Software Architecture Bootcamp
By Rapheal Malveau and Thomas J Mowbray PhD
|Value for money||6/10|
|Did it do what it said on the box?||7/10|
A Game of Two Halves
Like the famous description of soccer, this book is very much a "game of two halves". Half the book, maybe more, discusses the role of a software architect – the architect’s approach, attitude, responsibilities, processes and techniques. This is excellent: clear and concise, encouraging if you are a newcomer but still stimulating if you are a more seasoned architect. It is without doubt one of the best descriptions I have read.
Unfortunately, the other half of the book is less useful. The technical parts are either too simplistic, or too detailed when discussing a particular solution favoured by the authors. The text frequently tends to become a repetitive and thinly-disguised commercial for CORBA, and there is an obsession with standards such as RM-ODP which are simply not relevant to a great many commercial developers. The few examples are very simplistic, with no real discussion of many of the technical issues which a real architecture must address.
The book would have been much better for more care in its editing and presentation. The quality of proof-reading is in general poor, but becomes quite appalling in some of the technical sections – evidence perhaps that the authors allowed their technical stance to dictate a poor choice of word processor. The choice of diagrams seems random: some are good, but some difficult discussions cry out for a diagram (horizontal and vertical partitioning, for example), while in other places a diagram confuses where the text is clear. The reference list is incomplete, omitting even the authors’ "primary" reference which is quoted, frequently, in the text. All this is doubly disappointing when you consider that one of the authors is the series editor, and both were co-authors of the excellent "AntiPatterns" book.
My advice: if you are happy with the technological side of software architecture, and want advice on how to be a better architect, then buy this book, but read chapters 5 through 9 before you even attempt to read the first part. If, however, you are seeking technical guidance in the real world of software from Microsoft, Oracle and a host of legacy systems, then look elsewhere.