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Re: Don't Let Architecture Astronauts Scare You


joel murray architect
Matt Gushee wrote:
> On Sat, Sep 14, 2002 at 09:21:00PM -0400, Paul Brown wrote:
> 
>>>"Remember that the architecture people are solving problems 
>>>that they think they can solve, not problems which are useful
>>>to solve."
>>
>>There are five parts to solving a problem: (1) having a problem, (2)
>>identifying a solvable subset with respect to time/complexity and
>>total value, (3) inspiration, (4) creating a solution, (5) using it.
>>I don't see any research/academic experience on the Joel's resume, so
>>I'm not surprised that he's ignorant of the process of doing new work.
> 
> 
> Okay, if your definition of 'new work' is academic or research work.

Without wanting to speak for Paul - I'd say that is exactly what he 
meant by 'new work'. Joel is a great communicator and I very much enjoy 
his writing - he may well also be an excellent software engineer (from 
his writing I suspect so) - but from my limited knowledge of him I 
wouldn't say that he is one of the industries great innovators. This of 
course shouldn't discount his opinion on new technologies - nothing 
wrong with playing the devil's advocate (so long as it's not _all_ you do).

[...]

> As for your 'five parts,' I'm not sure how they relate to the statement
> you are trying to refute, since his point was that some overzealous
> system architects--eyes firmly fixed on the big picture--tend to solve
> problems far beyond the rest of the world's perception, while
> overlooking the little things that make a system valuable to users.
> Which is fine if you're a computer science researcher, but deadly when
> the task is to provide solutions to today's business problems.

That may be Joel's point - in fact I quite liked this passage from the 
article:

"When you go too far up, abstraction-wise, you run out of oxygen. 
Sometimes smart thinkers just don't know when to stop, and they create 
these absurd, all-encompassing, high-level pictures of the universe that 
are all good and fine, but don't actually mean anything at all."

Made me smile that did.

But as regards to his views specifically on web-services - possibly Joel 
was engaging in hyperbole to try to conteract the hype surrounding 
web-services - but his piece came across as very dismissive that 
anything new is actually happening with web-services.

I believe Paul was making the point that just because web-services 
builds on, and is similar to, previous technologies does not mean that 
nothing new is happening in this area (sorry for the x2 negative).

>>We are at the tail end of 3 with respect to web services in that we
>>have a good idea of the lemmas that will be necessary to prove the
>>desired result: the packaging and (re)use of well-defined hunks of
>>functionality in a distributed, heterogeneous environment
>>(hardware/software/connectivity).
> 
> 
> Speak English, please.

Made sense to me - apart from the 'lemmas' bit - but I just substituted 
'stuff' ;-) - and I believe his first sentance should be "We are at the 
tail end of 2" (which is identifying a subset of the problem to solve - 
I think we're just starting to get into the innovation bit).

cheers

-- 
Murray Spork
Centre for Information Technology Innovation (CITI)
The Redcone Project
Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
Phone: +61-7-3864-9488
Email: m.spork@q...
Web: http://redcone.gbst.com/


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