- Release Date: 30 January, 2003
- Used Price: $29.00
- Availability: Usually ships within 24 hours
- Third Party Used Price: $27.95
Author: Luke Hohmann
Customer Rating: 4.95 of 5 (20 total reviews)
- Beyond Everyday Architecture Issues
This book delivers on its promise to discuss the larger business realities of creating software products. If you're a software architect, or dream of being one, this is a must read book.
Appropriately, it eschews the details of implementation, and focuses mainly on the business issues an architect must focus on to succeed. It works from the assumption that the reader has done a fair bit of design work, and now wants to create software architectures that will last for multiple releases. Luke expands your horizons to include new areas you probably have not have considered.
The book is nicely segmented into logical chapters, making it an excellent reference. Although it covers classic architecture issues such as portability, usability, performance, layering, API design, and security, the truly valuable material is on the business and product management side of the fence, which often get ignored, or left till late in the process. For instance, the installation "out of the box" experience, planning your upgrade strategy, technology licensing, branding, and user community discussions are incredibly valuable, as they bring together the benefit of a lot of experience in the commercial software market. It is this focus on non-traditional architecture issues that makes the book so valuable.
My only issue with the book is the tone. I find it a little too academic, and I think that it detracts from the pragmatic advice given. However, the content more than makes up for this minor lack. If you're ready to move to the next level of architecture or pondering a new software product design, check this book out.
- The most useful tool for the current business paradigm
Hohmann bridges the gap found between development and marketing as well as intangible aspects of corporate structure that hinder proper growth. Business is moving away from large organizations that function in a vacuum almost independently from one another and where the tie-in is at an executive level. "Beyond Software Architecture" leads the way by showing how "it can be done" by focusing attention on the overall unifying factor - the product.
With clear examples, and well thought out logic, "Beyond Software Architecture" provides a clear and concise view into the core of most businesses - the product. Through this, organizations, directives, and resources work more efficiently as a polarized entity.
Very few books can actively be used as tools - the wisdom from "Beyond Software Architecture," can be applied every day.
- Closing the Loop from Programmer to Customer
As a self-proclaimed "agilist," I have been in the habit of thinking more and more about ways that we can ensure that the software systems we build can richly and extensibly solve the business problems our customers need them to solve. And Agile processes like XP are certainly a big step in that direction. That's part of what attracted many of us to agility in the first place.
In this excellent and timely book, Hohmann takes that desire for customer responsiveness a quantum step further, asking that every aspect of a software product (internal or external), from business model to architecture, be aligned with business purpose and business reality.
To put it another way, he widens the software "project team" to include everybody and anybody who must dream up, define, design, market, sell, build, test, maintain, extend, support, and ultimately retire a system. It helps to systematize the hard and institutionally complex work of taking all of that input into account throughout the lifecycle.
So the book talks about taking into account the customer-related input from all of the above roles. But it also asks us to keep the system responsive to all of the knowledge workers in those roles, and their continuing human needs. As hard as it is to do, it is not enough that a system be easy to extend for its programmers. It's not even enough that it provides the optimal feature set, on-time within budget. There is more hard work for it to do. Some systems are a hell of a lot easier to support than others, or easier to market and sell than others. And on and on.
Hohmann shows us how the systems we build will inevitably end up responding to a wide range of needs and roles one way or another, and asks us to anticipate them all, embrace them all, and respond to them up-front, purposefully and systematically. I really, really like that. I can put these insights to use immediately.
I think of the Agile practice revolution as an essentially humanizing revolution in software development, but at a fairly low institutional level. Agile practices largely help us only with the building of the system. And to the extent that Agile methods humanize that building process, they are great.
But I think Hohmann's book gives us the start of a higher-tier, larger view of a humanizing movement, not just in building software systems, but in the entire lifecycle, the entire arc from conception to death. A humanized view of the lifecycle is a fabulous thing, to my mind. I think it really could change the software world permanently. We could all end up (gasp) loving our jobs.
This is an important book, full of Aha! insights. If you have responsibility in any of the above roles I mention, I think you need to read it.