Fundamentals of Software Architecture

I’m currently working as a software architect on an organization that has a distinct and healthy positioning of architects (compared to other organizations where architect is effectively an engineer level or others where architects define mandates). I figured I should level set my take on the role with that of the wider industry and so I read through Fundamentals of Software Architecture(1) to make sure I was focusing on the right areas and to inform any possible adjustments.

The book offers a good survey of concerns to watch as an architect, including a solid definition at the often nebulous concept itself. I have my own compatible take which I’ll work on documenting here at some point. Probably the most valuable immediate concepts is that of validating architectural characteristics with fitness functions and using quanta to keep the relevant number of such characteristics small (I certainly found myself thinking I would make a prioritized list before reading the advice that that idea was a trap).

Likely the main takeway is the mentioned survey in that I feel as though this book provides a decent catlogging of materials which are more comprehensively covered elsewhere. I certainly picked up some new ideas that I was able to apply coincidentally readily apply and will likely come back to this book for a refresher but will more likely use it to guide me towards some of the referenced materials in search of more depth. There were occasional editing/grammatical issues that were mildly surprising (though I’m sure far less than this site suffers from so I’m likely a pot to that kettle). I found the referencing of several Clojure tools personally amusing as I recall some conversations at an SACon several years ago where Neal was expressing his fondness for Clojure.

Overall it largely affirmed and clarified many of my conceptions going in, but armed me with additional context and vocabulary to tackle defining my own role and making sure I continue to mature into it.

NEAL FORD, Mark Richards. Fundamentals of software architecture [online]. O’Reilly Media, 2020. Available from: