The high-level design and description of a software system. Architectural design distills away details of implementations, algorithms, and data representation to concentrate on the interaction of "black box" components.

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417
votes
33answers
201k views

How do I create my own programming language and a compiler for it [closed]

I am thorough with programming and have come across languages including BASIC, FORTRAN, COBOL, LISP, LOGO, Java, C++, C, MATLAB, Mathematica, Python, Ruby, Perl, JavaScript, Assembly and so on. I can'...
117
votes
17answers
25k views

Is premature optimization really the root of all evil?

A colleague of mine today committed a class called ThreadLocalFormat, which basically moved instances of Java Format classes into a thread local, since they are not thread safe and "relatively ...
100
votes
9answers
16k views

Is there any “real” reason multiple inheritance is hated?

I've always liked the idea of having multiple inheritance supported in a language. Most often though it's intentionally forgone, and the supposed "replacement" is interfaces. Interfaces simply do ...
98
votes
8answers
8k views

What is the most effective way to add functionality to unfamiliar, structurally unsound code? [duplicate]

This is probably something everyone has to face during the development sooner or later. You have an existing code written by someone else, and you have to extend it to work under new requirements. ...
88
votes
9answers
58k views

Don't Use “Static” in C#?

I submitted an application I wrote to some other architects for code review. One of them almost immediately wrote me back and said "Don't use "static". You can't write automated tests with static ...
87
votes
17answers
23k views

Is it a good idea to design an architecture thinking that the User Interface classes can be replaced by a command line interface?

In Code Complete page 25, it's said that it's a good idea to be able to easily replace the regular user interface classes by a command line one. Knowing its advantages for testing, what about the ...
84
votes
17answers
70k views

Is it better to return NULL or empty values from functions/methods where the return value is not present?

I am looking for a recommendation here. I am struggling with whether it is better to return NULL or an empty value from a method when the return value is not present or cannot be determined. Take ...
80
votes
9answers
29k views

Why did Alan Kay say, “The Internet was so well done, but the web was by amateurs”?

OK, so I paraphrased. The full quote: The Internet was done so well that most people think of it as a natural resource like the Pacific Ocean, rather than something that was man-made. When was the ...
74
votes
12answers
29k views

What is the advantage of little endian format?

Intel processors (and maybe some others) use the little endian format for storage. I always wonder why someone would want to store the bytes in reverse order. Does this format have any advantages ...
70
votes
11answers
5k views

Advice on designing web application with a 40+ year lifetime

Scenario Currently, I am apart of a health care project whose main requirement is to capture data with unknown attributes using user generated forms by health care providers. The second requirement ...
68
votes
17answers
7k views

How to train yourself to avoid writing “clever” code? [closed]

Do you know that feeling when you just need to show off that new trick with Expressions or generalize three different procedures? This does not have to be on Architecture Astronaut scale and in fact ...
62
votes
13answers
6k views

Why is it a good idea for “lower” application layers not to be aware of “higher” ones?

In a typical (well-designed) MVC web app, the database is not aware of the model code, the model code is not aware of the controller code, and the controller code is not aware of the view code. (I ...
60
votes
11answers
6k views

“Everything is a Map”, am I doing this right?

I watched Stuart Sierra's talk "Thinking In Data" and took one of the ideas from it as a design principle in this game I'm making. The difference is he's working in Clojure and I'm working in ...
55
votes
19answers
3k views

Dealing with awful estimates

A recent project I worked on was proven to be severely underestimated by the architect. The estimate was out by at least 500%. Unfortunately I was brought onto the project after the estimate had ...
53
votes
12answers
3k views

How to take a step back and look at code with fresh eyes? [closed]

I've spent the last year as a one-man team developing a rich-client application (35,000+ LoC, for what it's worth). It's currently stable and in production. However, I know that my skills were rusty ...
52
votes
17answers
10k views

Working on someone else's code

I have hardly a year's experience in coding. After I started working, most of the time I would be working on someone else's code, either adding new features over the existing ones or modifying the ...
50
votes
3answers
11k views

How is architectural design done in an agile environment?

