a Trace in the Sand

by Ruth Malan





February 2019


2019 OReilly Software Architecture Conference NYC: Visual Design and Architecture

Presentation Slides


You can Like and Download the slides if you're logged in to SlideShare or LinkedIn (Likes are thank yous. :-)

Annotated Presentation Slides

Slides and Annotations. Note: broken into parts because with the slides as images accompanied by annotations, it makes for a big download. Even split into parts, it's a lot to download, so don't use cellular to access unless unlimited plan and lots of patience hitting refresh. :-)

Part i. Slides and Annotations: Introduction and Context setting around Design in Agile; Decisions and Constraints; Decisions and Tradeoffs; Getting to know the domains (contexts of use, development and operations, value partners and others); Design and expressions of system value, capabilities and properties

Part ii. Slides and Annotations: Why Visual Matters to Design, some exemplars we can learn from, and lessons we can draw about why we need to bring visual models back into our design toolkit (some already do, obviously, but why more of us need to)

Part ii. Slides: All the slides are here, but this section still needs to be annotated. It covers architectural design of the system (internals). More to follow.

All, Parts i, ii and iii. Warning: this is a big file to download as there are lots of images due to all the slides. Parts i and ii, slides with annotations and Part iii, just slides so far. This is where I am working, so if you want the most up-to-date version, this is it.

And the full annotated slides as a pdf.



Making It WorthWhile

This was kind, and an ego salve to return to on a bleak day. Thanks Vladik!

Kind words make it all worthwhile

I have so many people to be grateful for (too many to thank for retweets, but look at the RTs on this and this for ideas on good people to follow). I would like to thank the following for being expressly encouraging: Amitai Schlair and Carlo Kuip. And thank you to JP de Vooght! And Oliver Baier.



March 2019

I am always grateful for positive comments in replies, but a positve "above the line" mention is extra. Huge thank you to Dan Klyn

Dan being kind

and Guillermo Garcia:

Guillermo being kind

Thank you to everyone for the mentions, retweets and reshares, and likes, on the various social media.

And thank you to Mathias Varraes for quoting me on this:

Architectural design is system design. System design is contextual design — it is inherently about boundaries (what’s in, what’s out, what spans, what moves between), and about tradeoffs. It reshapes what is outside, just as it shapes what is inside.

I tweeted it when I was working on/thinking through the narrative build of the slides.

It's important to get word out about my work -- it's how people find out about the work we do, so important not just in a self-esteem sense, though that certainly matters too.



Workshop News

We have two open enrollment workshops coming up, one in the US and one in Europe. If you're interested in a Software Architecture Workshop elsewhere, do let us know. In particular, Dana Bredemeyer is looking at doing an Asia-Pacific "architecture tour" later in the year.

There's still space in both workshops:



Architecture Decisions and Thanks Jessica Kerr!

The Visual Design and Architecture notes are so long, I pulled out the segment on Architecture Decisions and created a post on LinkedIn. In the process of copying the material across and editing it to stand alone, I omitted a slide by mistake, and it turned out it was a "hinge" slide. Jessica Kerr noticed the absence of something right there, dots that didn't quite connect. That impressed me so much because, how?! She also caught that my conclusion didn't really do its job, and suggested precisely how to fix it. It takes time to notice and point out where something isn't quite working, and Jessica's generosity with her time (on a Sunday afternoon) had me returning to:

"Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity." -- Simone Weil

In addition, Jessica tweeted about the post, tying it to other work/ideas, reinforcing and extending the ideas of the post. Like this:

'“We put ground under our feet, by deciding” @ruthmalan quotes Dana Bredemeyer Yes. As @ericevans0 points out, we have to commit to something and go forward, to see how we’re doing. Even while we retain consciousness of our uncertainty.' -- @jessitron


'Constraints make the system "diverge from chance, from randomness... they can also create properties which the component exhibits” Constraints add new possibilities by removing others. @ruthmalan See: much of functional programming' -- @jessitron

Jessica does such a good job of weaving the world back together:

"All of my creation is an effort to weave a web of connection with the world: I am always weaving it because it was once broken."-- Anaïs Nin


About My Work


I also write at:

- Bredemeyer Resources for  Architects


Software Architecture Workshop:

- Dallas, TX, on April 29-May 2, 2019


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Copyright © 2019 by Ruth Malan
Page Created: February 9, 2019
Last Modified: April 1, 2019