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Why do we need architecture for software? We are not building a skyscraper ..

The other day I travelled to Bangkok to work.  As usual, I have dutifully filled out the immigration form before arrival.  At the immigration counter,  the Thai migration official looked at my immigration form & asked: 

"Are you here for work (or leisure)?; What is your occupation?", he asked.

" I am here for work; I am a software architect.", I replied.

"Building architect?" he asked.

"No, software architect." I said.

"Mai-Khao-Chai (Don't understand)", he murmured to himself. 

This does not come as a surprise to me.  Many of my friends outside the IT industry often ask me what do I do as a software architect.  In many cases even IT professionals questioned the software architecture discipline.  "You guys are just circles and sticks drawer."  It is pretty true, so far I have been using Visio and Powerpoint more than I uses Visual Studio. Stick out tongue

Actually, there is more to architecture than the artifacts (circles & sticks) that we produced.  In my opinion, an architect must be able to 'visualize' the software system (to be built) in its basic components without getting lost in the details.  He needs to present to others how this components interact with one another and with any other external system - thus the circles and stick diagrams.

Another argument on the need for software architecture: If you cannot describe the system you are trying to build, you will not be able to build them; And a matter of fact- Nobody will pay you to build the system in the first place. Smile

If you are interested in some formal definitions of software architecture & roles of architects, here are some links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_architecture 

http://martinfowler.com/ieeeSoftware/whoNeedsArchitect.pdf 

Do you believe in software architecture?

 


Posted Jul 21 2009, 08:39 PM by Ho Yik Joon

Comments

icelava wrote re: Why do we need architecture for software? We are not building a skyscrapper ..
on 07-21-2009 11:25 PM

so as long as it's not up to the astronomical level, and still grounded in reality ;-)

www.joelonsoftware.com/.../fog0000000018.html

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