Welcome!

AJAX & REA Authors: Jason Bloomberg, Jaime Ryan, Kevin Benedict, Sandi Mappic, Matthew Lobas

Related Topics: SOA & WOA, Java, .NET

SOA & WOA: Blog Feed Post

An Enterprise and Software Architect's Tools of the Trade

It isn't easy keeping up the latest technologies, processes, architectural techniques and enterprise architecture improvements

I have been doing Software Architecture for 16 years and Enterprise Architecture for the past few. Along with architecture I usually find as part of each gig, if not the main focus of each gig, process implementation or at least process improvement is required.

It is not easy keeping up the latest technologies, processes, architectural techniques, and enterprise architecture framework improvements. I am a firm believer that to be an architect, you must also be an experienced developer. I do not believe in the hands off architect role and wish the Ivory Tower Architects would stop claiming to be Architects. They are theorist not architects. Modeling, Governance, and documenting are part of the architect's job, but in order to produce valuable artifacts you need to be getting your hands dirty.



I also run into a ton of Googler-Developers. Meaning they have no idea why they are using the code they are using, they just know someone else posted it so it must work. Google has been one of the biggest assets and one of the biggest downfalls for the development community. Proof of concepts are one of the most important parts of the architecture process, and Google has made it easy for developers and architects to shortcut the learning and thinking part of the process.

Back in 1994 when I started my own business I decided I would at a minimum invest 10% of my income back into my education. Over the years that has gone into tons of books, MSDN licenses, other software, and of course equipment.

Now more than ever an architect needs a lot of assets to keep up. I currently carry 5-6 books I am reading with me and 2 laptops to work every day. A shot of my home office is below.

Equipment at Home Office
Click for larger view

On the next page are the tools I am currently using to stay current. My hope is that it helps others heading into software development or software architecture understand what it takes to stay current.

Equipment and Environments

The Computers

I have four laptops, a windows home server, and a desktop I use at home. The MacBook Pro has 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD hard drive. The Alienware has 32GB of RAM and a 750GB 7200RPM hard drive. The Toshiba has a 64GB SSD and a 500GB hard drive.

On the MacBook I program in Xcode and I am running Windows 8 (which by the way is the best place to run it) in Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac.  I use Visual Studio 2012 and SQL Server 2012 on Windows 8 instance.

On the Alienware I use Visual Studio 2010 and 2012 with SQL Server 2012.  I also have several virtuals built in both Windows Server 2003 and 2008 R2.  I do not have any in Windows Server 2012 yet because the RTM kept bombing in VMware. I tried installing it 3 times with no luck. I also have an instance of Windows 8 set up in VMware, but rarely use it.

I have an instances of SharePoint 2003, 2007, 2010, and 2013 I use to proof of concept.  I am just finishing up a big 2007 to 2010 migration and without these environments it would not be happening.  The Alienware allows me to run two virtuals at the same time with plenty of power left over.


MacBook Pro with Retina Display

Alienware AM18X

Toshiba Qosmio X505-Q890



The Mice

My mice are big time productivity savers. Besides the two shown here, I also own the Apple Magic Mouse.  It is the best mouse made for the Mac and is by far the best mouse for Windows 8 on the Mac.

The two shown here are awesome for programming, which is all I use them for.  When people see my equipment they always ask which games I play.  The last game I played was Link (The Legend of Zelda) in the late 1980s.

I have both of these programmed to work with Visual Studio and they work great for building and running, stepping through code, and injecting snippets.

Cyborg M.M.O.7

Logitech G600 MMO



The Coolers

I use coolers on all my machines when I am running them heavy. I started using them because my main laptop that I had 4 years ago would overheat to the point of shutting down.

I use the NotePal U2 for my MacBook.  What I like about it is it has 2 fans that can be repositioned and completely removed.  I also use this cooler to provide additional protection for my MacBook Pro in my backpack. I put my MacBook Pro in a Thule MacBook Sleeve and then slide the Thule Sleeve into the NotePal U2. Together they provide excellent protection.

I use the ZM-NC2000 for my Alienware and Toshiba.  I doubt the Alienware needs it because when its fan system kicks into to high gear it is like a jet engine starting up, but I use it anyway.  Most of the time I do not need to use the fans on these.  Just getting the laptops off the desk provides the cooling they need.

NotePal U2

ZM-NC2000



The External Storage

I own several external hard drives. I use them for storage but I also use them to run virtuals off of them. I have a Western Digital WD Elements 1 TB USB 2.0 and a U32Shadow (on the right).  It is a 1 TB USB 3.0.  Virtuals run fine from the externals and the externals allow me to keep tons of them.  I have virtuals with Windows 2000 and VB 6.0 development environments and every environment in-between up to Windows 8 and Visual Studio 2012 available.
U32 Shadow



Developer Programs and Software

MSDN
This is the first year since 2002 that I am not a MSDN subscriber. I still have one through my current job, but decided to give my personal one up.  For years as a consultant I found value in having access to all the Microsoft tools and servers, but Microsoft has changed my opinion over the past two years. My attitude now is if a company wants me to develop in Visual Studio, they can provide the license from now on.

