Back Table of Contents Open New Window Print Page Print Document Help Next
Thesis Research
The research involves a literature analysis of "Building Architecture" and case studies of projects involving "Software Architecture". It makes use of story telling and a patterns language to convey the assumption that there is a link between Building Architecture and Software Architecture and other architecture intensive disciplines. The link involves architectural theory, design and construction. The patterns are drawn to illustrate some of these links. Observations are presented as context of how the pattern applied to the respective case studies.
The Drivers
The concept that building architecture can be used as a reference for architecture intensive disciplines comes from a number of driving forces.
The Bauhaus Movement
Prior to entering the information technology sector, I had studied fine arts and graphics to pursue a career in commercial art and design. At the time I took an interest in the Bauhaus school of art of the early 1900s because of its influence on modern design and its approach to combining "art and science". Upon getting involved in computer graphics and then programming, there was an immediate attraction towards object orientation, visual modeling and software architecture. Modeling notations can be linked to the style of modernist thinking and abstraction. Hence, the profession of software architecture was appealing because of its link with art and architecture.

Today, many people associate software architecture with the Unified Modeling Language. Not all information technology professionals see a link between building architecture and software development - let alone the link with modernist thinking. It seems a widely held view or perception that computing is all together new and has little to do with the past. It has become almost unfashionable in the industry to associate it with anything other than the future.
Contracting as a Software Architect
For commercial reasons it was easier to contract on the Microsoft platform. However, much of object orientated methodologies and established software engineering principles were lacking in projects using Rapid Application Development (RAD). Each project experience entrenched the idea that architectural thinking was relevant. Despite what was happening with RAD, there were architects at Microsoft such as David Vaskevitch who provided inspiration to think beyond the tools.

Over the years I have specifically focused on software architecture and software engineering of repository based systems, Computer Aided Software Engineering (CASE) tools, client server and web based application frameworks and libraries.
The Worldwide Institute of Software Architects
I joined the World Wide Institute of Software Architects because Marc Sewell's idea of Software Architecture as an extension of (building) architecture, struck a cord. In particular the idea of gaining industry recognition and establishing academic direction and support was appealing.
The Software Crisis and Postmodernism
The paper by Hall et al. on "Postmodern Software Development" postulated on the link between software engineering and modernism and that the software crisis is an extension of the social cultural phenomenon of postmodernism.
Black Economic Empowerment in IT
Architecture is a knowledge issue and there is a real need to address empowerment in the country through a shift in thinking. There exists an opportunity to identify architecture intensive disciplines as vehicles for mentorship and the creation of knowledge workers.
Extreme Programming and Christopher Alexander
Friends have introduced other sources of architectural knowledge. Hence, Kent Beck's work on Extreme Programming and the many references to Christopher Alexander also contributed to the body of research material.
Story Telling and Software Patterns
Finally, the art of story telling and software patterns as architectural tools resulted in the compilation of the story and the patterns derived from them. This is the approach taken in this research. As such you are encouraged to read a story with little reference to information technology in order to gain a broader perspective of architecture. There are 50 patterns derived from the story which were placed in the context of two past projects as case studies of software architecture and other architecture intensive disciplines.
Back Page 3 Next