I have read Principles for the Agile Architect, where they defined next principles : Principle #1 The teams that code the system design the system. Principle #2 Build the simplest architecture ...
46
votes
14answers
8k views

Are there problems with using Reflection?

I don't know why, but I always feel like I am "cheating" when I use reflection - maybe it is because of the performance hit I know I am taking. Part of me says, if it is part of the language you are ...
43
votes
14answers
8k views

Is there any reason not to go directly from client-side Javascript to a database?

Possible Duplicate: Writing Web “server less” applications So, let's say I'm going to build a Stack Exchange clone and I decide to use something like CouchDB as my backend store. If I use ...
43
votes
11answers
4k views

As a software architect, am I supposed to focus that much on analysing the logs and fixing other's bugs?

Since my graduation (late 2005) I was working for the same company as a c++ software engineer. A year ago I was promoted as a software architect but I have found myself involved more and more in ...
43
votes
4answers
3k views

Why do so many namespaces start with com

I've noticed that a lot of companies use "reverse domain name" namespaces and I'm curious where that practice originated and why it continues. Does it merely continue because of rote practice, or is ...
42
votes
6answers
32k views

How essential is it to make a service layer?

I started building an app in 3 layers (DAL, BL, UI) [it mainly handles CRM, some sales reports and inventory]. A colleague told me that I must move to service layer pattern, that developers came to ...
40
votes
9answers
2k views

What can one do when “lead by example” doesn't work? [closed]

I have been working for a big company (8000+ employees) for almost 2 years now, and was hired just after I finished my study course. Everyone here has to deal daily with legacy code which is often ...
40
votes
9answers
14k views

Should Repositories return IQueryable?

I have been seeing a lot of projects that have repositories that return instances of IQueryable. This allows additional filters and sorting can be performed on the IQueryable by other code, which ...
38
votes
17answers
3k views

Software Design: Build it fast or build it well?

When building a non-trivial application, is it best to focus on getting things working quickly, and taking shortcuts in the code like mixing model logic with your views, breaking encapsulation - ...
38
votes
7answers
4k views

How do I stop designing and start architecting this project as suggested by my lead? [closed]

I'm a junior developer (~3 years' exp.) and at my job we're in the process of architecting a new system. My lead developer will be the principal architect, however he's challenged me to try ...
36
votes
5answers
8k views

Why is it so bad to read data from a database “owned” by a different microservice

I have recently read this excellent article on the microservice architecture: http://www.infoq.com/articles/microservices-intro It states that when you load a web page on Amazon, then 100+ ...
34
votes
11answers
5k views

Ensure that each class has only one responsibility, why?

According to Microsoft documentation, the Wikipedia SOLID principe article, or most IT architects we must ensure that each class has only one responsibility. I would like to know why, because if ...
34
votes
6answers
3k views

Re-inventing system design for Scala

Many, many, moons ago, I did my masters in Object Orientated Software Engineering. I covered everything: project initiation, requirements, analysis, design, architecture, development, etc, etc. My ...
32
votes
20answers
45k views

Best books on the theory and practice of software architecture? [closed]

I have a couple of developers at my company who wish to move from programming into architecture. What are the best books out there on the theory and practice of software architecture? Include a cover ...
32
votes
6answers
30k views

What is the role of the lead developer in an agile team?

In a non-agile development team a lead developer generally: Sets the standard (coding and otherwise) Researches new technologies for the team Sets the technical direction for the team Has the final ...
32
votes
8answers
2k views

S.O.L.I.D., avoiding anemic domains, dependency injection?

Although this could be a programming language agnostic question, I'm interested in answers targeting the .NET ecosystem. This is the scenario: suppose we need to develop a simple console application ...
31
votes
9answers
5k views

Are abstract classes / methods obsolete?

