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New architectures sometimes mean old planning tools

By Andrew Pollack on 04/04/2006 at 02:51 PM EDT

Since I've decided that the right way to build the new production website for SecondSignal is "SOA" (Service Oriented Architecture) which is the web equivalent of object oriented programming, I've been thinking about the best way to do the underlying planning. With an object model, I usually start with blank paper and my colored pens. I know other people swear by so called "mind-mapping" software that lets you do real-time diagramming, but this is just better for me. The problem is I tend to run out of room and scratch things out, or just end up with a big mess the first few passes. This afternoon I'm going really old school. Index cards. I plan to start with an entity object set and make an index card for each of those objects. The organization, the user, the devices a user might have, rules about those devices, etc. We'll see how it goes.

The point I'm making here is that no matter which buzzword plan you want to use, the way you go about the craft of building an application architecture really hasn't changed. In this case, each card or represents an object that has attributes -- things that make it unique; and abilities -- things it does or that you do to it. Starting with that list of attributes and abilities for each object lets you figure out the way all those objects relate to each other. Only when this is done can you really start building the application.

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