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I first started coding at the age of 10 on a Commodore Vic 20. Last week I finally un-installed Visual Studio 2003 on my laptop because I need the space and I never touch it. It was sad admitting that I don't code and my role does not require me to. If I did find myself coding then I probably shouldn't because there is so much else to do and we have more than a few guys and girls that will happily do the job and only a couple doing EA.

Yep, I get the argument that a good architect should have more than an appreciation of what code can do and the only way to find that out is to code something. Sadly that argument doesn't wash with Enterprise Architecture because it's not about designing software solutions at all, not at any level. Hence why a person from a business back-ground can happily be a very good Enterprise Architect, technical skills are not a primary requirement, an appreciation is fine and the ability to find out and ask the person who would know best is better.

So do I miss coding? No, to be frank. I have done my time and now I want the new challenge. However, being an Enterprise Architect means that I have to put the benefit of the business before vendor elegance's. Infact I find yourself having to take a position of complete neutrality to allow yourself to get to a place to see the big picture. So being a coder in .Net, being an advocate of .Net to suddenly realising that I can no-longer do that as now technology choices aren't mine to make, infact benefiting the business means that I can end up eventually promoting solutions written by the other team and if it fulfills requirement, then that's what it's all about. As you can imagine a weird position to be in for someone who spent so long being a Microsoft evangelist because it kept my boys and girls in work!

One of the big debates in development these days is to write, contribute and use Open Source software, the pro's and con's of the debate I'm not going to dwell on here as many people have done it so much better than me. I agree that half the battle with Open Source is mind-set and whether you can get your head round it. The assumption is that if you develop code in .Net you must be into close source and this is actually far from the truth. Being a contributor to Open Source projects in the past, I get it and I love it! It is a bit more that really cool software for zero price but boy is that a killer reason. I got a kick out of watching the download count go up and realising that people were using my code.

Now I find myself in a place where this debate must have no bearing on my role as an Enterprise Architect for the same reason as I can't advocate .Net as the result could cloud my judgement. Yep, I get I'm allowed preferences but not if they get in the way.

Ultimately Enterprise Architecture is about knowing where you are now, knowing where you want to get to and giving a guide on which type of roads to take and whether the vehicle needs to be big or small, but whether its a Ford truck or a Honda bike driving down the M3 then the M25, that's not your call anymore.

Do you agree? Post a comment, I would love to hear your opinion.

Posted on Thursday, November 29, 2007 8:46 PM Main , Development Technologies , Technical Architecture , Enterprise Architecture | Back to top

Comments on this post: Is the Open Source debate important to Enterprise Architecture?

# re: Is the Open Source debate important to Enterprise Architecture?
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Absolutely - and taking your earlier TOGAF notes doesn't it look just like a project, albeit over a long time span, but a project none the less. An architect is only wanted when there is a development - arguably, a bit before its built - job done. So a really good architect trying to make themselves redundant! They are a business overhead. Imagine, you've fully automated the business; you can now leave.......... How many buildings did Wren architect?
Left by Markk on Nov 30, 2007 8:26 PM

# re: Is the Open Source debate important to Enterprise Architecture?
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Thanks for the nice words on Light Enterprise Architecture

I also get a kick to hear the nice words. Welcome to the EA fool club, we are not doing EA just for $$$.

Open sources are essential in EA base on the suggestion that

"EA is the effort to know the enterprise, learn experience of the others and enable agile and simple business transformation solution for now and future"

The traditional EA definition of "knowing where you are now, knowing where you want to get to" may be an understatement on the value of EA. On which, it is difficult to see the role of open source.

Left by John Wu on Dec 03, 2007 12:19 PM

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