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Should Architects Write Code

Should Architects Write Code? You Bet They Should!

There’s a common misconception that’s permeated our profession: Architects don’t need to write code to do their jobs.

Now, this may seem like a harmless approach. After all, writing code is what developers do. And architects should be busy with more important tasks.

However, keeping architects from writing code can limit the potential of your development teams. It can also result in an architectural mess when requirements and business needs change.

So today let’s look at why giving your software architect time to write code is a good thing. But first, we’ll start off by looking at what life is like as an architect.

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Hexagonal_Architecture_What_Is_It_and_How_Does_It_Work

Hexagonal Architecture: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Hexagonal architecture is a model or pattern for designing software applications. The idea behind it is to put inputs and outputs at the edges of your design. In doing so, you isolate the central logic (the core) of your application from outside concerns. Having inputs and outputs at the edge means you can swap out their handlers without changing the core code.

One major appeal of using hexagonal architecture is that it makes your code easier to test. You can swap in fakes for testing, which makes the tests more stable.

Hexagonal architecture was a departure from layered architecture. It’s possible to use dependency injection and other techniques in layered architecture to enable testing. But there’s a key difference in the hexagonal model: The UI can be swapped out, too. And this was the primary motivation for the creation of hexagonal architecture in the first place. There’s a bit of interesting trivia about its origins. The story goes a little like this….

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layered_architecture_solid_aproach_ndepend

Layered Architecture: Still a Solid Approach

Layered architecture gets a lot of flack.

Even though it’s still the most prevalent architecture, we view it as an anti-pattern. It’s old, not scaleable, and anti-SOLID. It encourages (shudder) monoliths!

Yes, I know. Hexagonal architecture is the way to go. Or maybe I’m feeling a taste for onions. But only if it’s clean!

The point is that even though it may not be an object-oriented nirvana, layered architecture is still a useful pattern. And if done right, it paves the way towards more advanced designs and architecture.

So let’s talk about layers.

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Software Architecture Document? You Don’t Need That

In the spirit of the Agile Manifesto, we’ve reduced our dependence on software documentation. In some ways, this has improved our lives. And in other ways, it’s been taken too far and had the opposite effect.

The manifesto values “working software over comprehensive documentation,” which isn’t to say that documentation isn’t necessary. All too often, the baby is thrown out with the bathwater, and teams produce little to no documentation at all—including the software architecture document.

So which bits of documentation should we throw out and which should we still deliver? Indeed, we should prioritize those deliverables like any other user story. Some organizations will place a higher value on certain documents than others. Nearly all should put more priority on creating a software architecture document. Here’s why…

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design_patters_that_have_aged_poorly_ndepend

3 Design Patterns That Have Aged Poorly

Design patterns seem to be a controversial topic. On one hand, many developers seem to love them and treat the famous book by the Gang of Four like sacred scripture. On the other hand, many developers loath the very idea of design patterns. It’s not too hard to find posts around the web with titles such as “Design Patterns are Bad Design,” “Following Design Patterns Is A Bad Idea,” and of course, the inevitable “Design Patterns Considered Harmful.”

What can we take from that? Well, as it is with pretty much everything in our industry, it’s really hard to reach some form of consensus on design patterns. My take is this: design patterns are tools. Some are more useful, others less useful. Some may be outright harmful. And others may not make sense for your scenario, but maybe for Joe who sits three desks from you, they’re a gift from heaven.

But that’s not what this post is really about (i.e. deciding whether design patterns are “good” or “bad”). As we’ve seen, such discussion is simplistic and misses the point.

What we’re going to do instead is cover three design patterns that haven’t aged quite well. These design patterns are ones that you no longer go around implementing. And if you do, you probably shouldn’t.

Let’s get started.

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Software_architecture_5_patterns_you_need_to_know

Software Architecture: the 5 Patterns You Need to Know

When I was attending night school to become a programmer, I learned several design patterns: singleton, repository, factory, builder, decorator, etc. Design patterns give us a proven solution to existing and recurring problems. What I didn’t learn was that a similar mechanism exists on a higher level: software architecture patterns. These are patterns for the overall layout of your application or applications. They all have advantages and disadvantages. And they all address specific issues.

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Continuing Our Clean Architecture Example in C Sharp

Continuing Our Clean Architecture Example in C#

After a somewhat long delay, it’s time to finally continue our series on clean architecture. This is the second post in the inner series in which we show you a quick implementation of said architecture and the third post in the overall series. In case you haven’t read the previous posts, please do so by using the links in the series layout below:

Without further ado, let’s continue our implementation.

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log4net vs NLog A Comparison of How They Affect Codebases

Log4net vs NLog: A Comparison of How They Affect Codebases

Ah, the old “versus” Google search.  Invariably, you’re in the research stage of some decision when you type this word into a search engine.  Probably not something like Coke vs Pepsi.  Maybe “C# vs Java for enterprise projects” or “angular vs react.”  Or if you landed here, perhaps you’re looking at “log4net vs NLog.”

With a search like this, you expect a certain standard script.  The writer should describe each one anecdotally, perhaps with a history.  Then comes the matrix with a list of features and checks and exes for each one, followed by a sober list of strengths and weaknesses.  Then, with a flourish, I should finish with a soggy conclusion that it really depends on your needs, but I maybe kinda sorta like one better.

I’m not going to do any of that. Continue reading Log4net vs NLog: A Comparison of How They Affect Codebases

Text over the depths of the ocean

Imperative Programming in Depth

Programming languages come in all shapes and sizes: interpreted vs. compiled, weak vs. strong typing, low-level vs. high-level, terse vs. expressive… There are many buckets you can put a programming language into, even though not all are equally meaningful.

One very common way people classify languages is to organize them into paradigms. You can think of a paradigm as a group of languages that share similar characteristics. There are many paradigms currently in use: procedural, functional, and object-oriented. Many of these terms are often misused or confused; there’s also some degree of overlap between different paradigms, which definitely doesn’t make things easier.

Add all of that together and what you get is a landscape that’s not too easy for a beginner to grasp.  In today’s post, we’ll try and fix this situation by giving you a clear picture of the imperative programming paradigm.

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