del.icio.us Tags: CITAG,Chicago Information Technology Architects Group,Jeffrey Palermo,Matt Hidinger,Onion ......

September 2011 Chicago Information Technology Architects Group Meeting

We are getting rolling for the fall at the Chicago IT Architects Group. This month we will have Matt Hidinger presenting on the topic of Onion Architecture. Please join us as we discuss the decomposition of architectures by registering below. Register here del.icio.us Tags: Chicago Information Technology Architects Group,CITAG,Matt Hidinger ......

Integrating Cloud Application In Your Enterprise

More and more companies are turning to companies who host cloud applications such as SalesForce. I may be mistaken, but I thought we used to call these ASPs (Application Service Providers). Whatever we call them they are the latest trend in IT services especially in larger corporations. So what does this trend mean for those of us who design, build and integrate systems? It means a new set of challenges, considerations and opportunities. The more you know about these areas going into a project the ......

August 2011 Chicago Information Technology Architects Group Meeting

Our summer break is over and with the dog days of August we are getting back to setting up presentations of interest to Chicago area IT Architects. This month we will have Michael Kappel presenting on a topic we have been trying to get organized for a while. SOLID is an acronym for five object oriented design and development principles that everyone should know. Michael is going to give a platform agnostic discussion of these five key principles. Please join us by registering below. Register here ......

Architecture Blooming In Chicago

For the last three years the Chicago Information Technology Architects Group has been the only community in the Chicago area for Software Architects, Enterprise Architects, Infrastructure Architects and Database Architects. Suddenly this is changing. The first change was a special interest group created by member of the Chicago .NET Users Group (CNUG). This has just started in the last couple of months. Now it was just announced that IASA is finally launching a Chicago chapter. This is something ......

March 2011 Chicago IT Arch Group Recap

This month’s meeting was outstanding. We had a record turnout for John Sprunger’s presentation on mobile architectures. I guess that is what happens when you put up a presentation on the most popular topic in technology. I invite everyone to join us for next month’s event. And while I love to see new faces it is always great to have people come back and continue the conversation. Here are some resources from last night’s presentation. Presentation slides Whitepaper Case study Stay tuned for information ......

November 2010 Chicago Information Architects Group Meeting

We are coming to the close of another year. This year has brought a lot of great speakers and topics to our group (as well as a little name change). So better way to close out the year than to have Shankar Ramachandran introduce us to NoSQL and its architectural considerations. Please join us on November 16th and come meet your peers. Register here del.icio.us Tags: CITAG,Chicago Information Technology Architects Group,NoSQL ......

October 2010 Chicago Information Technology Architects Group Wrap Up

Earlier this week Mike Vogt and I presented an introduction to design patterns. While I think that all developers should understand design patterns I don’t believe you can be a good architect unless you a firm grasp of patterns at at the application, system and enterprise levels. We had some fun with the subject by alternating between .NET and Java examples. I think if we had hidden certain parts of the IDE we could have challenged the attendees to tell us which example was in C# and which was in ......

Review: Head First Design Patterns

Design patterns are an important part of understanding the best practices of software development. Head First Design Patterns is another great book in the Head First series which takes a more story based teaching approach. As you get past the format of the book there are specific things that I like about the subject matter coverage. Rather than just laying out the name, problem and solution for each of the original patterns, they compare and contrast them. In some cases they even pull in patterns ......

New User Group Name and October Presentation

For reasons that I will not discuss here the Chicago Architects Group has changed its name to the Chicago Information Technology Architects Group. It is the same great group of people discussing topics that are of interest to IT architects of all flavors. Whether your responsibilities are at an enterprise, solution or application level there is something here for you. For October the topic will be design patterns presented by Mike Vogt and myself. Mike has a Java background so we will be alternating ......

July 2010 Chicago Architects Group Wrap Up

I would like to thank Dave Leininger for coming out and giving us a wonderful presentation on Business Intelligence. We had a good turn out and lively discussion. I definitely had a few preconceived notions of of BI smashed. The main one was when he said that most BI projects don’t use a data warehouse. On top of the information about BI we had some great discussion about general architecture topics. One of these was what is available from different vendors on how to make architecture decisions. ......

