software architecture revisited

This is a very old writeup from a few years ago from my older website, which I came across recently again, and am reposting here… Now I have a lot more to say about this topic… but just putting in the old one for now…

Once in a way, I feel software might be a career just to make money while the opportunity is there and then retire and do something else. Especially when we consider the well known related problems such as RSI, eye strain, back injuries, etc. not to mention the vast environmental pollution (plastic CDs, DVDs… esp now with rewriteable use and throw ones).

After all, its sometimes hard to answer the question: how is this helping anybody or improving anybody’s quality of life? How does it make it matter to be involved in this application to keep track of a warranty of some printer that some customer had bought whom I personally dont even have a clue about. Surely there must be more worthwhile investments of time than this? Especially when you compare this with something like for example the medical profession, where doctors cure people’s diseases – or physicists who study about the our universe itself, or come up with something tangible that people actually do something with rather than sit glued to a computer monitor all day…

In “Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays” by Prof. Stephen Hawkings (reknowned scientist and author of A Brief History of Time), he says after a disease and a surgery he was paralyzed, speechless and completely immobile. He still wanted to continue his research.

His communication was reduced to a person flipping through alphabets, and he would raise his eyebrows for the required one. He would write sentences this way – very very slowly.

Then a software programmer sent him a device which would act similarly, and he could use his finger to indicate when the letter was reached.

This was such a breakthrough that its evolution was inevitable… a laptop was replaced by a PC embedded into his wheelchair making him mobile. A screen was eventually replaced by a voice synthesiser – allowing him to speak again!

This man written off by medical science, has been able to go on giving countless speeches all over the world!

Ultimately it does come down to people who actually using whatever we are working on, who could be adversely affected at some other point in time and space in a manner in which we simply cannot imagine now, if we treat what we are doing right now even with the slightest negligience or indifference. But we get so bogged down with the technical details or stress or distractions or so on, that this very key aspect often gets totally forgotten.

Incidents like the one related by Hawkings was a kind of a reminder to me on why I joined this industry in the first place… a belief that software, like everything else, does have its own place in the great scheme of things! 🙂

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Some links… (with thanks to those who sent these)

The Software Pyramid

Its interesting what it says about Architects : “A few thousand visionaries sketch out entire systems to handle complex jobs.”

Anyway on a different note… this is a beautiful relevant article … a MUST read for anyone with technical aspirations 🙂

.NET Brings the Architect to the Fore
As .NET helps advance Microsoft technologies in the enterprise, the role of the software architect becomes increasingly important.
by Eric Lynn

Other links…

This article from Deccan Herald I particularly liked :

Upgrade yourself from the world of coding
How does one build a successful technical career? SUBROTO BAGCHI gives nine key factors.

Passion at work by Prof. Arindam Chaudari

The following I’ve meant to read but havent actually really read till now 😉 But have gone through them, they look quite promising, maybe worth bookmarking…

Thoughts and experiences from an enterprise software architect – Jorgen Thelin

Microsoft Architects Journal

Independent analysis of Microsoft

It all comes down to 1s and 0s

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