Why We Built It

If you want to know why we created The Architecture of Open Source Applications (now in two volumes), you need look no further than the descriptions of other books about software architecture on Amazon. Here’s part of the blurb of one that appeared last year:

Specifically, the book shows you

  • What software architecture is about and why your role is vitally important to successful project delivery
  • How to determine who is interested in your architecture (your stakeholders), understand what is important to them (their concerns), and design an architecture that reflects and balances their different needs
  • How to communicate your architecture to your stakeholders in an understandable way that demonstrates that you have met their concerns (the architectural description)
  • How to focus on what is architecturally significant, safely leaving other aspects of the design to your designers, without neglecting issues like performance, resilience, and location
  • What important activities you most need to undertake as an architect, such as identifying and engaging stakeholders, using scenarios, creating models, and documenting and validating your architecture

Did you notice that “the architecture of 10 (or 20, or 50) actual systems” wasn’t on this list? You won’t find that in this book, either, or this one, or this one. I haven’t read the upcoming third edition of this one yet, but I used to have the first and second on my shelves, and it didn’t “show the blueprints” either. If any ambitious grad student is reading this, and looking for a great thesis topic, comparing what software designers actually talk about to what’s in the standard textbooks on the subject would, I think, be very interesting…