Back Table of Contents Open New Window View Diagram Print Page Print Document Help Next
The Patterns: Tactile and Visual. The role of visual and tactile space intuition in abstract architecture.
Tactile and Visual
Building Architecture
The Greeks as tactile thinkers had a different space intuition to that of the Roman visual thinkers. Consider how the Greeks used the post and lintel model as a structure for all their buildings. This one model for all structural problems could not be scaled to address other forms of architecture and thus limited the scope of Greek architecture.  
Architecture Intensive Disciplines
Visualising models and frameworks can help us expand our theoretical and practical understanding of software and systems. We need to be careful about being constrained in one paradigm or have fixed mental models and thinking patterns. While entity diagrams may seem very similar to class diagrams, most data architects visual associations using a relational model whereas object orientated architects use an object model. Many developers find the shift between object orientated software and relational databases to be daunting. Often this impedence mismatch becomes a design problem. But in modern web application development, data can be transformed in a single application through 3 structural models. Data on a web interface may reside in a hierarchical structure in an bound XML container. It can then be sent to a class in an object orientated structure and then stored on a relational database.  
Case Study A: Large Corporate IT
It was interesting to note the varying degrees of difficulty experienced by different individuals mapping xml to objects and objects to relational databases. It is not about the performance issues associated with impedence mismatch, but the paradigm shift required in our mental models when abstracting and designing. Client server developers doing web development for the first time, often have problems with the hierarchical nature of XML (having to parse through the document). Many developers have difficulty in grasping object orientation. Many web developers struggled to understand databases and normalisation.  
Case Study B: Small Commercial Team
There were structural problems in the database design and the source code which could have been addressed if diagrams and models were used in the design (to provide perspective).  
Back Page 47 Next