Chicago Architects Group – Document Generation Architectures

Thank you to everyone who came out to the Chicago Architects Group presentation last night. It seemed like the weather has a way of keeping a large portion of the people who registered from making the meeting. There was some lively networking going on before and after the meeting. I enjoyed the questions that people had during the presentation. It helped to bring out some of the challenges with dealing with the OOXML and ODF standards from an architecture perspective. I have posted the Slides and ......

May 2010 Chicago Architects Group Wrap Up

Scott Seely did a wonderful job this evening of explaining how cloud services fit into our application architectures and specifically how Azure is organized. He covered everything from Table Storage to code name Dallas (OData). The discussion continued well beyond the end of the meeting which was attended by members of all sectors of IT and multiple platforms. Be sure to join us in the upcoming months as we cover the following topics: June – Document Generation Architecture July – Architecting a ......

May 2010 Chicago Architects Group Meeting

The Chicago Architects Group will be holding its next meeting on May 18th. Please come and join us and get involved in our architect community. Register Presenter: Scott Seely Topic: Azure For Architects Location: TechNexus 200 S. Wacker Dr., Suite 1500 Room A/B Chicago, IL 60606 Time: 5:30 - Doors open at 5:00 del.icio.us Tags: Chicago Architects Group,Azure,Scott Seely ......

April 2010 Chicago Architects Group Meeting

The Chicago Architects Group will be holding its next meeting on April 20th. Please come and join us and get involved in our architect community. Register Presenter: Matt Hidinger Topic: Onion Architecture Location: Illinois Technology Association 200 S. Wacker Dr., Suite 1500 Room A/B Chicago, IL 60606 Time: 5:30 - Doors open at 5:00 del.icio.us Tags: Chicago Architects Group,Data Integration Architecture,Mike Vogt ......

March 2010 Chicago Architects Group Wrap Up

I would like to thank everyone who came out to last night’s event and especially thank Mike Vogt for the presentation. I think at first everyone glassed over since very few of us spend a lot of time with Integration Architecture and most of us live more in the application architecture space. Learning about subject like BPEL and BPMN was refreshing. The discussion after Mike’s talk was lively and I think that everyone came away with a good idea of areas they might want to know more about. People stuck ......

Architects – Can’t We All Be Friends

Lately I have had some run-ins with structural architects who have warned me that calling myself or our user group Architects is against the law in Illinois. I still need to sort out if this is actually the case or not, but it makes me ask a number of questions. Clearly the law was not intended to protect the word Architect. It was meant to protect the profession and protect the public from people who were practicing architecture without proper training. We wouldn’t want buildings and bridges falling ......

March 2010 Chicago Architects Group Meeting

The Chicago Architects Group will be holding its next meeting on March 16th. Please come and join us and get involved in our architect community. Register Presenter: Mike Vogt Topic: Data Integration Architecture Location: Illinois Technology Association 200 S. Wacker Dr., Suite 1500 Room A/B Chicago, IL 60606 Time: 5:30 - Doors open at 5:00 del.icio.us Tags: Chicago Architects Group,Data Integration Architecture,Mike Vogt ......

February 2010 Chicago Architects Group – Wrap Up

Cloud services such as Azure from Microsoft and Amazon’s Cloud Services have replaced Web 2.0 as the latest buzz word. It was enlightening to see how companies, including my own, are using these services. Chris did a wonderful job of explaining the evolution of the Amazon services and some of the alternatives that existing. It was also great to get a speaker in front of the group who isn’t from the Microsoft camp. Thanks to those who came out after meeting us at the MSDN Cloud Computing and Azure ......

CAG January 2010 Wrap-up

We had a great turnout this evening and some wonderful discussion. I really enjoyed presenting as well as seeing a lot of people I haven’t seen in a long time. At the same time there were a lot of new faces. Some of the input from tonight will definitely go to improving this talk if I present it again in the future. If anyone has comments feel free to leave them here. The next talk I am going to work on is Document Generation Frameworks. This will mainly be around Office Open XML, but it will include ......