Microsoft may change my mind in the future if when they get their act together, but right now they are nothing but aggravating to me. The way I look at it is Microsoft has to be doing enough to keep me making enough to afford a license, if they aren't, then I am just throwing my money away. I felt I had been burning $5000 a year for nothing over the past 2 years and the future they are offering I have no interested in. I will learn Microsoft technologies and use it to get a check, but the techie in me has lost all passion for Microsoft.

All that being said, if you are a consultant in the world of Microsoft and you love what they are doing, your current firm should provide an MSDN as part of your contract.  If they don't, I would say raise your rate so you can cover it yourself.  If I ever get passionate about Microsoft technologies again and the place I am at does not give me an Ultimate license, I will purchase my own.  That however won't be anytime soon.

I use the MSDN subscription to set up environments to do proof of concepts and make use of the software that comes with it.  I use Expression Studio 4 Ultimate, Team Foundation Server 2012, Visual Studio 2012 Ultimate, Office 2013, and Microsoft SQL Server 2012.

You can check out your MSDN Subscription options here.

iOS Developer Program
Apple offers two real developer programs and a free Safari developer program.  The Mac Developer Program allows developers to distribute their Mac apps on the Mac App Store, the iOS Developer Program allows developers to distribute their apps on the App Store and reach millions of iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch users, and the Safari Developer Program includes all the tools and resources for creating extensions that enhance and customize Safari.

I currently only belong to the iOS Developer Program. I like being able to push my apps to my devices for testing and the iOS Developer Program allows me to provision devices to do so.  Since Xcode 4 is free to download, that is the only advantage I get right now.  If I want to push my applications out for approval and to the store I can also do that with the license.

You can check out the developer programs at the links below.
iOS Developer Program
The Mac Developer Program
The Safari Developer Program


Software Beyond the Subscriptions
Below is some of the key software I use beyond what Apple and Microsoft provide.

SPARX System's Enterprise Architect- Enterprise Architect 9.3 is a high performance modeling, visualization and design platform based on the UML 2.4.1 standard.

Eclipse Process Framework (EPF) - The Eclipse Process Framework (EPF) aims at producing a customizable software process enginering framework, with exemplary process content and tools, supporting a broad variety of project types and development styles.

Android Development Tools (ADT) is a plugin for the Eclipse IDE- Designed to give you a powerful, integrated environment in which to build Android applications.

LINQPad- LINQPad is also a great way to learn LINQ: it comes loaded with 500 examples from the book, C# 4.0 in a Nutshell. There's no better way to experience the coolness of LINQ and functional programming.

Paint.NET- Paint.NET is free image and photo editing software for computers that run Windows.

Notepad++- Notepad++ is a free (as in "free speech" and also as in "free beer") source code editor and Notepad replacement that supports several languages.

Auslogics Disk Defrag- Compact and fast defragmenter with over 11,000,000 fans worldwide. It will improve your PC's performance by defragmenting and re-arranging files on your disk.

Parallels Desktop for Mac- Parallels Desktop for Mac is the most tested, trusted and talked-about solution for running Windows applications on your Mac.

VMware Player- VMware Player is the easiest way to run multiple operating systems at the same time on your PC.

Apple Developer Library
Although I have heard plenty of complaints about the iOS Developer Library I have only found certain information in the library.  All iOS books, and I have read plenty, fall short on service communication and security.  They either only mention it, or they use a third party library.  I don't mind books including third party libraries, but I would prefer they include how to use the framework also.  The Developer Library was the only source of any good information on service communication and security using the actual framework.

Webinars and Videos
I am not going to list all the videos I have found on the web. I am just including a few that were really beneficial.

iPad and iPhone Application Development (HD) by Paul Hegarty
Apple Developer Videos
Pluralsight Starter Subscription for MSDN

