SEI Insights


SEI Architecture Technology User Network (SATURN) News and Updates

Einar Landre and Jørn Ølmheim, Statoil

by Jacob Tate, Mount St. Mary's University
Einar Landre presented an experience report at the last morning session titled "Systems of Action: A Stack Model for Capability Classification." The subject matter of this presentation delved into the importance of structuring a class of systems that can observe phenomena or processes and then interpret this data and make intelligent decisions.

Michael Keeling, IBM Watson Group
The concept of design as a way of thinking comes from Herbert Simon in 1969. Companies would empathize with the user and work to solve their problems, but this approach had the unintended side effect of focusing too exclusively on the user interface, and there is more to design in software than the user interface. Software architecture is the perspective that holds all the perspectives together: users, business needs, and more.

George Fairbanks, Google
In this experience report, George Fairbanks discusses his recent experiences from assembling large bits of software. He reminds us of how sneakily dependencies become complicated through the analogy of the frog in a gradually heating pot of water. Architects could solve the complexity problem up front in a waterfall process, but how and when can they architecturally intervene in an incremental development process?

Mary Shaw, Carnegie Mellon University

by Jacob Tate, Mount St. Mary's University
The SATURN 2015 Conference is underway, and what a great start! As the largest SATURN Conference to date with over 200 attendees, you can feel the excitement and buzz of the people who traveled from all over the globe to attend. It kicked off yesterday with a few special sessions and classes, but more notably with the introductions and the first keynote speaker this morning. Mary Shaw gave a fast-paced lecture on the progress of engineering in terms of the software discipline. She explored the question "Is software engineering really engineering?" and systematically explained the various definitions of engineering, such as "creating cost-effective solutions to practical problems by applying codified knowledge and building things in the service of mankind."

At SATURN 2015, the software architecture community will put microservices on trial. Here is an abstract of this event, which will take place on Tuesday, April 28, from 5:00 to 6:00 pm:

Microservices architecture has emerged as a widely discussed style of building distributed web and internet systems. Proponents argue that this variant of service-oriented architecture (SOA) is well suited to address the challenges of cloud computing, scalability, increased flexibility, and complexity, among others. But haven’t we seen this all before? Is there really anything new and interesting about microservices architecture? Or is this simply a case of history repeating itself, like the last time service-oriented architectures were all the rage? Microservices architecture is hereby charged with being an attractive nuisance in the first degree. SATURN 2015 has recruited an expert panel of judges to debate the benefits and perils of microservices architecture and help you, the jury, learn the facts and determine the final verdict.

Seventh International Workshop on Managing Technical Debt (MTD 2015) October 2nd 2015, Bremen, Germany, in conjunction ICSME 2015 Delivering complex, large-scale systems faces the ongoing challenge of how best to balance rapid deployment with long-term value. Theoretical foundations and empirical evidence for analyzing and optimizing short- term versus long-term goals in large-scale projects are needed. From the original description—“not quite right code, which we postpone making right”—various people have used the metaphor of technical debt to describe many kinds of debts or ills of software development. On one hand, the practitioner community has increased interest in understanding and managing debt. On the other hand, the research community has an opportunity to study this phenomenon and improve the way it is handled. We can offer software engineers a foundation for managing such tradeoffs based on models of their economic impacts. The workshop will be held in conjunction with the International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution (ICSME 2015), September 29--October 1, 2015, Bremen, Germany. For more information and to participate, see the Workshop Program.

As the field of software architecture has matured over the years, its concepts and terminology can be barriers to newcomers. In past years, the SATURN program was geared toward those who had attended SEI courses or had otherwise steeped themselves in the canon (a pretty hefty bookshelf). For those who had not yet done so, the SEI offered its introductory courses before the conference began.

This year, at no additional cost, the SATURN 2015 technical program includes a series of sessions intended for beginners, novices, and aspiring software architects. This Architecture Boot Camp will be held early in the conference program and led by experienced instructors from the SEI technical staff. You don't have to attend every Boot Camp session, and you can interleave them with the main schedule.

Women in Software Architecture
As part of National Women's History Month, Pittsburgh Urban Media salutes Dr. Mary Shaw, recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2014. Dr. Shaw is a leader in software engineering research whose work on software architecture helped establish it as a recognized discipline, and PUM's interview with her reveals how she got an early start in a field dominated by men and what she is most proud of today. We are pleased that Dr. Shaw will give a keynote talk at SATURN 2015, and we use this week's link roundup to highlight other women of the software architecture discipline who will also present at SATURN 2015. Discovering Alexander's Properties In Your Code: In this presentation from Smalltalks 2014, Rebecca Wirfs-Brock of Wirfs-Brock Associates explains how Christopher Alexander, the building architect, inspired the first software patterns with his patterns for buildings and architecture and why she thinks his latest work could influence how you code.