Future CAG Topics

In an effort to better serve the Chicago architecture community here is a preview of upcoming topics. January – Dependency Injection and Inversion of Control Containers February – Amazon Cloud Service March – Data Integration Architecture Future: Document Generation Architecture Technorati Tags: Chicago Architects Group,CAG,architecture,user group,PSC Group ......

nPlus1.org ArcSummit Wrap-up

On December 7th I presented at the nPlus1.org ArcSummit. My talk was on Dependency Injection and Inversion of Control containers. Thank you to all those who attended. When we were done Chris Woodruff and I were asked to record an episode of The Thirsty Developer. It was a great experience seeing how these shows are put together and being able to just sit down and talk with Dave Bost, Clark Sell and Chris Woodruff. I’ll post again when the episode comes out. The slides for the presentation are available ......

New Architecture Guide From P&P

I try not to be too much of a reposter, but I got a little nostalgic on this one. I remember when the first version of this tome came out and I got a free copy when I visited Redmond for the Guided Design conference. You may not agree with everything you find in here, but it is definitely worth the read to see what Microsoft thinks architecture is. Technorati Tags: Patterns and Practices,architecture,appl... architecture guidance,microsoft ......

Speaking at the nPlus1.org ArcSummit December 7th

I am branching out. nPlus1.org is having an ArcSummit event and needed someone to speak on Dependency Injection. Sign me up. If you are interested in this or the other topics to be presented please join us. There is more information about the event and a registration link below. https://www.clicktoattend.c... About nPlus1.org nPlus1.org is a site dedicated to helping Architects, aspiring Architects and Lead Developers learn, connect and contribute. On this site you’ll have ......

October 2009 CAG Meeting

The Chicago Architects Group will be holding its next meeting on October 29th. Please come and join us and get involved in our architect community. Register Presenter: David Dickinson Topic: Agile Development Principles and their Practical Application Location: Illinois Technology Association 200 S. Wacker Dr., Suite 1500 Room A Chicago, IL 60606 Time: 6:15 - Doors open at 6:00 ......

May Chicago Architects Group Meeting

The Chicago Architects Group will be holding its next meeting on May 28th. Please come and join us and get involved in our architect community. Register Presenter: Sean Blanton Topic: Trends in Continuous Integration and Software Delivery Location: Microsoft - Downers Grove 3025 Highland Pkwy Suite 300 Downers Grove, IL 60515-5506 Time: 6:00 - Doors open at 5:30 ......

February Chicago Architects Group Meeting

The Chicago Architects Group will be holding its next meeting on February 26th. Please come and join us and get involved in our architect community. Register Presenter: Paddy Srinivasan Topic: Cloud Computing Location: Microsoft - Downers Grove 3025 Highland Pkwy Suite 300 Downers Grove, IL 60515-5506 Time: 6:00 - Doors open at 5:30 ......

Chicago Architect Group January Meeting Summary

Angela Binkowski covered Visual Studio 2010 focusing on the architecture tools at the most recent CAG meeting. This was a great evening with a lot of lively discussion. This would have been a great event for people who don’t think that Microsoft listens. As Angela was doing here presentation she was taking notes to bring back to the product team. Some of the highlights that I found interesting included: The Layer Diagram is a component or context diagram of sorts. The nice thing about this document, ......

Chicago Architects Group January 2009 Meeting

The Chicago Architects Group is kicking off a new year with it’s first meeting of the year on January 29th. Please come and join us and get involved in our architect community. Register Presenter: Angela Binkowski Topic: Visual Studio Team Systems 2010: Architect Edition Tools Preview Location: Illinois Technology Assocation 200 S. Wacker Dr., Suite 1500 Room A Chicago, IL 60606 Time: 5:30 - Doors open at 5:15 ......

November Chicago Architects Group Meeting

Please join us for the upcoming Chicago Architects Group meeting. The discussions during the meetings are usually lively and great for exchanging ideas. Please register at the link at the end of the information below. Hope to see you there. Chicago Architects Group - Thurs, November 20th Microsoft Corporation 3025 Highland Pkwy. Suite 300 Downers Grove, Il 60515 Presentation : Presentation at 6:00pm, doors open at 5:30pm The Business Process Workflow Model, a case study by Howard Edidin Register ......