I used to create a lot of abstract classes / methods. Then I started using interfaces. Now I am not sure if interfaces aren't making abstract classes obsolete. You need a fully abstract class? ...
31
votes
11answers
3k views

Well designed / high-quality open source software [closed]

I'm taking a software design class where I should choose an open source software to analyze from the Software Design point of view. It has to be a big project: not less then 100,000 lines of code. I ...
31
votes
8answers
6k views

Can manager classes be a sign of bad architecture?

Lately I've begun to think that having lots of manager classes in your design is a bad thing. The idea hasn't matured enough for me to make a compelling argument, but here's a few general points: I ...
31
votes
4answers
14k views

REST - Tradeoffs between content negotiation via Accept header versus extensions

I'm working through designing a RESTful API. We know we want to return JSON and XML for any given resource. I had been thinking we would do something like this: GET /api/something?param1=value1 ...
31
votes
6answers
2k views

How to handle initial state in an event-driven architecture?

In an event-driven architecture each component only acts when an event is sent through the system. Imagine a hypothetical car with a brake pedal and a brake light. The brake light turns on when it ...
30
votes
15answers
2k views

What can programmers learn from the construction industry? [closed]

When talking with colleagues about software design and development principles, I've noticed one of the most common sources for analogies is the construction industry. We build software and we ...
29
votes
6answers
8k views

Is it okay to have code smells if it admits an easier solution to another problem? [closed]

A group of friends and I have been working on a project for the past little while, and we wanted to invent a nice OOP way of representing a scenario specific to our product. Basically, we're working ...
29
votes
5answers
5k views

If a number is too big does it spill over to the next memory location?

I've been reviewing C programming and there are just a couple things bothering me. Let's take this code for example: int myArray[5] = {1, 2, 2147483648, 4, 5}; int* ptr = myArray; int i; for(i=0; i&...
28
votes
7answers
2k views

Are there architecture smells?

There are tons of resources on the web referring to and listing code smells. However, I've never seen information on architectural smells. Is this defined somewhere, and is there a list available? ...
28
votes
1answer
961 views

If the spec is flawed, should it still be followed?

I have been assigned to develop an integration to one of my employer's applications to an external system developed by our client. Our client's specification for the integration that has some blatant ...
27
votes
8answers
4k views

Value of using private methods vs all public in classes for internal software for ease of unit testing [duplicate]

Here's a skeleton of a class I built that loops through and deduplicates data - it's in C# but the principles of the question aren't language specific. public static void DedupeFile(FileContents fc) {...
27
votes
10answers
7k views

What is good (neat) architecture in programming a simple website, e.g. a contact book?

When I build a simple website, e.g. a contact book where I can add, delete and update contacts, I create an index.php file where a user, if he's not logged in, is requested to enter a password and if ...
27
votes
3answers
14k views

How to build completely modular web applications [closed]

In the coming months we're going to begin a project where we take a system we've built for a client (v1) and rebuild it from scratch. Our goal with v2 is to make it modular, so that this specific ...
27
votes
6answers
20k views

What are some arguments AGAINST using EntityFramework? [closed]

The application I am currently building has been using Stored procedures and hand-crafted class models to represent database objects. Some people have suggested using Entity Framework and I am ...
27
votes
2answers
30k views

Best Practices for MVC Architecture [closed]

My question is more about how to architect an MVC application. For example, we are encouraged to use DI with the Repository pattern to decouple data access from the controller, however very little is ...
25
votes
8answers
17k views

Why do large websites use different languages for the backend and frontend?

My understanding from small MVC applications is that you have the front end, which deals with HTML, JS, jQuery, etc, and you have the back end, which consists of your controllers and models. However,...
25
votes
9answers
4k views

How do you organize highly customized software?

I'm working on a large software project which is highly customized for various customers arround the world. This means that we have maybe 80% code which is common between the various customers, but ...
25
votes
8answers
32k views

What software can be used to create architecture diagrams? [closed]

I use MS Visio for most of my design/architecting work when I need to be able to save the diagram somewhere and edit it later. I'm not the biggest fan of Visio, but it gets the job done (and it's free ...