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REVIEW: "Beautiful Architecture", Diomidis Spinellis/Georgios Gousios

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  • Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Han
    BKBEARCH.RVW 20090228 Beautiful Architecture , Diomidis Spinellis/Georgios Gousios, 2009, 978-0-596-51798-4, U$44.99/C$44.99 %E Diomidis Spinellis %E
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 11, 2009
      BKBEARCH.RVW 20090228

      "Beautiful Architecture", Diomidis Spinellis/Georgios Gousios, 2009,
      978-0-596-51798-4, U$44.99/C$44.99
      %E Diomidis Spinellis
      %E Georgios Gousios
      %C 103 Morris Street, Suite A, Sebastopol, CA 95472
      %D 2009
      %G 978-0-596-51798-4 0-596-51798-X
      %I O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
      %O U$44.99/C$44.99 800-998-9938 707-829-0515 nuts@...
      %O http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/059651798X/robsladesinterne
      %O http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/059651798X/robsladesin03-20
      %O Audience s- Tech 2 Writing 1 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
      %P 404 p.
      %T "Beautiful Architecture"

      It is difficult to define what architecture is. Many times
      architecture is defined in terms of what it is not. Architects do not
      build buildings: they derive the plans from which buildings are made.
      As design is not the structure, but the organization which drives the
      structure, so architecture is not design, but is a layer of
      abstraction above, and informing, design. As I read the foreword of
      this book, which presented a number of "universal principles" of
      architecture, the maxims sounded high and fine, and yet my reaction to
      each was, "Yes, but ..."

      The preface states that for this work, the editors followed a model
      used in a prior work about programming code: contacting people who had
      been involved in well-known or highly innovative projects, and asking
      them to write essays.

      Part one is about architecture, starting with chapter one, which asks
      "What Is Architecture?" Unfortunately, while the authors of the piece
      collect a number of definitions, they are less successful in getting
      those delineations to work together, beyond noting that architecture
      is a set of decisions that are used in the process of design, and that
      proper architecture has an important bearing on the final outcome.
      (It's a case of "I know good architecture when I see it.") Chapter
      two compares two systems and says one with a bad architecture is worse
      than one with a good architecture.

      Part two is about Enterprise application architecture. Chapter three
      examines scaling for growth in the context of online role-playing game
      systems. A system for image storage and retrieval for retail
      offerings of portraits is described in chapter four. The concept of
      the intranet is revisited in chapter five, noting how Web technology
      can be used for information systems within a company. This piece is
      more about the technology than architecture. Similarly, chapter six
      looks at the Facebook application system.

      Part three moves to system architecture. Some interesting ideas about
      virtualization architecture are implemented in the Xen system, which
      is the topic of chapter seven. Some aspects of fault tolerance are
      addressed in chapter eight's review of the Tandem Guardian system.
      Chapter nine describes JPC, a software emulation of the hardware of
      the x86 computer within Java. Virtualization and emulation are both
      involved in the Jikes RVM that, as chapter ten shows, has Java
      emulating itself.

      End-user application architectures are considered in part four. Emacs
      is an astoundingly extended text editor: it has been used as a
      development environment, among other things. However, chapter eleven
      shows that it is based on a fundamentally simple architecture,
      ensuring that it remains consistent as it grows. The K Desktop
      Environment (KDE) and a couple of extensions are examined in chapter

      Part five looks at languages and architecture. A comparison between
      functional and object-oriented programming is made in chapter
      thirteen. Chapter fourteen closes off with some more thoughts on
      object-oriented programming, and then some thoughts on beautiful
      buildings with problems.

      There are some interesting ideas presented in some of the essays in
      this book. It is, however, difficult to say how far it extends the
      field of software architecture.

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 2009 BKBEARCH.RVW 20090228

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