October Chicago Architects Group Summary

Last night was the fifth meeting of the Chicago Architects Group at the Illinois Technical Association in downtown Chicago. Eduardo Goncalves of Daugherty Business Solutions lead a lively discussion on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Architects. Some of the highlights included discussions about the finding business champions, keeping up with technology and evaluating trade-offs when a project is under the gun. Stay tuned for details of the up-coming November presentation ......

Eduardo Goncalves Now Blogging

Eduardo is an architect and consultant with Daugherty Business Solutions.  He recently started blogging.  Check out his post on Habbits of Effective Architects.  You can also see him give a talk on this post at this month's Chicago Architects Group meeting.

Happy blogging Eduardo.

October Chicago Architects Group Meeting

Come and join us for the October meeting of the Chicago Architects Group.  Eduardo Goncalves will be presenting on the Habits of Highly Effective Architects.  It will be held on October 23rd at the CDW office downtown Chicago.  Please register at the link below.  I hope to see you there.

http://chicagoarchitectsgroup.eventbrite.com/

Lessons From Flying With A Four Year Old

My children always teach me so much. I got back recently from a vacation with my family. We were coming in for a landing on our 2.5 hour flight when my youngest son asked what was behind the wing. It was a condensation cloud forming right behind the trailing edge of the wing. So how do you explain condensation and vortices in terms that a four year old will understand? You have to put it in terms that they already understand. Describe the swirl that they see in a bath tub when you let the water out. ......

August Chicago Architects Group Meeting

The August Chicago Architects Group meeting will be held on Thursday the 21st.  Carl Franklin of Triton-Tech will be speaking at CDW downtown.  For more information and to register please follow the link below.  See you there.

http://chicagoarchitectsgroup.eventbrite.com

July Chicago Architecture Group Meeting

The July Chicago Architecture Group meeting will be held at the Downers Grove Microsoft office. Mike Smialek of Daugherty Business Solutions will be speaking on the Evolutioin of Architecture. Please join us and meet your peers in the Chicago architecture community. You need to pre-register because of building security and it also helps us to know how much food to order. Please visit the link below. http://chicagoarchitectsgro... ......

Chicago Architecture Group - First Meeting Review

Tonight was the first meeting of the Chicago Architecture Group.  David Dickinson made a wonderful presentation on real life SOA.  This was accompanied by a lively discussion with the 19 people in attendance.

Thanks to Carl Franklin, Stephan Rylander and Larry Clarkin for making this such a success.

We have a meeting planned for July 10th at the Microsoft Downers Grove office.  Stay tuned for more information.

Upcoming Chicago Architecture Group Presentation

The Chicago Architecture Group will be holding a presentation on June 5th.  Below is the information and a link to register.  I hope to see you there.

Service Oriented Architecture Myth and Reality ; A Report from the Front Lines

by David Dickinson
Followed by open forum

http://chicagoarchitectsgroup.eventbrite.com/

DevConnections - Wrap Up

DevConnections was a whirl-wind four days filled with learning and fun. So what did I take away from this trip? There were a lot of smart people who presented as well as attended. Unfortunately I was disappointed with about half of the sessions I attended. Luckily that leaves half of the sessions which were inspiring. The last day's highlights were Brian Noyes and Kathleen Dollard. Kathleen Dollard seemed to have a way of presenting pieces of code that just made you get the whole concept behind a ......

DevConnections - Day 3

Today was a mixed bag of disappointing session by some supposedly smart people who will remain nameless (unless I think better of it later). This was balanced out by some great sessions by Mark Miller and Dan Appleman. I'll start with Mark's session on Science of Great UIs. It was great how he showed how UIs can be built objectively. That and his sense of hurmor would have been reason enough to get your money's worth. But then ... In the middle of his presentation Mark's laptop died. I don't mean ......

DevConnections - Day 2

All I can say is my mind has been fired up! I started the day by attendeing Pat Helland's first session. It was looking like we were just getting a lesson in the history of computer hardware. Where that lesson lead opened my eyes to some of the issues and possible solutions we face in the IT industry going forward. This includes making our applications more granular and keeping less data on a particular machine and giving the application access to its from anywhere. He also covered the need to have ......

