A Risk-Driven Approach

This is a practical guide for software developers, and different than other software architecture books. Here's why:

It teaches risk-driven architecting. There is no need for meticulous designs when risks are small, nor any excuse for sloppy designs when risks threaten your success. This book describes a way to do just enough architecture. It avoids the one-size-fits-all process tar pit with advice on how to tune your design effort based on the risks you face.

It democratizes architecture. This book seeks to make architecture relevant to all software developers. Developers need to understand how to use constraints as guiderails that ensure desired outcomes, and how seemingly small changes can affect a system's properties.

It cultivates declarative knowledge. There is a difference between being able to hit a ball and knowing why you are able to hit it, what psychologists refer to as procedural knowledge versus declarative knowledge. This book will make you more aware of what you have been doing and provide names for the concepts.

It emphasizes the engineering. This book focuses on the technical parts of software development and what developers do to ensure the system works not job titles or processes. It shows you how to build models and analyze architectures so that you can make principled design tradeoffs. It describes the techniques software designers use to reason about medium to large sized problems and points out where you can learn specialized techniques in more detail.

It provides practical advice. Software design decisions influence the architecture and vice versa. The approach in this book embraces drill-down/pop-up behavior by describing models that have various levels of abstraction, from architecture to data structure design.

George Fairbanks

Who is George Fairbanks?

I’m a software developer, consultant, educator, and speaker. I’ve been developing software since the mid-80’s and teaching software design since the late 1990’s.

Is he an academic or an industry guy?

A bit of both. I’ve got a Ph.D. in Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, advised by David Garlan and Bill Scherlis. My dissertation introduced design fragments, a new way to specify and assure the correct use of frameworks through static analysis. I have publications on frameworks and software architecture in selective academic conferences, including OOPSLA and ICSE.

In the Spring of 2008 I was the co-instructor for the graduate software architecture course at Carnegie Mellon University, but otherwise my teaching has been in industry (banks, internet companies, NASA, etc.).

I have written production code for telephone switches, plugins for the Eclipse IDE, and everything for my own web dot-com startup (which was pretty similar to Wikipedia and founded in the same month, but you can guess how that panned out). I am somewhat dangerous at many levels of computing starting with building my own Linux boxes up through enterprise architecture and strategy. Full resume

I’m currently a software engineer at Google.