10/26/2008

Software Industry is not matured yet - SOA Hype is an example

I have been part of software industry for a decade now. I had always heard few statements by other engineering practice expert, specially Mechanical and Civil Engineering experts saying that

"Software industry is not as matured as Mechanical or Civil Engineering is."

Being part of this community, I was never able to accept this fact. In fact, I remember college days when I had read about reusability and other great practices adopted by our software industry. We are part of an industry which has grown extra ordinary in last century (rather few decades).  Great thing about our industry is the open source communities which are doing selfless work for whole world.

Right now I am working for a big networking company's IT department, and observed a heavy inclination of management towards Service Oriented Architecture (SOA).  I have read a whole bunch of articles on SOA on http://www.theserverside.com and many people have written about this as a hype of SOA architecture. I just wanted to write this post as it has not changed much despite lots of people trying to communicate the right way of utilizing such a beautiful architecture. My management seems so inclined to SOA that even our architects want to create services of almost everything. Sometimes we don't even understand why?

I am sure architects of our industry are not so immature that they would suggest it that way, but I can observe the pressure and expectation from top management, which forces good architects to do so. In my opinion top management thinks that you are a great architect if you create lots of services out of anything or everything.

            I have been to many interviews where job posting said they are looking for a "Software Architect", and as soon as they start interview they ask about SOA. I always wanted to tell them that only SOA is not Software architecture there are many other architectural solutions available and one solution doesn't fit all. What should be the first question (or important question) for such an interview, I assume "How would you chose a architectural solution?. Instead of asking that, people start with asking about WSDL tags and serviceregistry.xml, which annoys me even more.  I know there are many fake profiles floating around and its difficult to chose the right guy for your job, which forces interviewers to ask so specific questions about a technology, but what about asking fundamentals. I understood that they are not looking for a Software Architect but a SOA Architect.

I appeared for a niche segment consulting company, and they took 7-8 rounds of interviews starting from my fundamental approach to design till very specific questions of a technology like JSF, Struts. I am convinced that they should be niche segment consulting as they are very focused on selecting fundamentally strong people which is going to be their strength.

            People in this industry don't take things as seriously as it is taken in Civil or Mechanical engineering. A wrong choice of architecture would be fatal, and could harm human lives. Just imagine the architecture of Golden Bridge in SFO or Brooklyn Bridge in NYC, even after so many years of being built they still stand strong with great use.  I have never seen any "software" standing for more then 5 years like that. In fact that is the whole point that people in our industry don't take fundamental design and architecture concepts seriously as they know that collapse of it will not to be as hazardous as a collapse of a Bridge.

Now I agree that we are not as matured as other engineering practices, SOA is just another example. In fact we would never be so due to nature of our work.

What do you think? Let me know your thoughts.


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12 comments:

  1. This isn't happening first time, I have seen many architects who are still not sure if they are software architects or SOA architects. What so ever it is, its a high pay job i guess.

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  2. AnonymousMay 14, 2009

    I totally agree. A similar funny post about SOA and buzzwords in general can be found here
    http://fixingsoftware.blogspot.com/2009/02/joel-on-crack.html

    ReplyDelete
  3. AnonymousMay 14, 2009

    "In fact that is the whole point that people in our industry don't take fundamental design and architecture concepts seriously as they know that collapse of it will not to be as hazardous as a collapse of a Bridge."

    System/Software Safety, e.g. manned flying and under water systems, weapons systems, medical and life supporting systems, industrial robots, space crafts. They all contain software these days, my line of job, please don't tell me I'm not taking it as seriously as building a bridge. I know, it may not represent the majority of software systems out there but not all buildings are as well built as the Golden Bridge in SFO or Brooklyn Bridge in NYC either. The story about "Three Little Pigs" comes to mind...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Software Industry is a mess compared with other industries. There is to much propetary shit, Nobody follow standards, Everyday somebody come with a new scripting language that they said will be the next big thing.

    I suggest better to change this perspective and begin to use and follow open standards and standard programming languages and say good bye to the M$ shitty software once for all.

    ReplyDelete
  5. well that industry is us... and we are the one to decide what to chose... I guess problem is more in situations when people try to overpower your architecture role and force you to adopt something stupid just because everyone else is doing it....and if you don't do it someone else would propose and talk big .... so if u wannt save ur job u would just please ur boss...nothing else .... I guess only in case of open source frameworks people are able to work freely with all innovation freedom...

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  6. " System/Software Safety, e.g. manned flying and under water systems, weapons systems, medical and life supporting systems, industrial robots, space crafts. They all contain software these days, my line of job, please don't tell me I'm not taking it as seriously as building a bridge. "

    I don't disagree with this, few domains in Software can be more critical then Golden Gate bridge too. In fact these domains need to have a much better reliability then 6-sigma/10-sigma.

    My opinion is, its due to the nature of our work things are not taken so seriously as they should be.

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  7. True, the ORM hype is another example. It has caused many failures and delays, and millions of dollars of lost time, yet no one seems to be affected and complaining.

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  8. True, such hypes are difficult to get away with. People take long time to get away from such hypes.

    Many MNCs have spent millions of dollars on SOA now they have to keep spending on maintaining it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I tend to agree with you. SOA is being very well sold to top managers, who think it is awesome but have no clue what it means.
    I don't think IT can be compared with the engineering of a bridge. The problem is that:
    1) as you said, there is no one size fits all.
    2) developers are almost like artists. The code they build depends a lot on the developers, their style, their accumulated knowledge... there is not a physical formula like the one you use to measure the pressure of a suspended cable of a bridge
    3) architects are similar to developers. The architecture they come up with depends on what systems you have, what you need them to do, what needs you expect in the future...

    I don't think IT will ever mature to a stage where it can be comparable with building bridges.

    IT is almost an art like music: Software is the instrument; Methodologies are the style; Developers are the musicians... architects are the maestros! :)

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  10. SOA is already dead. The organizations who reaped huge benefits out of SOA hype are busy creating next and MDA is next...:)

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  11. This site is the perfect web site. . Cheers Glenn Prolonoff!

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