IASA Connections?

So it is the first partial day of DevConnections.  Of course I am taking the Architect Connections track.  As I am going through my materials this evening I noticed an insert for IASA Connections in San Francisco this October.  Since I am here now I doubt that I will make this event, but I would suggest anyone who can should attend.  When I tried this web site it didn't respond, but check back soon.

An Architect's Life As A Consultant

As with any career, consulting has a number of benefits and challenges. As a consultant architect you get to experience more environments than a in house architect. On the other hand you aren't assured that you will be doing architecture on every assignment. One day you may be working as a developer and the next as a project manager. So how do you keep your skills sharp and your resume viable? Your resume is going to be littered with jobs other than the title of architect. Within a project look for ......

Do Companies Really Want To Ship Software

I was reading a blog post the other day about motivating software developers to be motivated to ship code. While I agree this is a problem I have to ask the question "do IT departments really want to ship code"? Here is where I am coming from. I have seen enough IT departments where they stack release on top of release at such a frenzied pace that it causes them to split their resources. When you have multiple versions of an application that have to be tested you need more environment that all have ......

Standing Your Ground - Doing What's Right For The Project

Many times as you go through the phases of a project you may get pressure to do a quick fix just to be able to close a phase. You may even be told others what the fix to your work should be. The question is if you are sure it is the right fix. Sometimes even though those around you are ready to roll heads some times you have to stop everything, take a step back and research if the solution on the table is right or just fast. Often the fast solutions end up generating more problems because no one ......

Blog Like You Would Write A Book

When you write a book you start with an idea, turn it into an outline, then write a draft which then goes through multiple edit iterations. This is the same way that I believe you should write blog posts. There are several reasons for this. The first reason is that you want your blog to represent you in a professional manner. A clean and well organized set of thoughts are the best way to accomplish this. The second is that as you read and reread your work you will find places that it could use more ......

Interesting Architecture Quotes

I normally only like to post links where I can add value.  In this case I think Firebrand's post stands on its own.  Take the time to check out and reflect on his list of quotes from Frank Lloyd Wright.

Bigfoot Is Two Inches Tall

File this under "take you lessons from all parts of life". Recently there has been a lot of buzz about a picture of "Bigfoot" on Mars taken by the Spirit rover. As an amateur astronomer and a skeptic this has been humorous and disturbing to watch. You have to wonder how people could actually believe that this might be a life form. We are talking about a planet with very little atmosphere and no magnetic field to protect it from cosmic radiation. If you take a look at Emily Lakdawalla's blog post ......

Call For Chicago Area Architects

I am involved in working to get the Chicago chapter of IASA started and would like to find out who what architect are in the Chicago area. Please use the contact page of this blog to send me send me your information. I also encourage you to go to the IASA home page and register. It will give you access to a growing number of architect resources including a new video that was just released ......

Assumptions Kill Projects

Most people have heard the old saying about assumptions. Something about making something out of you and me. Well it is true. I recently got into a crunch situation with a client and experienced this first hand. It doesn't matter if it is requirement or team responsibilities. Anything that is not recorded or communicated is a risk. I know that different methodologies have differing opinions on documentation, but in the end all of them seem to agree that communication is the key. It should be well ......

Photography Can Teach Different Ways To See Design

This is becoming a trend for me taking different hobbies in my life and applying them to my job (which also happens to be my hobby). One way that you can learn to take better images is to work through assignments. These can be challenges from a group, a paid project or self assignments. This is the way I learned .NET 2.0 and how I will approach learning VS2008. With 2.0 I rewrote my wife's web site. The other things that these assignments teach is looking at things from different perspectives. Take ......

Pay It Forward

One of my hobbies is photography (webshots, zooomr) and I was listening to The Digital Photography Show podcast where the guest was Kevin Kubota. He presents photography seminars and is offering scholarships to his seminars. The interesting part of the application is that you have to describe what charity work you do. He said that he figures if he is doing something for you then you should be doing something for your community to show that you are serious. So how does this relate to architecture ......

