|Software Architecture: Organizational Principles and Patterns|
|author||David M. Dikel, et al|
|publisher||Prentice Hall PTR|
|summary||Useful approach to organizing software projects, from people to code.|
The book opens by explaining what VRAPS (Vision, Rhythm, Anticipation, Partnering, and Simplification) is and what the book can do for the reader. Software Architecture is increasingly important, but the organizational aspect is often overlooked. Architecture and Organization do overlap, but to the executive the Architecture side is hidden, and to the practitioner the Organizational side is hidden. VRAPS attempts to shift the perspectives of the executive and practitioner to provide a more balanced view. An excellent summary of why each of the VRAPS principles are important is provided. A short example scenario follows, briefly illustrating how the model can be used and misused. These concepts are further expanded throughout the book.
The second chapter is essentially a more detailed look at VRAPS and how everything fits together. Criteria, Patterns and Antipatterns are explained, along with a short history of VRAPS. An amusing anecdote mentioned was a manager who divided his program into one hundred modules to show percent complete. Only five modules had more than 100 lines of code. One of the five had over a million lines. There are similar occurrences throughout the book that illustrate various follies in software development and management.
Chapter three deals with maintaining the vision and direction of the project while balancing all the influences. To a manager, the project may look perfectly ordered on paper while features are added and removed. On paper it still looks neat, but to the practitioner it can appear a jumbled mess. The reader also sees the first example of how the situation layouts are handled in the book. A short summary covering the Criteria, Antipatterns, and Patterns is presented. Then each criterion is further examined with its related Antipatterns and Patterns.
Further chapters proceed with introducing various development concepts that complete the VRAPS moniker. How to put the concepts into practice is explored through the same Criteria, Antipattern and Pattern layout. It does an excellent job of illustrating each part of VRAPS. Following at least some of the principles will result in a project that will be successful, instead of becoming one of the book's examples where the team ended up with nothing to show for its work.
The chapter on the Allaire (now part of Macromedia) case study was the most interesting chapter of the whole book. Company and product development is followed, including mistakes made along the way. The final chapter on 'Building and Implementing a Benchmark' was rather unimpressive. It seemed merely tacked onto the end and included no real conclusion to the entire book. However, the rest of the book is a solid piece of work with very useful information.
The anecdotes and examples throughout keep the reading from becoming too dull. Even with a flat finish to the book it contains plenty of valuable information and is worth the admission price, though it could have been better still.
1. What You Can't See could Help You
2. The VRAPS Reference Model: How the Pieces Fit Together
3. Projecting and Unifying Vision
4. Rhythm: Assuring Beat, Process, and Movement
5. Anticipation: Predicting, Validating, and Adapting
6. Partnering: Building Cooperative Organizations
7. Simplification: Clarifying and Minimizing
8. Principles at Work: The Allaire Case Study
9. Case Study: Building and Implementing a Benchmark Using VRAPS
A. Quick Reference Table: Principles, Criteria, Antipatterns, and Patterns
B. Antipattern and Pattern Summaries
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