George Fairbanks's blog

CompArch/WICSA 2011 - Panel discussion and Haiku tutorial

Last week was an exciting one as the CompArch/WICSA conference came to my hometown of Boulder. I was one of the conference chairs, the one in charge of the unglamorous task of organization, but the good news is that everyone was delighted by that! We had a great mix of folks from two different backgrounds and there was lots of mingling and ideas shared between them. The reception dinner at the Red Lion Inn on the Boulder Creek (swollen with snow melt runoff) was really great.

Much good news: Second printing, Amazon top-10

Second printing

As of right now, the book has seven 5-star reviews on Amazon.com. The demand for the book has been so strong that I’ve had to order a second printing! That should arrive within a month. I’m also going to be distributing the book to international bookstores including Amazon in the UK and Germany. There have been quite a few e-book sales there, so now they can get the hardback too.

Amazon Top-10

I just noticed that the book has nudged its way into the top-10 list for its category on Amazon (system analysis and design books). That makes me feel really good and I hope this helps it get better visibility.

Another great Amazon review of my book

There’s a new review of my book up on Amazon today. Here are some choice words:

  • “Just Enough Software Architecture: A Risk-Driven Approach” is the book I will now be recommending to software developers who either have no architecture-level experience, or who need to get back to the basics of what software architecture is really all about.
  • …for a cohesive treatment of software architecture, the goal of which is to start students and professionals on the right track, there are no other texts than can stand up to this one…

Thank you to all of you who have provided such kind words about the book. Yes, people really do read those reviews to decide what book to get!

Interview in InfoQ -- and in Japan

I was interviewed in InfoQ by Srini Penchikala. My hope was to lay out the major themes of the book and build bridges to the Agile programming community. I’ve gotten a few supportive messages so I think people liked the interview overall.

Earlier, at the OOPSLA/SPLASH 2010 conference, I was interviewed by Kenji Hiranabe, whose company makes the best-selling UML tool in Japan. Here is part 1 and part 2 of the video interview.

Amazon pricing craziness

My book is for sale on Amazon but its price has fluctuated wildly. This has happened enough times now that I’m willing to venture a guess. It seems that when the book is out of stock, the price drops to just under $44. When it is in stock, it sells for list price, $69.75.

I recently wrote to them to ask why my book was selling for list price while other architecture books were consistently discounted (e.g., the SEI books and Jim Copelien’s new Lean Architecture book).

Article published in CrossTalk magazine

First, apologies for the slow blogging recently. Things have been very busy and I’ve got a pile of topics I want to cover very soon. OOPSLA/SPLASH was great and there is plenty to talk about from that, plus I’ve picked up a few new tricks to explain architecture from a consulting project.

But today the news is my article on the Risk-Driven Model just published in CrossTalk magazine. The issue starts with a Q&A session with Grady Booch — quite nice to have an informal piece to find out what someone is really thinking — then my article, then an article on architecture and agility from the SEI (Nanette Brown, Rod Nord, and Ipek Ozkaya).

Being helpful on the web by answering questions

Recently, I’ve been posting answers about architecture questions I’ve seen pop up in a few places. I’ll collect them here so that you can find them.

Is Software Architecture Modeling on the start of the project considered as an Agile Aproach?

Full Q&A on StackOverflow.com

Agilists disagree about planning and architecture. XP tends to advocate no (or little) architecture up-front (i.e., planned design), but people like Martin Fowler say they do planned design maybe 20% of the time. Chapter 14 of XP Explained has a nice articulation of the XP design philosophy.

Michael Keeling has a good explanation about why agilists (and others) disagree. He says to pay attention to two dimensions: your knowledge about solutions and your knowledge about problems. When you know lots about solutions in this field (e.g., web systems), then you are more likely to defer planning. But when nobody has ever built a Mars Rover before, you do more planning. To me, this explains why engineers in different situations do different things, yet what each does is rational.

Hardback book for sale on Amazon now, $39.75! Huzzah!

It sure took a long time, but the hardback book of Just Enough Software Architecture: A Risk-Driven Approach is now available on Amazon for $39.75. Makes an excellent present, or buy 4 at a time to hold your newspaper down flat. Great as a flyswatter. Kids and mothers love them!

And if you prefer, the PDF and e-book version is also available for $25. It takes up less space in your carry on luggage.

Hardbacks arrive at the end of the month

I just got word from the printer that the hardbacks are due to arrive around August 31. That means they’ll be for sale at Amazon maybe a week later.

The printing job is kind of a leap of faith. I did get a proof of the insides and a proof of the cover, separately, but no complete book. And the process for creating the proof is different than for creating the real book, which is printed on an offset press. And what if the cover alignment isn’t right — will the spine text be off-center? Let’s just hope it looks good.

Speaking at Boulder Java User Group, 7 Sept 2010: Architecture Haiku

I’ll be delivering the Architecture Haiku presentation, possibly in an expanded form, at the Boulder Java User Group on 7 Sept 2010. The slides for the talk have been posted (thanks to DOSUG and Matthew McCullogh). They are also available as PDF.

Feedback on this talk has been pretty positive. I think this is because people would like to know how to do something helpful with a small amount of time — telling them how to create comprehensive architecture documents isn’t relevant because they don’t have that much time (and/or their projects are not risky enough to justify spending that much time). But writing down nothing is usually a problem too.

This talk suggests writing down about 1 page worth of information on a system, emphasizing ideas that get at the gist of the architecture and why it was chosen.

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