So What Is .NET Again?

As I have mentioned before I am a consultant. Add to that the fact that I have been doing software development professionally for about twelve years and that means that I am moving into higher level work. Unfortunately that means less time that I am getting my hands dirty in the code. This is a painful transition, especially for a code junkie like me. So what is the prescription to ease my discomfort. I think it is time to bury myself in some serious code learning. I figure I have a number of books ......

Rocky On Polymorphic Podcast

Craig has scored again. While he may have had some technical difficulties on this episode the content was right on. He put a number of tough questions to Rocky including what his toughest project situation was and his approach to object modeling. I found it interesting the way he mixes use cases with CRC cards. It goes to show that we should not be too rigid with the way we approach designing solutions. You do not have to follow a methodology to every minute step. Take what works for the particular ......

Perspective-Based Architecture Article

This is a little out of date since it has taken me a while to get around to reading the latest Microsoft Architecture Journal. There is an article within this issue that covers Perspective-Base Architecture. I had mentioned this method in a previous blog when it was discussed on ARCast. This article includes diagrams, explanations of the process and examples. I feel that this process has a lot of potential. Any time that you look at a problem from a different angle improves the chances of finding ......

Gathering Requirements From A User Perspective

My wife asked me some questions out of frustration the other day which got me thinking. She wanted to know why I would ask here if she had plugged in the camera when she called me at work asking how to download her pictures? Why would I ask one of our friends what that friend wanted to do with the computer she was going to purchase when what she asked was what I thought was a good computer? This woman is a mother with three small children, what would I think she was going to do with it? Looking back ......

Architect Community and Resources

Being an architect or becoming an architect is not an easy thing to do. In most companies if there is even a single architect you are lucky. This means that you are on your own to figure out what an architect should really be. No wonder no one can agree on what an architect is. One thing I would like to see is an apprenticeship and mentoring program within the architect community. Experience is key to becoming an architect, but there are component skills that can be grown and nurtured. We need to ......

Mentor In A Bottle

I know others have already posted this one, but I wanted to put my two cents in. Scott Guthrie posted about the Patterns and Practices Guidance Explorer. The part that I thought was nice is that it comes in both desk top and web flavors. To some extent it seems to be little more than a dump of FXCop rules, but sometimes a search-able version of that is just what you need. I think a good thing to do with this is to use its ability to add more items would be to include such jewels as those in “.NET ......

Another Podcast to Add to Your List

The other day I was looking to see if any new podcasts had popped up around .NET Development or Software Architecture. Well I did find one. Net Objectives has started (OK, they have been doing this since May) a podcast on Lean-Agile. I have only listened to the first episode so far. While the host, Jim Trott, has a monotone, metered presentation I was impressed by his conversation the company's founder Alan Shalloway. In the first episode Alan gives one of the best descriptions of Agile development ......

Aspiring Architect Webcasts

I saw this post and it got me interested.  I looked through some of the topics and they seem like they would be valuable.  I can't tell from the site if any of these are in English.  If they aren't I would like to see them presented as such as well.  Any alternate resources or viewpoints are always welcome in the architecture space.

Podcast on Extensibility

Craig Shoemaker has done is usual outstanding job with the latest installments of his Polymophic Podcast. The last two shows have been a thought provoking interview with Miguel Castro. In it they discuss design patterns that can be used to allow for greater flexibility and extensibility when building applications. This is a topic that has interested me for a while now, especially patterns such as Dependency Injection which give the ability to define at run time the way that an application will act. ......

How Quickly We Jump to Conclusions

As architects it is our job to think things through. We are paid to work out possibilities and evaluate issues in the context of what already exists. I was reminded of these facts the other day when a couple of developers brought an issue to me where they were saying a product was not capable of producing the required results. A knowledgeable developer on that product said we would have to create extra custom components to get around this “feature”. I quickly jumped into scramble mode ......

The Hidden Cost of Scope Reduction

Scope reduction in a project is generally seen as a positive activity. In small applications this is generally true. This is not always the case though, especially in an enterprise environment. The key determining factor is the down steam impact of removing the feature from scope. If the item has already been planned for by other project teams the rework could be more expensive then what is being saved. Does eliminating the task mean that other applications need to plan for development or processes ......

