Monday, January 16, 2006


Jeff Schneider puts in a plea for optimism, and comes close to equating pessimism with ignorance. But surely there would be something seriously wrong with SOA (or any new technology for that matter) if it couldn't be successfully implemented by pessimists? And there's certainly something wrong with a technology champion who expresses disdain for the people he cannot instantly convince.

In my view, it is not the role of the architect to be optimistic. That's the job of the developer. The architect's job is to be cautiously realistic, and to ask critical questions. The history of civil engineering is full of gothic cathedrals and suspension bridges that fell down (or levees that broke) because their designers (or their paymasters) were too optimistic.

There is perhaps an Anglo-American cultural issue here, which is manifested in recent discussions about Iraq. [See Duck of Minerva, 'Aqoul] Many Americans appear to be impatient of critical questions, which they may well regard as British negativity.

But I think SOA is robust enough to withstand these cultural differences. Is that just another form of optimism?

Clarification Update
By the way, I am not saying here that SOA is a technology, let alone a set of devices. It is probably better to describe it as a set of practices with strong technological associations. But of course a technology champion typically champions technological practices, not just products.

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