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Book Reviews

Essential Software Architecture

Ian Gorton, Springer-Verlag New York Inc., Secaucus, NJ, 2006, $59.95, ISBN: 3540287132.

Ian Gorton has produced a well-done, thorough work on software architecture. Writing such a book on this topic is a daunting task. One reason for this is the difficulty of covering all aspects of software architecture in adequate detail without getting into specific problems and losing focus. Essential Software Architecture achieves this delicate balance between generality and specificity as very few texts have done. It will be most appreciated by practicing or aspiring software architects looking for a good reference.

The importance of the nonfunctional aspects of an architecture is often undermined in discussions of software architecture. This is also the case when considering the domain aspects and use of common off-the-shelf solutions. Gorton has done a good job of dealing with all of these aspects. It would have been nice, however, if the architecture concepts covered here were also put into the perspective of enterprise architecture frameworks. Furthermore, some discussion of enterprise architecture evaluation frameworks would have helped in achieving the goals of this book.

Software architecture generally has four important components to consider: principles and practices; documentation; design and analysis; and technical vision. This book covers all of these adequately. The author touches on the various architecture frameworks—such as modeldriven architecture, aspect-oriented architecture, serviceoriented architecture, and agent-based architecture—but he could have provided a little more detail on each one. He also could have spent some time describing perspective-based architecture and the places for its application.

This is, however, a readable, example-based, succinctly presented book. Its strength is that it does not cover all of the details of any topic, but provides enough information for the reader to delve into the details later. A slightly more philosophical treatment would have increased the value of the book, but overall, if I were a software professional interested in becoming a software architect or even a practicing software architect looking for reference material, I would definitely have this book on my shelf. —Shantanu Bhattacharya

The Geek Gap: Why Business and Technology Professionals Don�t Understand Each Other and Why They Need Each Other to Survive

Bill Pfleging, Minda Zetlin, Prometheus Books, 2006, $25.00, ISBN: 1591024153.

Technologists and business professionals continually struggle when trying to collaborate. Each comes from a different perspective, appearing to be incompatible with the other, bringing to the surface differences in values and execution. Authors Bill Pfleging and Minda Zetlin come together in this book to help paint the landscape, identify perceptions, and clarify the reality of why one without the other is doomed: geeks and suits need to get along for either to sustain success in the business world.

Pfleging and Zetlin have written this book for anyone who fails to see that geeks and suits need to get along—and that is far too many of us.

The IT field has increasingly included less technical, more business-minded professionals. Software engineers and IT architects in leadership or customer-facing positions routinely balance technical and business considerations. They often find themselves mediating between the two groups to forge success from what can often be entrenched division. Successful technical and business professionals straddle this gap and are seen as critical to the success of an organization or project.

In 14 chapters, the book defines the geek gap, identifies fundamental differences, details the perceptions of geeks and suits, and discusses how to close the gap. It is filled with first-hand accounts that readers are sure to identify with. At the end of some sections, the authors include some key points for suits and geeks that attempt to provide perspectives for more productive relationships.

The Geek Gap is on the lighter side, which makes for a simple read. If you know there is a gap but are unsure of where to start, pick up this book. In a few hours, you will have a few laughs, as well as a greater understanding of how to be better at what you do, having walked in another pair of shoes. There is no doubt the geek gap is one of the important challenges in this technology-centric world; knowing thy neighbor is a great place to start to make a difference. —Brian D. Goodman

Reprinted from Computing Reviews, © 2007 ACM, http://www.reviews.com

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