Friday, February 27, 2009

97 Things Every Software Architect Should Know

It's been released! Richard Monson-Haefel’s project 97 Things Every Software Architect Should Know was a community effort put together by a large collection of software aficionados. It started as a web site, and has now been published in printed form. I think it's a great bit of work, but I'm slightly biased as I managed to get a couple of my own contributions into the effort. Beyond its great advice, the book is important for several other reasons.

The first is that it managed to reach out to the whole community for support. Other books have done similar things, for example Beautiful Architecture and Real World Haskell, but this one opened itself up to allow anybody to submit complete axioms at its web site. This sets it apart because it's not just about the people, it's about the quality of the advice itself. The axioms were picked because they worked, not because the authors were famous or connected.

Another important reason is that with such a young discipline, much of what is needed to push software development into the next generation of technologies will come from the front-lines not from the hallowed halls of academia or from the back-alleys of big corporations. It's the people out there in the trenches that know what parts of our technologies work, and what parts are dismal failures. Software development has often been driven from afar by theoreticians and ivory towers, so it's nice to see us getting real feedback from the ground-floor. If we're going to find better, more reliable ways of building complex systems, the answers are going to come from really getting to understand what we know, not just what we think we know.

It's available on-line, but hopefully people will support the effort by getting out there and buying printed copies.

The Amazon book link is located at:

http://www.amazon.com/Things-Every-Software-Architect-Should/dp/059652269X/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233780733&sr=8-1

The original Web Site is at:

http://97-things.near-time.net/wiki

Positive comments, feedback and reviews would be appreciated.