QCon Proves a Zesty Affair
Software development conference focuses on architecture, conflicts
November 14, 2007 —
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When the second QCon conference took place on Nov. 7-9, a small religious war erupted. Although many of the discussions focused on architecture, Ruby and Java, some attendees set aside time for bickering about the comparative virtues of Representational State Transfer (REST) and WS-*.
The San Francisco conference organizers probably saw this coming, having labeled one track How Much REST Do We Need? As speaker after speaker took the podium to discuss WS-*, invariably the REST fans in the audience would ask pointed questions, or insist that you can do that in REST too. When REST users spoke, the WS-* faithful in the audience returned the favor, pointing out the limitations of REST's simplicity or the lack of standardization within the REST world.
Although that holy war will continue to rage over the next few years, other battle plans of a more pertinent and business-like nature were also discussed at the show.
Use the Force, Luke
Luke Hohmann, author of Beyond Software Architecture, presented ideas on effecting architectural change in an organization.
Hohmann began his talk by revealing an exercise he uses when he is first called in as a software development consultant: He asks everyone on the development team to draw his or her view of the architecture.
The only rule is: You can't talk to anyone else at the table, said Hohmann, describing this exercise. The teams that are considered high-performing teamsthey draw the same picture. The teams that are struggling draw all sort of different things. Architecture, from a human perspective, guides behavior internally. When they're sitting at the keyboard, the architecture they hold in their head is what's guiding their behavior, independent of what the architect puts on the wall, he added.
Hohmann also espoused the benefits of a good road map. I think of architecture as being very organic. Some architects manage architecture as if it were a city street system. They come in and survey and plan and pave roads, then they come back in five years and maybe fill a pothole, said Hohmann. My perspective is that it's more like a Japanese garden. I'm going to come in, make a plan, then it's going to change and grow and adapt. Some things will be there for a long time, but much of it is based on weeding and managing and changing.