Reading

Latest Books I've Read and some Classic Must Reads

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Tad Anderson

Tad Anderson has been doing Software Architecture for 18 years and Enterprise Architecture for the past few.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Cloud Expo Breaking News
Over the last few years the healthcare ecosystem has revolved around innovations in Electronic Health Record (HER) based systems. This evolution has helped us achieve much desired interoperability. Now the focus is shifting to other equally important aspects – scalability and performance. While applying cloud computing environments to the EHR systems, a special consideration needs to be given to the cloud enablement of Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), i.e., the largest single medical system in the United States.
It’s time to face reality: "Americans are from Mars, Europeans are from Venus," and in today’s increasingly connected world, understanding “inter-planetary” alignments and deviations is mission-critical for cloud. In her session at 15th Cloud Expo, Evelyn de Souza, Data Privacy and Compliance Strategy Leader at Cisco Systems, will discuss cultural expectations of privacy based on new research across these elements.
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, will discuss the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data and analysis are providing the pull to meet customer expectations of a widely connected, multi-dimensional universe of people, things, and information.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Esri has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Esri inspires and enables people to positively impact the future through a deeper, geographic understanding of the changing world around them. For more information, visit http://www.esri.com.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudian, Inc., the leading provider of hybrid cloud storage solutions, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudian is a Foster City, Calif.-based software company specializing in cloud storage. Cloudian HyperStore® is an S3-compatible cloud object storage platform that enables service providers and enterprises to build reliable, affordable and scalable hybrid cloud storage solutions. Cloudian actively partners with leading cloud computing environments including Amazon Web Services, Citrix Cloud Platform, Apache CloudStack, OpenStack and the vast ecosystem of S3 compatible tools and applications. Cloudian's customers include Vodafone, Nextel, NTT, Nifty, and LunaCloud. The company has additional offices in China and Japan.
There will be 50 billion Internet connected devices by 2020. Today, every manufacturer has a propriety protocol and an app. How do we securely integrate these "things" into our lives and businesses in a way that we can easily control and manage? Even better, how do we integrate these "things" so that they control and manage each other so our lives become more convenient or our businesses become more profitable and/or safe? We have heard that the best interface is no interface. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Co-Founder & CTO at Octoblu, Inc., will discuss how these devices generate enough data to learn our behaviors and simplify/improve our lives. What if we could connect everything to everything? I'm not only talking about connecting things to things but also systems, cloud services, and people. Add in a little machine learning and artificial intelligence and now we have something interesting...
After a couple of false starts, cloud-based desktop solutions are picking up steam, driven by trends such as BYOD and pervasive high-speed connectivity. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Seth Bostock, CEO of IndependenceIT, cuts through the hype and the acronyms, and discusses the emergence of full-featured cloud workspaces that do for the desktop what cloud infrastructure did for the server. He’ll discuss VDI vs DaaS, implementation strategies and evaluation criteria.
Cloud computing started a technology revolution; now DevOps is driving that revolution forward. By enabling new approaches to service delivery, cloud and DevOps together are delivering even greater speed, agility, and efficiency. No wonder leading innovators are adopting DevOps and cloud together! In his session at DevOps Summit, Andi Mann, Vice President of Strategic Solutions at CA Technologies, will explore the synergies in these two approaches, with practical tips, techniques, research data, war stories, case studies, and recommendations.
Cloud Computing is evolving into a Big Three of Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. Cloud 360: Multi-Cloud Bootcamp, being held Nov 4–5, 2014, in conjunction with 15th Cloud Expo in Santa Clara, CA, delivers a real-world demonstration of how to deploy and configure a scalable and available web application on all three platforms. The Cloud 360 Bootcamp, led by Janakiram MSV, an analyst with Gigaom Research, is the first bootcamp that introduces the core concepts of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) based on the workings of the Big Three platforms – Amazon EC2, Google Compute Engine, and Azure VMs. Bootcamp attendees will get to see the big picture and also receive the knowledge needed to make the best cloud decisions for their business applications and entire enterprise IT organization.
“Distrix fits into the overall cloud and IoT model around software-defined networking. There’s a broad category around software-defined networking that’s focused on data center, and we focus on the WAN,” explained Jay Friedman, President of Distrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the Internet of @ThingsExpo, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Internet of @ThingsExpo 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading IoT industry players in the world.
The Internet of Things promises to transform businesses (and lives), but navigating the business and technical path to success can be difficult to understand. In his session at 15th Internet of @ThingsExpo, Chad Jones, Vice President, Product Strategy of LogMeIn's Xively IoT Platform, will show you how to approach creating broadly successful connected customer solutions using real world business transformation studies including New England BioLabs and more.
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
“The Internet of Things is a wave that has arrived and it’s growing really fast. The concern at Aria Systems is making sure that people understand the ramifications of their attempts to monetize whatever it is they build on the Internet of Things," explained C Brendan O’Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect at Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the Internet of @ThingsExpo, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Internet of @ThingsExpo 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading IoT industry players in the world.
The Internet of Things is a natural complement to the cloud and related technologies such as Big Data, analytics, and mobility. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Joe Weinman will lay out four generic strategies – digital disciplines – to exploit emerging digital technologies for strategic advantage. Joe Weinman has held executive leadership positions at Bell Labs, AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, and Telx, in areas such as corporate strategy, business development, product management, operations, and R&D.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DevOps.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's “DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo,” which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. DevOps.com is where the world meets DevOps. It is the largest collection of original content relating to DevOps on the web today Featuring up-to-the-minute news, feature stories, blogs, bylined articles and more, DevOps.com is where the thought leaders of the DevOps movement make their ideas known.