Pat and John Are Blogging Again

I keep bugging Greg about better folder hierarchy support in NewsGator. While I have some news feeds directly under my news folder (Don Box, Dilbert, my dad) I categorize most of my feeds into subfolders. One subfolder is for MSFT architects – my teammates, Michael, Keith & Kevin among others. That folder is where I typically start reading, esp. when I’m a week behind.

After a long absence, both Pat and John are blogging again. Pat’s been busy working on his new talks that he will be presenting at TechEd Amsterdam. We will be taping them for inclusion in the Architecture Strategy Series. He’s got a surprise planned for the end of his Metropolis overview talk (GNLARC) that I’m in charge of getting up on the web as soon as possible after it happens…watch this space…

John has written two pieces – on SOA and smart clients. John’s amped about the SCAG and he blogs about his smart client thoughts. I liked his observation that building browser-based apps “is all about service provider ease of delivery” while smart clients are “all about service consumer ease of use”. Today, ease of delivery wins out over ease of use, but I wonder how long that will last.

However interesting John’s views on smart clients are, I typically have long conversations with him about the finer points of SOA. A conversation that starts with “Got a sec?” typically turns into an extended discussion with crowded whiteboards. What I’ve realized recently is that John and I tend to approach a topic very differently. John is very pragmatic, so he tends to disagree with my more radical opinions (such as the endangered middle tier) which aren’t really feasible in the short term. I, on the other hand, start from a desired state and work backwards, trying to figure out what short term investments will lead to the long-term ideas. I used to think John and I disagreed about the desirable granularity of services. What it turns out is that we agree about what we want, but he focused on the fact we can’t feasibly build fine-grained services in the short term while I glossed over that fact and thought about what we needed to make fine-grained services feasible in the long term. Neither viewpoint is right or wrong, in fact they are very complementary. John keeps me grounded in reality while I push the limits of his event horizon. Among the recent topics of debate:

  • How fine grained should services be?
  • Should customers be thinking about building domain specific languages?
  • How will the role of the ISV’s and SI’s evolve?
  • How much of a typical enterprise should be outsourced?
  • Is a service-oriented architecture more data-centric or process-centric?
  • What would a requirements modeling language look like?
  • What is the most important criteria for evaluating software systems for the enterprise?

Keep it up, John.