Architecture Modeling and Processes




Dear Architect,

Exploring our space—partly science, partly art—is always a fascinating and complex task. We could take the contextual approach and address a context-specific subject, as we did recently (BI, SOA, and so on), or we could take the introspective approach of analyzing the role that we play (how we communicate, how we negotiate, and so on). We covered our role two years ago, during the days of Simon Guest as editor. Yet we could take a third approach that is neither context-specific nor introspective, when we review what we produce.

This 23rd issue of The Architecture Journal is on Architecture Modeling and Processes. The articles that were selected for this occasion deal with aspects such as:

  • Change-enabled architectures. Brandon Satrom and Paul Rayner advise us on how to keep architecture relevant, and not forgotten, after the solution has been implemented.
  • Architecture verification. V. Gnanasekaran explains ways to confirm that a given approach meets specific criteria prior to going to the next level.
  • Enterprise architecture. Sam Holcman details the four pillars of success.
  • Adaptable solutions for different deployment contexts. Charlie Alfred identifies the implications and trade-offs, with illustrative examples.
  • Unified Modeling Language (UML) vs. Domain-Specific Languages (DSLs). Lenny Fenster and Brooke Hamilton dive in to the pros and cons of both alternatives, and show that these can eventually be combined.
  • Maturing architectures in agile processes. I wish that I had read articles like Alan Wills’s or Diego Fontdevila and Martín Salías’s before starting my first agile process last decade—when I couldn’t deal with the fact that the next release was in three weeks, and I felt unable to complete my architecture in less than two-and-a-half months.

The latest articles in this issue show specific examples that use the upcoming Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 suite. We are less than a month away from the launch of this Microsoft tool for .NET development, which—since its 2005 version—has been incorporating aspects of application life-cycle management (ALM) that span way beyond developer boundaries to include project managers, testers, user leads, and architects. For these latter stakeholders, the incorporation of UML support plus an extra layer diagram will serve later to avoid improper cross-layer references in code. The newly added Architecture Explorer allows matching architecture components easily with their respective implementation source code. It’s remarkable that our prime development tool has been consistently awarded as the best IDE for several years now.

On that note, I’ll finish my intro by thanking my guest editor-in-chief for this occasion, Peter Provost, Microsoft Sr. Program Manager for Visual Studio 2010 Architect Edition. Peter helped me understand the IDE landscape and its crossovers with the architect’s job, in order to select for you the most relevant information about how much Microsoft addresses those issues in Visual Studio 2010. I must extend the acknowledgement to the editorial board that helped Peter and me review the papers during the authoring phases.

We hope that you enjoy this issue. Don’t forget to review the 10-minute videos that we’ve made as companion material. As usual, you can send us your comments at


Diego Dagum


This issue is also available as a PDF. Download it here.