Sunday, June 12, 2011

Book Review: Just Enough Software Architecture by George Fairbanks

Software architecture tends to be so hard to define which makes it extraordinarily hard to read and even harder to write about. Thank goodness this is improving and the George Fairbanks new book Just Enough Software Architecture is a great improvement on software architecture books I have read in the past. Many of the books I have read in the past have taken tremendous discipline to get through – not so with this one!

The book focus “just enough” is a prevalent theme which makes it different from many other architecture books that are often written to promote a particular set of tools or methodology. Here Fairbanks lays out many ideas from the field and elaborates on the ones he finds most useful. He tends to have an agile slant which I appreciate. His main thesis is that architecture work should be risk driven, and he a chapter an on example that he actually worked on (it wasn’t invented for the book).

The area of the book I found most useful was on models, which is over the half the book. My favorite chapter of the book was “Using Architectural Models”. This was full of real world recommendations that I will be able to put to use immediately. I create “mini-models” almost daily as we try to sort through various issues. He also had a great section on informal and formal analysis techniques, the informal techniques being especially useful.

I think this book will be a valuable book for a college level course but also to software practitioners both architects and developers. There are not many textbooks that are useful to software architects practicing in the field. But this book is useful and it will provide material for many blog posts to come.