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Dr. Dobb's Architecture & Design World

Amber is Conference Manager for Dr. Dobb's Events. She can be reached at [email protected]

Dr. Dobb's Architecture & Design World ( returns to the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago, kicking off on July 21 with four days of real-world training for software architects, developers, and modeling/design professionals.

New to this year's program are tracks focusing on:

  • Service-Oriented Architecture/Web Services.
  • Solutions/Technical Architectures.
  • Roll-Up-Your-Sleeves.
  • Agile Development and Methods.
  • Traditional Development and Methods.
  • Modeling and Design.

"Watching changes in the software landscape led us to update and add to our conference tracks," said Conference Director Tamara Carter. "For instance, while SOA/Web Services technology has been consistently covered at Architecture & Design World, SOA's growing importance warrants its own track. SOA is no longer a pipe—it's changing the way software and software systems are designed and built. Because most companies are faced with pursuing a service-oriented architecture with the added complexity of integrating legacy systems, we've focused our courses on practical, real-world topics." Specifically, the new SOA track offers:

  • "SOA in Practice," a two-part tutorial by Nicolai Jossutis.
  • "Designing Service-Oriented Applications," by Mike Rosen.

Rosen will also kick-off the event with his keynote "Learning the Secret Handshake: 10 Things an Architect Does." Despite the popularity of the "software architect" job title, there can be confusion about what an architect does; so in this session, Rosen moves beyond the hype, describing what architects actually do and examining the skills required for success. Rosen, who is CTO at Wilton Consulting Group and author of Designing E-business Systems and Architectures, is also teaching "Enterprise Architecture by Example" at Architecture & Design World.

Mike Rosen.

According to Rosen, "There's been a tremendous growth in architecture in the past few years. Architecture & Design World brings together some of the leading practitioners to share their knowledge, experience, and insight."

He went on to explain that the field of enterprise architecture is growing rapidly, so there are lots of missteps to watch out for. "Too many EA programs aren't meeting expectations. Sometimes, we forget that creating architecture itself provides no value. The value comes when we apply architecture to projects. A&D can help people avoid the common mistakes."

You can find additional practical advice in the Solutions/Technical Architectures track, which includes courses such as:

  • Rosen's "EA by Example."
  • Ian Sutton's course on large codebase architecture.
  • "Building Scalable, Distributed Enterprise .NET Solutions with nServiceBus," by Udi Dahan.

The new Roll-Up-Your-Sleeves track brings even more hands-on experience, featuring:

  • "Hands-On Mashuppalooza," by John Crupi.
  • "You Just Inherited 1,000,000 Lines of Code, Now What?" by Michael Rozlog.

"I like the idea of a 'roll-up-your-sleeves' track," said Granville "Randy" Miller, a member of the Architecture & Design World Advisory Board. "I get the most out of a conference when there is something that I can 'bring back' from it. I often go back to my room after a day at the conference, pull out the laptop, and try out what I just learned. That's what the Roll-Up-Your-Sleeves track is all about."

Miller, who works in the Project Recovery team for Microsoft Consulting, is teaching:

  • "Recovering Failing Projects"
  • "Building Composite Architectures"
  • "Advanced Use Case Modeling"

"Architecture & Design World is a conference for architects by architects," Miller said. "While each architect may have a slightly different experience, every good architect brings a boatload of experience. I find that the contacts that I get from a conference like this are just as important as any session that I attend."

Another Roll-Up-Your-Sleeves session is "Scaling Everest: Testing a Web Application," by Rod Coffin, Principal Consultant at Improving Enterprises. Coffin described the session by saying that "for the past several years, I have been focusing on agile and lean approaches to developing software, and I see interest in these topics growing at an increasing rate. One consequence of these approaches that I find most interesting is the blurring of roles between development, design, and testing. I find this a very exciting trend because it can have a very positive effect in team dynamics, software quality, and the capability for teams to deliver greater business value in a sustainable manner."

Rod Coffin.

Coffin said, "The increasing acceptance of agile methods has challenged traditional understandings of architecture and design. Consequently, one thing that makes architecture and design exciting is that presenters and attendees are all engaged in this process of continuous redefinition. It's great to interact with so many smart and talented people who all are experiencing this transformation differently and who all have different ideas on how to move the state of the art of software design forward."

Agile development has also earned its own track at Architecture & Design World because of its growing influence in the software development arena. The track features courses taught by Robert Martin, Chris Armstrong, Neal Ford, and James Hobart, and covers topics ranging from skills for Agile designers to a workshop on test-driven development.

Other featured conference speakers include modeling expert Terry Quatrani, who is teaching classes on UML and use cases; Juha Pekka-Tolvanen, examining domain-specific languages and model-driven development; Scott Ambler on agile model driven-development and scaling; plus sessions on composite architectures, open source, mashups, Ruby, TOGAF, and more—not to mention security-expert Hugh Thompson's keynote on "Hackernomics."

Another featured speaker is Udi Dahan, a Microsoft Solutions Architect MVP and .NET expert who will teach classes such as "Intentions & Interfaces: Making Patterns Concrete" and "Avoid a Failed SOA: Business & Autonomous Components to the Rescue."

"After applying SOA in banks, telcos, and SaaS environments, I can safely say that REST is definitely making inroads, but not as a wholesale replacement of its predecessors," Dahan said. "I'm seeing companies incorporating [REST's] strengths alongside current messaging technologies and service-based design patterns. I definitely see this trend continuing as organizations look to simplify some of their infrastructure and web-based interactions."

In addition to training courses, TopCoder and Dr. Dobb's have teamed up to sponsor a software architecture contest that runs concurrently with the event. First prize is an All-Access or VIP pass to a Dr. Dobb's 2009 event.

Also on tap are sponsored table-top displays about the latest tools and processes in software architecture and design; and "Happy Hour" get-togethers that give attendees, speakers, and sponsors a chance to unwind and interact.

Rod Coffin summed up by saying "Dr. Dobb's events do a terrific job of bringing together some of the best minds at the forefront of software development in an intimate and approachable environment. Attendees have an excellent opportunity to gain exposure to new trends, deepen their understanding of current practices, learn from the experiences of others, and to share their own experiences. The best reason to attend Architecture & Design World 2008 is to seek inspiration and rejuvenation through discussion of new innovative approaches to developing software more effectively."

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