Pure Danger Tech


Book Review: Beyond Software Architecture

23 Feb 2005

Just finished reading the book Beyond Software Architecture by Luke Hohmann and thought I‘d write a quick review. The book covers all the stuff beyond software design that are necessary to make a successful product, such as licensing, APIs (and other extension mechanisms), installation, upgrades and migration, patching, release process, etc.

I can‘t say I‘ve ever seen another book that addresses this set of really important topics in product development. So, on that grounds alone, if you are doing product development or working as a software architect, I think this book at least deserves a skim, if not a read. For any of the topics covered, it is sure to give you ideas of what you need to be thinking about and considering.

I found the early chapters to be the most interesting, particularly with respect to the symbiotic roles of product management and sofware architect. I think those are a must-read for people in either role.

The later chapters in the book felt a lot more like a laundry list of things to think about and didn‘t go into much detail on any of the sub-topics. For me, the topics are familiar and I think just having a paragraph or two on each subtopic meant that there wasn‘t enough depth there to keep me interested. I didn‘t learn much from these chapters. The best parts of these chapters were the anecdotes in the sidebars.

Early in the book the author defines the complementary roles of the “marketect“ that focus on the “marketecture“ and the “tarchitect“ that focuses on the “tarchitecture”. Personally, I‘m not a big fan of inventing words when there are plenty out there already, so I found this somewhat grating. Throughout the rest of the book, the author faithfully sticks to these non-existent words (at least he‘s consistent) and I will admit, that sometimes clarifies the context of the discussion. But I have to believe there were existing names for those roles that could have been used without inventing new terms.

Over all, I thought it was good but not great. If you are just starting to do architecture or work on a product, I think it would probably be an incredibly useful book to have as a reference. If you‘ve been doing this work for a while, it‘s probably worth a read in the early chapters and a skim in the later ones.