Project Triage

Have you ever been on a project when the patient goes “Code Blue”? It is crashing. No pulse. No breath. No blood pressure. So what do you do? My first piece of advice is that you don't try to fix everything at once. On the battle field or in an emergency room they have the concept of triage. This means that you start with the most critical, life threating issue. In order to do that you must evaluate the patient. List what the projects are for the project. Is there a lack of performance? ......

Queue Hell

I have come across a situation at a client where they believe that queues are the answer for everything. It is how they abstract their database from the applications. The battle cry seems to be “If we go through a queue it is more flexible and ensures that messages between apps will get to their destination. While I do believe that queues such as MSMQ and MQ Series have their place, they are not the answer to all the worlds woes. Of course the same goes for any technology. I have heard of companies ......

Simplicity for Simplicity Sake

As architects we try to look for the simplest solution to a business problem. This is not just because we are lazy, but because simple solutions are easy to maintain and tend to be less tightly coupled. This does not mean that the simplest solution is always the right solution. If one aspect of a business requirement can be addressed by a pattern but it invalidates three related business requirements then it is the wrong answer no matter how simple it may be. In the end it boils down to coming up ......

Too Many Chefs in the Project Kitchen

This is really an observation about large enterprises. The larger they get, the more people are required to make a single decision. I am currently working for a client that has an entire floor of a building with nothing but architects residing there. In the process of this project we came across a technical issue relating to the database. We presented alternatives to the lead architects and thought that we had an approval for a solution. Surprise! It turns out the data architects were still discussing ......

Catastrophe Projects - Looking in the Mirror

I have had this sample chapter sitting on my desktop for a couple of weeks now. Tonight I decided it was time to read it or close it. Thankfully I chose to read it. By the definition of this book, “Catastrophe Disentanglement: Getting Software Projects Back on Track”, the project that I am currently on is a catastrophe. Sure we keep knocking out bugs, but at the same time they keep adding more and more functionality and extensions to the project. As this chapter suggest I think it is ......

Chicago IASA Chapter

For those of you who have not heard of it, IASA is the International Association of Software Architects. It is dedicated to the goals of networking, knowledge, advocacy and ethics in the practice of IT Architects. On Friday I had lunch with Bhaskar Chakrabarti who is the head of the Chicago Chapter. It sounds like things are getting ready to fire up. He is looking to have the first official meeting in July or August and hopes to have a well recognized speaker for the event. If you are in Chicago ......

Ron Jacob's Noodle Project

This isn't exactly new. I had heard Ron talk about the fact that he was starting a video series in one of his ARCast episodes. I found a link to his Noodle Project on another post this morning. I like the architecture content of the video and I like the artistic features of it. I just don't think I like the two together. We will have to see how it evolves as he puts out more show. I suspect they may eventually show up on the Channel9 site or MSDN ......

Why Performance and Scalable is Required Reading

We are in the middle of addressing some production issues at my current client. One of them involves an ASP.NET application which is slow to respond at times and other times does not seem to respond at all. The fun part is that there is nothing from the application side which is giving us a clue as to what is going on. This has been going on for a while and people are starting to get frustrated, so it was decided to call the experts from Microsoft. So we start having conference calls and the MS representatives ......

Iterative and User Centered

My current project is making me see more and more that iterative development with constant input from the end users is the best way to have a successful outcome. Recently I was involved in a conference call with the end users and the business representatives. These representatives had given us all of our requirements and we had no direct contact with the people in the field. BIG MISTAKE! This was compounded by the fact that the client is following a very waterfall approach with tons of documentation. ......

Making TDD Real

I just finished listening to this week's DNR with Jean-Paul Boodhoo on TDD. Now I will say right up front that I have not actually done TDD on any of my projects. This discussion with JP really brought home the ideas in a way that was easy to understand. Carl and Richard also asked him many tough questions about pair programming, continuous integration and what happens to the rest of the team. One thing that struck close to home is with regard to what is and isn't TDD. Before I started with my current ......