Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I see that Grady Booch is brewing up a software architecture handbook. I'll certainly keep an eye on this.

Booch is still a very good writer and his ideas around process and architecture in the early 90s were at the time pretty revolutionary. Fourteen years later, Object Solutions is still one of my favorite tech books.

Over the past decade, UML and the Unified Process (UP) have been targeted as 'heavyweight' and anti-agile. But much of the real criticisms are misplaced - it's not the modeling language or development (meta) process that's at fault but the literal way in which they've both been interpreted and regurgitated.

And I blame Rational (later, IBM), with their heavy handed tooling, particularly the Rational Unified Process (RUP).

RUP != UP.

Hell, UP doesn't even equal UP. It was badly named. Shoulda been Unified Meta Process or Unified Process Template.

UP was the first truly 'mainstream' development process (or process-like thing) espousing an iterative and incremental approach. Unfortunately, because it was in fact a meta-process and attempted to be an all encompassing template rather than a singular process or method, mainstream IT started doing what they do best: blinding/literally applying *everything* in it.

It was only a matter of time before you had RUP dictators mandating the whole kit and kaboodle, and then you could hear the gears of progress grinding to a halt, budgets being blown and trees the world over mourning their genocide in the name of the grand Heavy Weight Methodology.

Yes, Grady worked for (in fact, founded) Rational and so deserves a lot of the blame. But he was off 'on tour' as a tech rock star by the time RUP and the prescriptive tooling were rolled out.

And none of this changes the fact that the man can communicate effectively. Both his writings and his talks are unfailingly interesting and usually useful too.

So I'll keep my eye on this latest from one of my tech heroes of the 90s. He may have been subsumed in my eyes by Fowler and Goetz and Bloch and Beck, but I'll continue listening.

He did after all, give us Clouds (no, not cloud computing - the arguably even more influential cloud diagrams).

Speaking of Grady, check out this discussion he had with Michael Cote on a variety of topics last year. Concurrency, DSLs, UML, etc. Pretty good. Boy, Grady is looking ever more the part of the wise old guru on the mountain top (or maybe just more like his 'namesake' from Sanford and Son). Pretty far from his days at the Air Force Academy.

Hey, I still buy the new Springsteen albums when they come out, and the Clash overtook him in my book back in 1978.

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